Chmerkovskiy and Zee were partnered up during the 22nd season of “Dancing With the Stars,” which aired from March 21 to May 24, 2016. They ultimately finished in third place behind Paige VanZant and Mark Ballas and winners Nyle DiMarco and Peta Murgatroyd.
In her 2017 book “Natural Disaster: I Cover Them. I Am One,” Zee opened up about her time on “Dancing With the Stars.”
Zee Says The Show Kept Her Partner a Secret
Sticking with tradition, “Dancing With the Stars” kept Zee’s partner a secret until Chmerkovskiy walked into the room while filming for the first episode of the season.
“The producers did a great job at keeping my partner a secret from me,” Zee wrote at the time. “I was still carrying a considerable amount of pregnancy weight and hardly felt like myself, but it’s amazing what becoming a mother does to your self esteem. It makes you feel like a superhuman.”
She added, “When I walked in and saw Val standing behind the curtain, I nearly fell to my knees. He was the last person I thought they would give me for a partner. He usually got the tough, cool chick with attitude. I was the furthest from that.”
The meteorologist also shared her love for Chmerkovskiy.
“What I am here to tell you is, he is ferociously talented well beyond his dancing ability,” she wrote in the book. “He is a poet, a rapper, a violinist, and a creative force who loves inspiring young people and giving back to the community.”
That affection is not one-sided. The two are still good friends, as evidenced by Chmerkovskiy’s Instagram post in Zee’s honor on her birthday.
Chmerkovskiy Says Ginger Zee Was his Favorite Partner
“Millions of things I want to say,” he wrote. “Some involve gratitude, others growth, but imma keep remotely short. It’s [Ginger Zee’s] birthday today, and as I reflect on my tenure on DWTS easily my favorite time on the show was being partnered with her.”
In the same Instagram post, Chmerkovskiy talked about enjoying his time on the show with others as well, though he said the time he was partnered with Zee was his favorite overall.
“Of course I’ve had amazing times being partnered with brilliant talented, wonderful people, winning with others, but it was the combination of where I was in my life and where she was in hers,” he shared. “Timing is everything and not only was I lucky to get this 2 months out of pregnancy milk pumpkin hot a** meteorologist who took nothing seriously except being a friend and doing her job, which I made barely bearable almost always but we got to do it in New Yawk City in the spring.”
Chmerkovskiy continued praising Zee and talking about his favorite times with her during their time on the show and the tour.
“I love this woman,” he wrote. “I love her more than her first child loved crying on LIVE television, that’s what we get for pandering. Ging, you are an absolute stunner of a human! Top to bottom your patience with me that entire season I will never forget. Every ounce of effort, pain, and hardship was wrapped in love and mutual respect. Happy 50th my friend, to 50 more.”
“Dancing With the Stars” returns in September 2021.