Former Dancing With the Stars professional dancer and judge Julianne Hough was recently spotted out and about with Westworld star Ben Barnes. So, are the two a hot new item? Not according to one source.
Hough and Barnes Have Apparently Been Friends For Years
Barnes and Hough were seen going out for ice cream in Los Angeles recently, sparking rumors that the two were a new couple. But a source told People that they are just friends.
“[Hough and Barnes] have been friends for eight years. There is nothing more to it,” said the source.
Indeed, the two were photographed together at HBO’s Emmy After Party at the Plaza at the Pacific Design Center in September 2016. That was the year after Hough won her first Emmy after three nominations for Outstanding Choreography. She won the award for the routine “Elastic Heart,” which she choreographed with her brother Derek Hough and dancer Tessandra Chavez.
Barnes and Hough were also spotted in April 2020 walking in Los Angeles. At the time, her then-husband Brooks Laich was quarantining in Idaho while Hough was quarantining in southern California. At the time, a source told People that their marriage was “not perfect, but they continue to work on it” and that Laich was coming back to Los Angeles as soon as the stay-at-home order was lifted.
Hough and Laich Split in May
However, shortly after the source said Laich was coming back to Los Angeles, Hough and Laich announced that they were separating after three years of marriage. They released a joint statement to People at the time that said, “We have lovingly and carefully taken the time we have needed to arrive at our decision to separate.”
A source later told Entertainment Tonight that the two tried to work things out in the summer of 2020 but it just wasn’t meant to be.
“Julianne and Brooks gave it their all and finally came to the realization that they aren’t meant to be together. The extra time they spent together after their separation was needed and they are both in a good place,” said the source, adding, “In the beginning [of the reconciliation], they were getting along but the same issues began to arise. While they love each other, they both want more than each other has to offer. The time they spent together in the end was closure for both of them.”
The source also said that Hough felt like she hadn’t really had a chance to live her life and wanted to “discover herself,” while Laich was “ready for his next step in life.”
Barnes, meanwhile, has never really been linked to anyone publicly. There have been rumors about brief dalliances with actresses Tamsin Egerton and Amanda Seyfried, but Barnes has never officially confirmed any relationships and has never been married.
Dancing With the Stars will hopefully return with season 30 in 2021. ABC has not yet officially announced a renewal and premiere date.