Val Chmerkovskiy has a surprising favorite moment from “Dancing With the Stars.”
In an August 2023 interview, the pro dancer, who joined the ABC celebrity ballroom competition in 2011, revealed that the biggest moment from his many years on the show came three years in — but it wasn’t about him, it was about his older brother, Maksim.
Here’s what you need to know:
Val Chmerkovskiy Revealed his Biggest DWTS Moment Was When His Brother Maks Won the Mirrorball Trophy in 2014
During an interview on the “Best Friend Energy” podcast, hosts Joanna Teplin and Clea Shearer asked Val to review his biggest moment from “Dancing with the Stars,” and he didn’t miss a beat.
“The first time my brother won, that was a big, big moment,” he said. “It was a big moment because he joined the show like six years before I did. And back then it was two seasons a year, so he was a 12-season veteran by the time I came on.”
“We come from a different situation,” Val continued, in reference to his family’s immigration from Ukraine when he was a child. “So his life changed when he joined the show. Financially, your life changes, and especially at that time, the show was humungous, it was getting like 25 million viewers. Our lives changed vicariously… The point is, he was on the show a long time and never won and it was already like my season 6 of me being on the show and so I just wanted it for him… and then after that, I won twice!”
Maksim Chmerkovskiy tried for the mirrorball trophy 14 times before finally winning it with Olympic ice dancer Meryl Davis in season 18 back in 2014. At the time, Davis told KABC that Maks’ win was long overdue. “I think his fans have appreciated every bit of it, and I’m just so proud of him being at this point and proud of being at this point in time with him,” she said.
It was just two seasons later that Maks’ little brother Val won his first mirrorball trophy. Val won DWTS season 20 with actress and singer Rumer Willis in May 2015 and then won again in season 23 with Laurie Hernandez in November 2016.
Val Chmerkovskiy Said He’s Not Competitive With His Brother
In 2014, shortly after his lone DWTS win, Maks Chmerkovskiy announced on “The View” that he was “done” with “Dancing With the Stars.” “I feel like it’s time,” he said.
He eventually did return to the ballroom a few seasons later, but he stepped down as a pro dancer for good in 2017. Val still remains on the show.
While speaking on “Best Friend Energy,” Val said he is not competitive with his brother in the way people might expect. “We are competitive on each other’s side on behalf of one another with the world,” he said. “We are not competitive with each other.”
Val explained that his family immigrated to the United States when he was eight and Maks was 14, and that his big brother always looked out for him. “He always took me along with him and I was his best friend, tag-along little brother throughout our entire life. So I am my brother’s keeper, that’s how we were raised,” he said.
“Then there was a transition as we both became adults,” Val added. “Now, I’m not little anybody, I’m no one’s little anybody. I had to prove that to myself, establish myself, and build my own path. Now, we yield on projects because we now genuinely appreciate working together because we do bring the best out of each other. I think it’s a combination of all that, not exclusively working together but choosing to work together.”
Maks and Val have co-starred in many dance tours over the years. According to People, in 2023, the brothers Chmerkovskiy headlined SAVOR After Hours at the Napa Valley Opera House. Their show features a wine tasting through dance and music in an intimate setting.
“This show is that type of immersive, so we finally get to do a show that is [a 250-seater], way more intimate than a theater production, than being on camera in front of millions,” Val said in March 2023. “And I think that Maks and I shine the brightest in those type of environments.”
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