Val Chmerkovskiy has been a Dancing With the Stars professional partner since season 13 of the show. Early on in his run, he did a podcast interview with “Interview With the Artist” where he dished on his partners so far on the show, including addressing the rumors that he was involved with one of them romantically. Here’s what he had to say.
Chmerkovskiy Denied Being Involved with Kelly Monaco
For season 15, which was an all-star season, Chmerkovskiy was paired with returning celebrity Kelly Monaco, who stars on General Hospital and was the first winner of Dancing With the Stars. The two had incredible chemistry together on the dance floor, which sparked some rumors that they were dating outside of the show.
“Not true,” said Chmerkovskiy, adding, “I love Kelly very much, but no, we are not dating.”
He went on to say that “there was a lot of sensuality there and emotional attachment” between them because they “really hit it off” and because she was going through a lot of personal issues while they competed together.
“[Kelly] was going through some stuff in her life and by default, I was there every day, so whether I wanted to or not I was the shoulder to lean on — and I did want to, and, like I said, that’s the best part of the show, you become family with these people.”
He added that he loves her very much and they keep up with each other’s lives.
“We literally spoke yesterday, we keep in touch. I’m always curious what she’s doing, she always finds out how I’m doing, what I’m doing. Like I said, I don’t want to overplay the word, but she’s become my family,” said Chmerkovskiy. “… she’s a Philly girl and she lives in LA and honestly, in LA it’s not always easy to find that core group of people, so we gravitated on that level. She became great friends with all my friends and we all became friends.”
Chmerkovskiy Said He Did Not Have Chemistry With His First Two Celebrity Partners
Monaco was the first partner with whom Chmerkovskiy felt like he had real chemistry and could go far on the show. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t there with model Elisabetta Canalis or talk show host and actress Sherri Shepherd.
“With Elisabetta, we lasted for two weeks. It was my first season. I came in with a certain energy, she came in with a different energy and so we didn’t click,” explained the dancer.
“With Sherri, another completely different energy. Upbeat, just lively, lively person. We worked really hard, she worked really hard, but we also got eliminated week four and we didn’t get a chance to really develop on the show.”
Chmerkovskiy Couldn’t Praise Zendaya Enough
Long before she was winning Emmy awards, Zendaya Coleman competed on Dancing With the Stars when she was just 16 years old. Chmerkovskiy said that was hard at first because ballroom dancing is all about chemistry and passion between a man and a woman, but he couldn’t help but love her because she was a “ray of sunshine.”
“[Zendaya’s] just a ray of sunshine. Looking at Zendaya, I really was a little hesitant by that, she’s 16 years old and I’m coming off a season where I just finished doing a flamenco in my speedo, I had to re-adjust,” said Chmerkovskiy with a laugh, adding, “Kelly’s [season] was all about passion, all about man-woman and the relationship between the two and that’s how I look at ballroom dancing, that’s what I prioritize in my dancing.”
“But Zendaya was a gold mine because she had incredible talent,” he gushed. “She had the most amazing attitude about things and a great work ethic and that combination with my passion for seeing her succeed on the show, I think the results were pretty clear. We did well. She did well. She’s incredible.”
Indeed, Chmerkovskiy and Zendaya finished in second place behind Derek Hough and Kellie Pickler and a lot of fans thought Zendaya should have won.
Dancing With the Stars has not yet officially been renewed for season 30, but if ABC does renew it, expect it to premiere in September 2021.