In honor of the debut of the 29th season of "Dancing With the Stars" in September 2020, Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at the hottest real-life romances (and showmances!) that were ignited by the ABC competition series. First up? Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev, who competed together during season 25 of "DWTS" in 2017. It turned out that their chemistry extended well past the dance floor — it just took a while to spark. During their season, Nikki was engaged to fellow wrestler John Cena, who once joked that Artem would be teaching him his first dance for his wedding. But John and Nikki called off their nuptials and parted ways for good in July 2018. Seven months later, Nikki's relationship with Artem was on. In January 2019, their budding romance was featured on Nikki's show, "Total Bellas," and that March, they confirmed things were getting serious. Their romance has only continued to blossom — the couple got engaged in November 2019 and in July 2020, Nikki gave birth to their first child, son Matteo. Keep reading for more "Dancing With the Stars" romances and showmances…
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This happily married couple didn't compete on "Dancing With the Stars" together, but the show is what brought them together: Cheryl Burke and Matthew Lawrence met through Matthew's brother Joey Lawrence, who was teamed up with dance pro Edyta Śliwińska while he competed on the show during its third season in 2006. Cheryl and Matthew started dating in February 2007 and were together for a year before ending things in February 2008. Then, nearly 10 years later, they got back together in 2017! They announced their engagement soon after and tied the knot in May 2019. "Matt brings out the best in me," Cheryl told People magazine days before they married. "He enjoys every moment and that helps me appreciate life even more." We're happy to see these two so in love!
Next? The love affair between "Shark Tank" star Robert Herjavec and his partner during season 20, pro dancer Kym Johnson. The duo took their relationship to the next level early in the competition, got engaged in February 2016 and tied the knot that August. Fast-forward to April 2018 when the happy couple welcomed their twins, Hudson and Haven (seen here in March 2020). Now that's a happy ending!
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Shannon Elizabeth and Derek Hough dated for more than a year after they competed together in early 2008 during the sixth season of "Dancing With the Stars." The duo announced their breakup on Twitter in August 2009.
Former "Dancing With the Stars" pro Derek Hough has been dating fellow pro dancer Hayley Erbert, who's nearly 10 years his junior, since 2015. The two met when Hayley joined Derek and sister Julianne Hough's "Move Live On Tour" dance troupe in 2014, a year before Hayley made her first appearance on "Dancing With the Stars." Back in November 2017, Derek told Ryan Seacrest that he was ready to pop the question to Hayley — we're still waiting!
On season 9 of "Dancing With the Stars," Derek Hough was paired with model-actress Joanna Krupa. While fans and blogs hoped that they'd take their chemistry beyond the dance floor, nothing ever manifested. Sorry folks, but this was nothing more than a good ol' showmance.
Julianne Hough and Chuck Wicks hit it off during the summer of 2008 when they joined Brad Paisley on tour as opening acts. A few months later, the country crooner signed up to compete during the eighth season of "Dancing With the Stars" as his girlfriend's celebrity partner. Sadly, they were eliminated during the eighth week of the competition and called it quits on their romance in November 2009.
In what is arguably one of "Dancing With the Stars" juiciest showmances-turned-(unconfirmed and possible) romances, Julianne Hough and professional racer driver Hélio Castroneves first sparked dating rumors after they shared a kiss during a live taping of the show in 2007. Then, just two weeks after he and Julianne won the coveted Mirrorball Trophy, Hélio and fiancée Aliette Vazquez called off their engagement. While the exact cause of their breakup was never disclosed, speculation circulated that Julianne was the reason. To make matters even more interesting, Hélio wasn't the only one who ended his engagement during this time: Julianne also ended an engagement to childhood friend Zach Wilson. "I'm not gonna talk about the rumors. I mean, they're clearly out there," Aliette's publicist told The Associated Press. Yikes!
Season 27 in 2018 brought us this next couple — pro Alan Bersten and model Alexis Ren. The young stars showed off their budding love during their season — they even kissed on an episode that aired that November. But ultimately, this showmance was short-lived: They were over by December and a few months later, Alexis moved on with actor Noah Centineo, from whom she split in 2020.
There was speculation about a possible new romance brewing during season 28 of "Dancing With the Stars" in 2019 — and pro Alan Bersten was involved yet again. After he spent a few weeks dancing with "The Bachelorette" star Hannah Brown, fans started wondering if their relationship could be headed to the next level thanks to their undeniable chemistry. Both stayed mum on a possible romance, with Hannah telling Us Weekly mid-season, "We are dance partners, and we have the best time together, and we have a friendship that is great." Though that wasn't exactly a denial, Hannah added, "I think I'm done with roses, so [the] Mirrorball [Trophy] is what we have our eye on." The pair took home the prize a month later.
Though Willa Ford denied rumors that she and Maksim Chmerkovskiy — her partner during the third season of "Dancing With the Stars" in 2006 — were more than friends, the professional dancer contradicted the singer-actress during an appearance on the "Allegedly with Theo Von and Matthew Cole Weiss" podcast in October 2015: "I did not have any relations with any of my partners. Well, one: Willa Ford. We dated for a little while," he revealed.
Mario Lopez partnered with Karina Smirnoff in the ballroom and off the dance floor in 2006 during the third season of "Dancing With the Stars." The duo, who placed second in the competition, parted ways in June 2008 following nearly two years as a couple after he allegedly cheated — with multiple women! "It felt like the world came to an end for a second," Karina told People magazine of their painful breakup.
Karina Smirnoff rebounded with fellow "Dancing With the Stars" pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy following her June 2008 split from Mario Lopez. The duo got engaged in December 2008 following a whirlwind romance of just a few months. But it wasn't meant to be: They called it quits less than a year later. Maks didn't stay single for long though…
Erin Andrews and Maksim Chmerkovskiy flirted up a storm throughout the 10th season of "Dancing With the Stars" in 2010. But were they an item? When HollywoodLife.com asked the professional dancer if he and the sportscaster were dating, he responded with a coy, "Maybe!" But while reflecting on their relationship in 2015, Erin called Maks "a big brother." Whether or not they were ever actually more than friends, the whispers about their showmance quieted after they placed third in the competition.
Maksim Chmerkovskiy and fellow "Dancing With the Stars" pro Peta Murgatroyd were first linked in 2012. Though they briefly split in early 2013, the duo reunited in 2015 and got engaged just months later. The two welcomed their first child, son Shai, in January 2017, and tied the knot six months later that July!
During the reality TV competition's 17th season, "Pretty Little Liars" alum Brant Daugherty was paired with professional dancer Peta Murgatroyd. While he didn't go on to win the Mirrorball Trophy, he and his partner did manage to send the rumor mill into a frenzy. Though their chemistry was undeniable — the dance partners were also reportedly seen cozying up at an event in Los Angeles after the season concluded — they maintained that they never dated. "For the millionth time, no we are not dating," Brant told Celebuzz in 2013. "We are locked in a studio with a camera crew for five hours every single day. It's not a place where something like that can really grow. We are very close though, we're very comfortable around each other. I don't think we'd be able to do our jobs well if we weren't."
The rumor mill tried and tried to link Peta Murgatroyd and James Maslow in 2014 when they danced together during the 18th season of "Dancing With the Stars." The duo, who placed fourth in the competition, admitted that they went on one date before they were partnered on the show, but nothing developed from there. "It's fun, it's all good and I'm flattered because she's beautiful and it's not such a bad thing," the "Big Time Rush" star told People.com of the romance rumors. "But really, we're just here just to dance."
Janel Parrish and partner Val Chmerkovskiy raised eyebrows in 2014 with their intimate behavior during the 19th season of "Dancing With the Stars." Though the "Pretty Little Liars" actress and the dancer never officially confirmed their relationship status, they were photographed holding hands during an outing in New York City in November 2014 and appeared to share a quick kiss during a tender backstage moment that was caught on camera during one live episode of the reality TV show. Sadly, Janel and Val's rumored romance fizzled after they placed third in the competition.
Val Chmerkovskiy enjoyed a whirlwind romance with Amber Rose in late 2016. Amber, who joined the cast of "Dancing With the Stars" and was partnered with Val's brother, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, made headlines after she and Val were spotted getting cozy that October. The two eventually made things public, only to end up splitting in February 2017.
Val Chmerkovskiy found love again on the "Dancing With the Stars" set… with fellow pro Jenna Johnson in 2016. The on-again, off-again couple were definitely hot and heavy again in 2017. They went on a romantic European vacation together and attended Val's brother's wedding — Val even confessed that it was "love" on "The Insider." After announcing their engagement in June 2018, Val and Jenna tied the knot in April 2019. We love a happy ending!
Sometimes sparks fly between the dance professionals too. In 2016, Cheryl Burke appeared on an episode of the podcast "Allegedly with Theo Von & Matthew" and spilled some tea about the romantic lives of a few "Dancing With the Stars" pros. "I think we all dated each other at one point," she revealed. In addition to confirming that her pal Maksim Chmerkovskiy is "a good kisser," she did share that at one point, she may have romanced "DWTS" pro Mark Ballas. "I think we tried to have fun," she said. "Ya know, stuff happens. People interrupt or, you know, something happens." Hmm!
While British pop star Cheryl Cole was never a contestant on "Dancing With the Stars," she did romance professional dancer Derek Hough. In 2009, Cheryl performed a steamy dance number to her single "Parachute" with Derek during a live taping of the reality TV competition show. Their romance didn't last long though — Derek admitted that they dated for a few months but by May 2010, they'd called it quits. "We dated for a while. Absolutely we are still friends, we are still very close," Derek said at a BBC Worldwide "Dancing With the Stars" event in 2013. "I don't speak about my time with her because I think often in this culture people take advantage of their friendships. I've never spoken about her because her friendship is important to me." We're glad these two are still able to be friends!
Olympic gold medalist Meryl Davis partnered with Maksim Chmerkovskiy on the 18th season of "Dancing With the Stars" in 2014, and it didn't take long for rumors to swirl around their relationship. That same year, they were even put on the spot on "The Wendy Williams Show" when they were asked, straight up, if they were "smooshing." Awkward! The pair asserted that they were just friends: "We're not dating, no," Meryl told Wendy. It looks like this was more of a showmance than a romance, especially as Meryl wed longtime boyfriend Fedor Andreev in 2019.
During the show's 21st season, contestants swapped partners for a round. A new pairing that emerged? Actor Alek Skarlatos and "DWTS" pro Emma Slater. The sparks between the two were more than apparent during the switch-up week, so viewers, naturally, wondered if things were heating up between the pair outside of the rehearsal room. During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Alek blushed when Emma — his "crush" — came up! However, it seems like there was nothing more to it than that as Emma went on to wed fellow pro dancer Sasha Farber in 2018.
Emma Slater and Sasha Farber were an item for years before they were bumped up from troupe dancers to competitors on "Dancing With the Stars." The duo competed against each other in 2013 during season 17 when he partnered with Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and she danced with Bill Engvall. They parted ways the following year — only to reconcile not long after. Sasha proposed on "DWTS" in 2016 and they walked down the aisle in March 2018.
Mark Ballas and Sabrina Bryan took their relationship to the next level in 2007 during the fifth season of "Dancing With the Stars." The professional dancer and the Cheetah Girl parted ways just a few months after they were eliminated from the competition, due to their busy schedules. But Sabrina isn't the only celeb Mark got close to during the show…
Shawn Johnson and Mark Ballas reportedly dated in 2009 after they claimed the Mirrorball Trophy during the eighth season of "Dancing With the Stars." According to the New York Post, the duo had "a nasty breakup," which is why they weren't partnered together again in 2012 when the Olympian returned for the all-star season of the show.
In April 2011, pro dancer Mark Ballas made headlines for dating a fellow reality TV star, "American Idol" singer Pia Toscano. The beauty performed on "Dancing With the Stars" — singing "I'll Stand By You" while Mark danced with Karina Smirnoff — the same month news that they were dating broke. But their love didn't last long: By September, the talented couple had gone their separate ways.
Before they were two of the biggest names in ballroom dancing, Julianne Hough and Mark Ballas were an item. "She was my first love," Mark told People magazine of his childhood pal and Junior Olympics partner, whom he dated when they were just kids.
On season 24, professional bull rider Bonner Bolton and pro Sharna Burgess were paired together, and their flirtatious chemistry resulted in plenty of relationship rumors. Though it seemed like the two were pretty cozy on the dance floor, Bonner later told "Entertainment Tonight" that he was "100% single." Well, that answers that!
Cheryl Burke and Chad Ochocinco flirted it up throughout the 10th season of "Dancing With the Stars" in 2010. The duo, who placed fourth in the competition, were often spotted looking cozy away from the ballroom, and the football star memorably gave the professional dancer a $10,000 diamond ring to thank her for her hard work on the show. "We had a little bit of a fling," Cheryl admitted to Lifeline Live in 2011. But she wouldn't go so far as to stay that they'd dated: "We didn't date. I wouldn't call that dating," she clarified. "I wouldn't take it to that word 'dating.'" Explained Cheryl of lady's man Chad: "He was never really available to me." But Chad's not the only celeb from the show to whom Cheryl has been linked…
After they claimed the Mirrorball Trophy in 2006 during the second season of "Dancing With the Stars," Cheryl Burke and Drew Lachey reunited for the show's live tour in late 2007 and early 2008. Not long after, rumors emerged that they'd had an affair — he's been married since 2000, while she was involved with actor Matthew Lawrence at the time. "It's absolutely absurd," the professional dancer told People magazine of the rumors, while the former boybander called the reports "very hurtful to my family and me" in an official statement.
This one was more speculation than anything: Former Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger teamed up with Derek Hough on the 10th season of "Dancing With the Stars" in 2010. Speculation about whether or not they were an item quickly ensued. The duo went on to be crowned the winners of that season, and as they went around promoting and discussing their victory, people continued to wonder if they were more than just dance partners. After the season wrapped and all the press was finished, they were still seen together, though no romance was ever officially confirmed. Given the fact that they had crazy-great chemistry, we understand why people thought they were a thing!
In their explosive 2006 divorce filings, both Sara Evans and her first husband, Craig Schelske, accused the other of adultery. According to TMZ, Craig believed his country star wife had been unfaithful with Tony Dovolani, her partner during the third season of "Dancing With the Stars" in 2006. The duo vehemently denied the cheating accusations and danced together until Sara withdrew from the competition during week six to be with her kids in the wake of her bitter breakup.
Professional dancers Edyta Sliwinska and Alec Mazo — who competed against each other during five seasons of "Dancing With the Stars," including the very first season in 2005 — tied the knot in September 2007.
Married couple Alexa PenaVega and Carlos PenaVega competed against each other in 2015 during the 21st season of "Dancing With the Stars." The "Spy Kids" actress and partner Mark Ballas were eliminated during the ninth week of the competition, while the "Big Time Rush" star and partner Witney Carson made it to the finals, where they ultimately placed fourth.
Season 25 saw a married couple going head-to-head once more — Vanessa Lachey and Nick Lachey! The pair, who wed back in 2011, hit the dance floor alongside their respective pro partners — another real-life couple, Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd. Vanessa lasted on the show a little longer than her hubby — one week longer, to be precise — but both ended up losing to Jordan Fisher.
In October 2012, professional dancers Anna Trebunskaya and Jonathan Roberts, who competed against each other during four seasons of "Dancing With the Stars," announced plans to divorce after nine years of marriage. "We have enjoyed more than a decade of a very loving, loyal and happy relationship, but after much soul searching, we have decided to end our marriage. We are committed to staying friends and dance partners. We have immense respect for each other as people and performers," they said in a statement.
Chris Soules was engaged to Whitney Bischoff, whom he picked on the final episode of his season of "The Bachelor" back in 2015, when he was paired with another woman who shared the same name — dance pro Witney Carson — on season 20 of "Dancing with the Stars." Chris and Witney has instant chemistry and their fast friendship reportedly contributed to the demise of the "Bachelor" stud's relationship with his fiancée. Once that couple ended, rumors continued to circle around Chris and his dancing partner long after the show was over. They were finally put to an end that October, however, when Witney got engaged to her high school sweetheart, Carson McAllister, whom she married on New Year's Day 2016.
Season 12 pairing Lacey Schwimmer and "Loveline" DJ Mike Catherwood sparked instant rumors back in 2011 after Us Weekly reported that they were hooking up (despite Lacey having just split with her boyfriend, DJ Guthrie). Though the two never confirmed their relationship, it was obvious enough to viewers that someone behind the scenes gave the pair a talking-to — with Mike telling "Access Hollywood," "A representative said 'Dancing with the Stars' has told Lacey Schwimmer, my partner, [and me] that we need to focus more on dancing and less on raw, pure sexual tension." Well, then!
"Dancing With the Stars" pro Gleb Savchenko and wife Elena Samodanova are sensations in the world of dance! While Gleb has been paired with celebrities like Erin McNaught and Lisa Vanderpump on the U.S. version of the reality TV competition series, Elena has made appearances on the show's international installments in both Russia and Australia. The couple welcomed their second daughter, Zlata, in August 2017.