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NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 25:  TV personality and ABC's "Dancing with The Stars" winner Donny Osmond visits ABC's "Good Morning America">> at ABC Studios on November 25, 2009 in New York City.  (Photo by Mike Coppola/WireImage)

Celebrity - News

Dark Secrets Dancing With The Stars Pros Tried To Hide

The following story contains discussion of substance abuse and eating disorders.

Content Warning
Cheryl Burke
Burke’s “Dancing with the Stars” career lasted from 2006 to 2021, and throughout most of her tenure, the dancer struggled with alcohol abuse. She realized her drinking was an issue in 2010 when she butchered her own choreography routine, but the incident only made her drink “way more,” essentially becoming a “functioning drunk,” until she got sober in 2018.
Bad Behavior
Since their stake in the competition depends not only on the technical ability of their partners but also on the celebs’ popularity, “Dancing with the Stars” pros learn not to address any bad behavior in front of the “DWTS” cameras. However, some drama inevitably gets leaked, like David Hasselhoff’s demanding behavior or Jaleel White’s tantrum.
Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Chmerkovskiy was one of the most outspoken pros on “DWTS,” and he sometimes struggled to hide his displeasure with his partners, most of all professional soccer player Hope Solo. In her memoir, Solo wrote that Chmerkovskiy “slapped” and “manhandled” her, while during a podcast interview, Chmerkovskiy said of Solo, “She’s just a sh***y person.”
Body Image
For both pro and celeb women, one of the most negative aspects of “Dancing with the Stars” is the pressure to look good in their skimpy costumes. “Spy Kids” star Alexa PenaVega said she “struggled with bulimia” after producers told her to lose weight. Likewise, “DWTS” pros Lacey Schwimmer and Karina Smirnoff opened up about their previous eating disorders.
Male Pros
Making the “DWTS” set even more toxic, pros like Louis Van Amstel and Maksim Chmerkovskiy weren’t afraid to voice their opinions when their female colleagues gained weight. Van Amstel said that watching a “heavy” dancer can “discourage” viewers, while Chmerkovskiy recalled telling colleagues Cheryl and Lacey they “needed to do something” about their weight gain.