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‘Dancing with the Stars’ siren Brooke Burke pulls back curtain on show’s sexual chemistry

“Dancing with the Stars” has a long history of bringing together celebrities and dancing pros, both for the sake of the competition show and for something more.

Some regulars like Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd have managed to find love with each other, while stars like pro wrestler Nikki Bella have signed on for a season only to end up making a deeper connection. Most recently, former contestant Brooke Burke admitted to considering an affair with her partner, Derek Hough, based on how intimate their routines felt.

Fox News Digital takes a look at the long history of flings, alleged affair rumors and genuine romances that have stemmed from “Dancing with the Stars.”


From left: Derek Hough and Brooke Burke; Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd; and Artem Chigvintsev and Nikki Bella all appeared on “Dancing with the Stars.” (Chris Chavira/Disney General Entertainment Content | Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Samsung | Eric McCandless)

Brooke Burke and Derek Hough

Burke competed on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2008, with Hough as her partner. At the time, she was in a relationship with David Charvet, whom she would go on to marry, but that didn’t stop her from having certain feelings during the filming of the show.

“You are intertwined with someone’s body when you’re a dancer,” she explained on the “Sex, Lies, and Spray Tans” podcast, hosted by “DWTS” pro Cheryl Burke, earlier this week. “There is no way that I have ever been so connected — besides with a lover or a husband — than I was with Derek.”

Derek Hough and Brooke Burke

Derek Hough and Brooke Burke won the seventh season of “Dancing with the Stars.” (Kelsey McNeal/Disney General Entertainment Content)

She continued, “So for three months, you are in someone’s arms. Why do you think people fall in love?”

“It can be more intimate than making love in a bedroom — you’re making love on a dance floor, you feel more connected,” Burke said. “If you have energy, you’re doing this dance, and you’re in the rhythm, and then there’s trust, then you’re sharing fear, you’re doing something you’ve never done. How many times do you go through an experience with someone where they’re all you’ve got?”

She even went as far as to say, “Had I not been married … I would have actually hoped we would have had a love affair.”

Cheryl told her that if Hough heard those comments, he would “freak out … in a good way.” She added, “He kept telling me how hot you were on your season.”

Brooke Burke and Derek Hough performing

Brooke Burke and Derek Hough had some intimate dance routines on the show. (Kelsey McNeal/Disney General Entertainment Content)

While Burke described a unique sort of intimacy she shared with Hough, she also said that their relationship — which she claims never actually became romantic or physical — was difficult at times, something she chalked up to the two being at vastly different stages in their lives.


“He was really tough, he was really hard on me … [He] was exhausted, he was recording an album at night. I had a 3-month-old baby. I was fried — up all night, training all day … so my body was, like, depleted. I was also hormonal. I was a woman and a mother … he was a young man. We weren’t meeting each other in a place that was serving us,” said Burke.

The two went on the win the coveted Mirrorball Trophy despite the personal issues they faced. Hough did not immediately return Fox News Digital’s request for comment on Burke’s recollections.

Shannon Elizabeth and Derek Hough

Derek hough and his girlfriend smiling

Derek Hough and Shannon Elizabeth dated for just over a year. (Michael Desmond/Disney General Entertainment Content)

Hough danced with Burke in the seventh season of “Dancing with the Stars,” but in the prior season, he actually did get involved with his partner — actress Shannon Elizabeth.

Elizabeth was 34 when she competed, while Hough was just 22. In the season premiere, he said, “When I first met Shannon, I just thought she was gorgeous.”

At first, the two kept their relationship under wraps. They didn’t discuss it on the show, but they were photographed kissing on a beach during filming, and on one episode Hough was spotted with lipstick marks on his face after a commercial break.


Elizabeth was eliminated during the seventh week of the show, but she and Hough remained close, eventually acknowledging their romance publicly. In the break between seasons, she even clarified some rumors that had been going around about the couple, telling People, “There’s this whole weird rumor going around. One of them says that he proposed, and I said no, and the other says he proposed, and I said yes, and we’re getting married. Neither one is true.”

Derek Hough and Shannon Elizabeth

Derek Hough and Shannon Elizabeth reportedly began dating while filming “Dancing with the Stars.” (Kelsey McNeal/Disney General Entertainment Content)

“Luckily he doesn’t care. We were laughing about it,” she added. “It’s really funny.”

In August 2009, approximately a year after those comments were made, the couple announced their breakup in posts made to X, formerly Twitter. Hough wrote, “Hi everyone, we wanted you all to know directly from us, that Shannon & I have decided to end our relationship as boyfriend & girlfriend… however, we love and care about eachother very much and will remain friends and in eachothers lives.”

Elizabeth shared a similar message, then added, “Thank you everyone for all your sweet words & encouragement – it really means a lot to me! Xoxo.”

Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev

Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev

Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev started dating after they were paired together on the show. (Eric McCandless / Disney General Entertainment Content)

Professional wrestler Nikki Bella was engaged to John Cena when she appeared on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2017, but still, she ended up with her dance partner, Artem Chigvintsev.

During their season, fans noted some chemistry between the two, but Bella has said that their relationship didn’t turn romantic until nearly a year after she broke up with Cena in 2018.

On a 2020 episode of “The Bellas Podcast,” which she shares with twin sister Brie, Bella even recalled feeling uncomfortable dancing with Chigvintsev during their time together on the show.


“I remember the one thing that was awkward for me — I don’t know if you remember in some of [the] dance moves — when their leg had to be in between your leg,” she told guest Lisa Vanderpump, who competed on the show herself in 2016. “I remember … it was the first time a man’s leg, other than my fiancé’s, was in between mine, and I was like, ‘Whoa!’ It was weird,” she said.

Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev on the dance floor

Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev went on to have a child together. (Eric McCandless / Disney General Entertainment Content)

Bella added, “You definitely get an emotional bond with them because it is so scary… I’ve never been that nervous before. That’s the crazy thing being with [Chigvintsev] now is there were none of those feelings at all.”

Chigvintsev admitted during his own appearance on Bella’s podcast in 2021 that his view of their time together then was a bit different.

Naming his “favorite memory” of her, he said, “Well, obviously, I know — I mean, Nicole might feel a little different — but to me, just the meeting, I think that was the one thing that kind of, like, tricked me out. I know it’s very controversial at this point, whatever, I don’t really care, but I think meeting Nicole for the first time.”

Nikki Bella putting her foot on Artem Chigvintsev's chest

Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev were married in 2022. (Craig Sjodin/Disney General Entertainment Content)

“I actually called the executive producer right after our first meet and I even said, ‘Wow, this girl’s incredible.’ Actually, I said that I think I’m in love,” he recalled.

Just months after they announced their relationship, they became engaged. Two months later, they announced that Bella was pregnant. In July 2020, they welcomed son Matteo. After setting a wedding date and pushing it back twice, once because of the COVID-19 pandemic and once because of the difficulty of bringing Chigvintsev’s parents in from Russia, they finally married in August 2022.

Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko

Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko

Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko competed together in 2016. (Eric McCandless/Disney General Entertainment Content)

In 2016, Jana Kramer was matched with Gleb Savchenko when she appeared on “Dancing with the Stars.” At the time, she was separated from then-husband Mike Caussin. Savchenko was also married.

During this period, Kramer admitted in her 2020 book with Caussin, “The Good Fight,” that she’d had some “flings” during their separation, writing, “I never truly thought I did anything wrong. Correction. I knew it was wrong; I just didn’t want to be the bad guy. I justified my actions in my mind just as I suppose Mike had done all along too.”

She never named Savchenko, but her ex-boyfriend Ian Schinelli did, alleging to Us Weekly last year, “Jana has admitted to me that she slept with two guys while Mike was in rehab. She slept with Gleb. She justified it saying, ‘We were legally separated.’” Kramer and Savchenko have both denied Schinelli’s allegation. 


Kramer and Schinelli dated for a few months in 2022, and he also claimed, “She even tried to meet up with Gleb while we were dating. He was doing a show in Nashville and she asked me if it was OK if she met up with him. I said, ‘As long as there was nothing there anymore,’ and she said, ‘No.’ She never went and said it was out of respect for me.”

Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko dancing

Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko denied being romantically involved. (Eric McCandless/Disney General Entertainment Content)

Savchenko has expressly denied any sort of romantic relationship with Kramer, telling Entertainment Tonight last year, “There’s a lot of acting, there’s a lot of chemistry, natural chemistry and you know, when you dance and you train someone every day, and you’re up close and personal, you develop a certain connection. The viewer sees it. I mean, you want to have that because you want to last in the competition, and my job was to make sure that we go really, really far.

“Have we ever had anything? Absolutely not. Absolutely not.”

On Schinelli, he said, “I just feel a little sad that he had to go that way and say something like that about her. I was totally surprised. She texted me, she’s like, ‘Dude, like, can you imagine he said all of this? I’ve never …'”

Chrishell Stause and Gleb Savchenko

Chrishell Stause and Gleb Savchenko

Chrishell Stause and Gleb Savchenko were also rumored to be involved. (Eric McCandless via Getty Images)

Jana Kramer wasn’t the only “Dancing with the Stars” contestant Savchenko has been linked to — “Selling Sunset” star Crishell Stause has also been rumored to have had an affair with him. Savchenko and Stause have both denied the rumor. 

Stause appeared on the series in 2020, and as is the case with many partners on the show, fans believed they saw some romantic chemistry with the pair. Rumors only intensified when soon after Stause was eliminated, Savchenko and his wife, Elena Samodanova, announced their separation.


“After 14 years of marriage, and multiple affairs, I’ve decided enough is enough,” Samodanova said in a statement to People at the time. “Gleb and I have created a family and multiple businesses together. But apparently, it just wasn’t enough to keep our marriage strong. Gleb’s ongoing infidelity and a recent inappropriate relationship has created turmoil in our marriage and absolutely torn our family apart.

Gleb Savchenko and Jana Kramer dancing

Gleb Savchenko’s then-wife referenced infidelity in her statement on their divorce. (Eric McCandless/ABC)

“No wife should ever stand by and watch while another woman gifts her husband expensive presents, lures him out to dinners and seduces him at every turn. Last night was the final straw, and I can no longer turn my head the other way. My trust in Gleb is irrevocably broken and it is time that I walk away and begin to heal so I can be the best version of myself for my girls.”


Savchenko issued a statement of his own in response and specifically mentioned Stause, saying through his representative, “While I will continue to respect the privacy of my family, I will not stand by and allow false accusations and internet rumors go unaddressed. My relationship with Chrishell was and remains strictly platonic. Our friendship during our season on ‘DWTS’ was not the reason for our split. Elena and I have had longstanding issues in our marriage. This has been an ongoing situation between Elena and I paired with poor timing. It was my deepest hope to keep our private life just that: private. I am saddened and disappointed to see that Elena has chosen not to do the same.”

Gleb Savchenko kissing Chrishell Stause' hand

Chrishell Stause and Gleb Savchenko have said they were only friends while filming “Dancing with the Stars.” (Eric McCandless via Getty Images)

Stause herself also weighed in on the situation on her Instagram story, where she wrote, “I am so saddened about the news of Gleb and Elena’s split. It is unfortunate that this has caused rumors to swirl about my personal life … As you can imagine, the countless hours of training, and dance rehearsals has created a strong supportive friendship, but nothing more.”

Interestingly, Stause was able to disprove the rumors when she announced a month later that she’d actually been romanced by another “Dancing with the Stars” pro — Keo Motsepe. The two dated for a couple of months before ultimately breaking things off.

Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd

 Maks Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd

Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd met on Broadway before being reunited on “Dancing with the Stars.” (Araya Diaz/Getty Images for March Of Dimes)

Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd are perhaps two of the most well-known professionals on “Dancing with the Stars,” so it seems fitting they have one of the most memorable love stories.

The longtime couple actually met two years before Murgatroyd joined the show in 2011 while working on a Broadway production together. Their relationship was strictly platonic then, but she told People in 2017 that “there was always an attraction” between them, even though Chmerkovskiy was engaged to yet another “DWTS” pro, Karina Smirnoff, at the time.


By 2012, they were both single, and they wasted no time in making their relationship a romantic one. In 2013, they split and began seeing other people, something that Chmerkovskiy has said that he quickly realized was “a mistake.”

Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd smiling

Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd share two children. (David Livingston)

A year later, they were back together, and a year after that, they were engaged. In 2017, Murgatroyd gave birth to their son, Shai Aleksander. Six months later, they were married.

In June, after multiple miscarriages and failed IVF attempts, Chmerkovskiy and Murgatroyd welcomed another son, Rio John.


In July, the happy couple celebrated their sixth wedding anniversary with touching Instagram posts. In hers, Murgatroyd called Chmerkovskiy “love of my life” and “my favorite human.”

“Easily the absolute best decision I’ve ever made and I would marry you everyday of my life,” he wrote. “I love you infinitely more today than on our wedding day and can’t even fathom how that’s possible because I clearly remember bursting with love when you walked towards me.”

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