Dancing with the Stars is one big happy family. Except in this family people tend to date and occasionally marry each other. Cozy! Season 11 may be light on the are-they/aren’t-they showmances — unless we count Florky, but please let's not — but there are still some interesting romantic tidbits behind the scenes. And that's not even counting the real, documented, we're-not-even-going-to-be-vague-about-it past and present couples of DWTS. Let's take a look.
2010 rumor patrol
• Maksim Chmerkovskiyand Karina Smirnoffused to be engaged to each other (see below) but neither one seems to be enjoying a showmance this season, despite the inevitable rumors that he's dating Brandy and she's datingThe Situation. Last season, however, we're inclined to agree that there was more going on with Maks and Erin Andrewsthan just flirting/bickering. As Maks told E!, "I've apologized to our fans because romance or not, they will probably never know because I'm a private person. I put out as much as I can on Twitter, my website, and my YouTube channel, but just to an extent. What Erin and I had is between me and Erin." That's as close to confirmation as we're likely to get!
• Chad Ochocinco had his heavy flirtation thing with Cheryl Burkelast season — he mock proposed, told her he loved her and gave her diamonds — and then he launched his dating show, The Ultimate Catch. As Cheryl told People, "If he doesn't find love on his dating show, and if I'm still around, then he might still have a chance." But now Chad seems to be dating Basketball Wives star Evelyn Lozada. Trouble is, she wasn't on his show. At the end of The Ultimate Catch, he chose Rubi Pazmino, and now she is supposedly dating him, too. So, considering Chad already has at least two girlfriends, we think Cheryl should just stay waaaaay out of it.
• David Hasselhoff joked to Jimmy Kimmel that, now that he's off DWTS, he can date partner Kym Johnson. Kym put the kibosh on that rumor in her OK! DWTS diary: "He’s so sweet and we’ll definitely go to dinner and I’ll be seeing him again. Maybe I’ll make him take me to the beach and show me some Baywatch moves! But as far as a romance, there’s none. Not right now, anyway."
• Mark Ballas may now be dating Jeanine Mason of So You Think You Can Dance or perhaps his partner Bristol Palin, but before that he was rumored to be dating fellow DWTS pro — and SYTYCD alum — Chelsie Hightower. In writing about Jake Pavelka's tearful goodbye last season on DWTS, Reality Tea says "And despite [Jake] calling his partner Chelsie his best friend last night, the two immediately parted ways after cameras stopped rolling. Chelsie however reportedly got a 'long' hug and 'sweet kiss on the cheek' from her new beau Mark Ballas." Mark also dedicated a song “to a very special person," Chelsie while performing a solo stint at The Mint in LA on April 12. “He gave me a shout-out because we’re close friends,” she tells OK!.
Let’s take a look at some of the real life couples of DWTS:
Sabrina Bryan & Mark Ballas
Cheetah Girl Sabrina danced with pro partner Mark on Season 5 of DWTS in 2007. They were eliminated sixth. They dated after the show, but split up in 2008, reportedly due to complications from her schedule. “She is too busy for me," Ballas told Us Weekly. "We are just friends now."
Mark Ballas & Julianne Hough
Talk about keeping it all in the family: When they were kids, Mark Ballas dated BFF Derek Hough's kid sister, DWTS pro dancer Julianne. "It didn't bother me because it was Mark," Derek told People. "So I guess no girls are really off-limits!"
Julianne Hough & Chuck Wicks
Julianne had already led two stars to mirror balls by the time she and her then boyfriend Chuck were the first real-life couple to dance together on the show. The country singers had started dating after touring together with Brad Paisley. They competed in DWTS Season 8 and were eliminated eighth, in April 2009. Their breakup was announced in November of that year.
Shannon Elizabeth & Derek Hough
Derek Hough tends to have great chemistry with all of his partners, but especially with Shannon Elizabeth on Season 6 in 2008. She was the seventh star sent home that season, but they dated for over a year before announcing their breakup over Twitter in August 2009. Derek’s first Twitter message read, “Hi everyone, we wanted you all to know directly from us, that Shannon & I have decided to end our relationship as boyfriend & girlfriend...” and Shannon's second message, which concluded the chain, said, “however, we love & care about each other very much & will remain friends & in each other's lives.”
Mario Lopez & Karina Smirnoff
In 2006, Mario Lopez and pro Karina Smirnoff danced to second place on DWTS Season 3. In 2008 they announced their breakup. “Karina has parted ways with her two year relationship with Mario Lopez,” Karina's spokesperson told People. “The relationship wasn’t heading in the right direction.” Mario's rep issued a statement on the star's behalf: “Karina and I have the utmost respect for each other. She is a phenomenal and talented woman. I support her always and feel blessed to have her in my life.”
Maksim Chmerkovskiy & Karina Smirnoff
The sexy fellow Ukrainians had known each other for about 15 years just as friends before they found themselves both single at the same time. That time was around the summer of 2008 when they started dating. Six months later they were engaged. The engagement ended after nine months, in September 2009. They split right after their Broadway debut in Burn the Floor, but they still had to dance together at the Emmys.
Drew Lachey & Cheryl Burke
File this one under Maybe/Maybe Not. Cheryl Burke led Drew to a Season 2 victory in 2006 and in 2008 tabloids reported that they had an affair during the DWTS North American tour. The whole thing got very tawdry, but in the end Cheryl broke up with her then boyfriend Matthew Lawrence (brother of Joey, who competed in Season 3) but Drew is still married with kids. Both Cheryl and Drew denied any affair. "The story that Cheryl is involved with Drew Lachey started two years ago when they were partners on Dancing with the Stars. It wasn't true then and it isn't true now," Burke's rep told People.
Ashly DelGrosso-Costa & Mike Costa
Ashly DelGrosso was a pro on the first three seasons of DWTS. In 2006 she married Mike Costa, a field producer for Dancing with the Stars. In 2007 they had their first son. In 2009 they had their second. She returned this year to dance with Buzz. And now, we assume, she's back to parenting.
Edyta Sliwinska & Alec Mazo
Russian Alec won DWTS Season 1 with Kelly Monaco. He’s been off and on with the show since then, whereas Polish Edyta is the only pro to be on all 10 seasons. The dancers competed on the professional Latin ballroom circuit for years before joining DWTS in 2005. They had planned to marry in 2006 but they were too busy and got it done in San Francisco in 2007. They are still together, and when Alec turned 32 on April 5, Edyta Tweeted that everyone should send him love.
Anna Trebunskaya & Jonathan Roberts
In 2000 Russian Anna and American Jonathan teamed up as pro dancers. During their time dancing they ranked 24 in the world and 6th in the U.S. Their last dance was in 2006 in Miami after Jonathan retired from competing. At some point they got married. They are both off-and-on pros with DWTS. He competed on all but Seasons 3, 7, and 10. She competed on Seasons 2, 5, 6, 9, 10 and now 11 with Kurt Warner.