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Dancing With the Stars Season 18 champions Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy have finally said the words “we’re not dating” (or at least she did) but only recently, after a season filled with loving words, obvious chemistry, and natural are-they-or-aren’t-they speculation.

Even now, after they’ve made it clear they aren’t dating, they are still touchy-feely with each other — but then again, most of the dancers are that way with each other. It’s part of their jobs to be intimate, so it doesn’t have the same meaning that it might have for the rest of us.

Still, TV Guide mentioned to Maks that he and Meryl got a lot of mileage out of the romance speculation — which they continued to play coy about from his mock proposal on Week 1 to the Finale. How much of it was played up for the show? Maks answered, “Our relationship is very real. She's incredible. It's going to go beyond Dancing with the Stars for sure... As far as what everybody is asking romantically, these things will never be answered by me. You're going to see things in tabloids and pictures, and you have people gossiping and making up their own stories, but I will never speak about my personal life.”

(As you probably know, Maks was previously engaged to fellow DWTS pro Karina Smirnoff, and later dated pro Peta Murgatroyd, and he was recently linked to supermodel Kate Upton, whom he did talk about at least a little bit at one point.)

TV Guide added that the show “really milked” the M&M relationship, which is fair, but they also milked the James Maslow and Peta showmance, it just didn’t get quite as much traction with the general DWTS fandom. “I think the show never had a couple like Meryl and me,” Maks said, later adding, “Nobody, I think, came close to Meryl and me, just by sheer passion. That passion, that togetherness and that look in each other's eyes — yes, some of it was necessary for the dances to be what they needed to be from a performance standpoint. Most of it was coming from a very real spot. We connected right away and it was extremely creative.”

But that doesn’t mean they’re dating or even on their way to dating. They had that connection that you need to really sell a dance and take viewers into the moment. We were definitely there with M&M the whole time! But that was their job. Maks does it with pro and celeb partners every season, and Meryl has had a different kind of chemistry with ice dancer Charlie White for the past 17 years, even though they aren’t dating either.

Having a genuine connection with sexy people is a great job if you can get it, but it isn’t more than that … until it is. We have seen a lot of real DWTS couples form over the years — between pro dancers, and celebs and pros — but M&M aren’t on the list quite yet.

Source: TV Guide