We’re still getting used to the idea of watching Dancing With the Stars Season 16 minus the original sexy Chmerkovskiy brother — pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy. But was it not his idea to take the spring 2013 season off?
 
A “show insider” told Star magazine (via RadarOnline), “Maks is trying to spin it as if it was his decision, but in reality, he was not asked back. … His self-importance got the best of him long ago, and he became really difficult.” When Access Hollywood announced Maks’s departure, they also quoted an unnamed source who said Maks was not asked to return.

Even if it’s true that he wasn’t asked back for Season 16, that doesn’t mean he was “fired” from DWTS or won’t be returning for future seasons. There doesn’t seem to be any bad blood. In his statement announcing his absence from Season 16, Maks said, “I’ve been a pro dancer on the show for about seven years now and am eager to explore other opportunities that have been made possible because of Dancing with the Stars. I'm going to take this time to dive into producing and acting, while fulfilling my sponsorship obligations.” He also praised the show, and its cast.

Not to mention when his publicist, Lizzie Grubman, was asked “is this true,” about the Star story, she tweeted, “He is under contact until 2015." [sic]

So whether he elected to skip the season or the show did it for him, it sounds like he’s just in the same boat as Chelsie Hightower, Lacey Schwimmer and other pros not competing on Season 16, and like Derek Hough, who took off Season 12 to film a movie.

Whatever Maks does during his season off, we wish him luck!

Sources: RadarOnline, Access Hollywood, @LizzieGrubman