Maksim Chmerkovskiy is back in the building!
When the celebrity and pro dancer couples were introduced at the top of the show, audiences saw Chmerkovskiy return with Lachey.
Last week, DWTS co-host Erin Andrews informed viewers that Chmerkovskiy’s absence was due to “a personal issue,” but sources told PEOPLE that the DWTS pro, 37, and Lachey, 36, had been “bickering” since the beginning of the competition and that he chose to sit out from rehearsals and the live show due to a clash between their “big personalities.”
“As you are all aware, I had to leave the show last week to take care of some personal issues. I take full responsibility for my absence. And want to apologize to my partner Vanessa. We are both looking forward to dancing for our fans next week!” the father of one wrote.
PEOPLE’s special issue, 25 Seasons of Dancing with the Stars, is on stands now.
On Monday, Chmerkovskiy’s wife — and fellow DWTS pro — Peta Murgatroyd shared with PEOPLE that even though “a lot was made of the fact that Maks missed last week’s show,” only a “few people know how crazy this show really gets — not only physically on your body but mentally as well.”
“We care about our partners, and that’s what makes it so hard sometime, because you care and love each other, and you want them to do so well. You invest so much time-wise, and you just want them to be the best and get the best results possible at the end of the day on the Monday night. But it is difficult to deal with life, stresses, rehearsals and then show time and everything that goes along with that,” she added.
While this isn’t the first time Chmerkovskiy has been rumored to clash with his DWTS counterpart — in 2015 he told The Real that his season 13 partner, soccer star Hope Solo, is “literally the only person that I could dislike from my past, present or future” — an insider insisted that he and Lachey are a unified pair.
FROM COINAGE: The Cost of Dancing With the Stars’ Mirrorball Trophy
“Maks and Vanessa are a team and completely support each other 100 percent,” the insider told PEOPLE. “They are so friendly backstage and are great to work with. You can tell they are genuinely enjoying themselves and are here to have a good time.”
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.