Even after calling off their engagement, the DWTS couple "think the world of each other," she tells PEOPLE

By Nicholas White
September 16, 2009 03:00 PM
Gregory Pace/BEImages

Don’t expect fireworks in the aftermath of the split between Karina Smirnoff and Maksim Chmerkovskiy.

“It’s kind of easy to stay friends,” Smirnoff told PEOPLE at the Pink Party to benefit the Cedars-Sinai Women’s Cancer Research Institute in Santa Monica over the weekend. “We were friends for 14 years, before anything else. It will always remain this way. It’s not difficult. We both think the world of each other.”

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Smirnoff, 31, and Chmerkovskiy, 29, both pro dancers on Dancing with the Stars, announced last week that they had broken up after being engaged for about eight months.

But she seems to be adjusting to the single life more easily than her former beau. “There are a lot of events, and a lot of opportunities where you have to go solo,” she says. “It’s interesting because I know there are a lot of people in the room I want to meet and interact with.”

As for Maks she adds: “Nothing has changed. Everything is great.”

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Still, Smirnoff admits that their performance together at the Emmy Awards ceremony on Sunday is making her anxious. “Very nervous, very excited – it is a routine we’re going to perform together,” Smirnoff says. “It’s going to be great. It’s young, it’s fun, it’s energetic. It’s got some crazy moves. So, it will be nice.”

After that, her primary dancing partner will be former boy-band musician Aaron Carter.

“He’s in really good shape,” Smirnoff says. “I’m like, ‘Okay, you’re 21, I’m not. I’m going to break.’ ”