16 Couples Who Found Romance in the Dancing with the Stars Ballroom
Partners in dance — and love ... some of the most memorable DWTS pairs who romanced and rumba'd off stage
NIKKI BELLA & ARTEM CHIGVINSTEV
In January 2019, PEOPLE confirmed Bella was casually dating her former DWTS costar.
“They’ve been spending time together for a long time, but it’s nothing serious right now,” said a source of the couple, who danced together on season 25 of DWTS in 2017. “They have a strong attraction to each other, but they’re just having fun. They’re both extremely busy with their own careers, so they spend time together when they can.”
By March, they pair was seen packing on the PDA at Los Angeles hot spot Joan's on Third.
In January 2020, the two had extra-exciting news: not only are they engaged, but expecting a baby together this summer, too.
MATTHEW LAWRENCE & CHERYL BURKE
So they didn't technically meet in the ballroom — but it's how the magic began! The couple initially met in 2006 through Joey Lawrence, Matthew’s brother and a contestant on the third season of DWTS. They first started dating in February 2007 and were in a yearlong relationship before calling it quits in February 2008.
ALAN BERSTEN & ALEXIS REN
The newest romance comes courtesy of pro Bersten and model Ren, who've been particularly open about their feelings throughout season 27.
In a November 2018 episode, following Ren's confession she was falling for her partner, Bersten said,
“Last week, some things were said,” Bersten says to Ren. “I’m in a place where, we worked so hard for this amazing journey together, and I’m afraid I will mess that up in some way. But I’ve never had an experience like this. It’s so easy to just hang out with you and have fun and not worry about everything else. I know that you put yourself out there last weekend, and I do have feelings for you. And I really feel like I am falling for you.”
What followed? A kiss! And, by December, a breakup.
PETA MURGATROYD & MAKSIM CHMERKOVSKIY
They found love in a glittery place! The New Zealand native and her Ukrainian-born pro partner in life first took their chemistry off the dance floor for a 10-month tango from 2012–13. After a year apart, they rekindled their flame in October 2014, became engaged in December 2015 and welcomed son Shai Aleksander on Jan. 4, 2017. Maks was first to admit he was more than ready to bring his baby into the competition on season 24, telling PEOPLE: "Listen, when this thing gets heated, and I need to pull out my secret weapon, I’m going to roll up to rehearsal with a baby in a harness. You know, look sexy as hell."
VAL CHMERKOVSKIY & JENNA JOHNSON
The Dancing with the Stars cast mates both expressed their affection for each other with cuddly photos posted on their respective Instagram accounts in August 2017. But their romance isn't new — the dancing duo had been dating off and on for two years prior.
In February 2016, they were spotted getting cuddly while out and about in West Hollywood for lunch. At the time, Johnson caressed Chmerkovskiy’s hair and face as they dined and were seen walking down the street with their arms wrapped around each other.
KYM JOHNSON & ROBERT HERJAVEC
Wasting absolutely no time at all, the duo was spotted canoodling at the show's 20th season premiere in Los Angeles. "I don't do anything for publicity," Herjavec told PEOPLE of his relationship with Johnson. "From the moment I met her, I loved hanging out with her. We are having a great time."
EMMA SLATER & SASHA FARBER
It's not only stars who find love on DWTS. Professional dancers Farber and Slater got engaged during a live episode of the show — after dancing together, naturally! "Babe, I wanted to do this for such a long, long time," Farber said, pink sapphire ring in hand, to his girlfriend of five years. "I love you so much. Will you marry me?" She said yes, and the entire DWTS cast quickly joined in on the excitement. They married in March 2018.
AMBER ROSE & VAL CHMERKOVSKIY
Though Rose was eliminated earlier than she hoped from Dancing with the Stars, she briefly found a romantic connection with the brother of her pro partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy. The two got cozy at her 33rd birthday bash and shared sweet photos of their time together on Instagram before splitting after five months together.
MARIO LOPEZ & KARINA SMIRNOFF
When Lopez and Smirnoff were paired in 2006 on the show's third season, the chemistry was immediate. "I thought he was extremely hot and charming," she told PEOPLE in 2008, shortly after their "painful split." When Lopez confirmed infidelity rumors, Smirnoff was heartbroken. "It felt like the world came to an end for a second. I hit the ground, and I couldn't get up."
MAKSIM CHMERKOVSKIY & KARINA SMIRNOFF
VAL CHMERKOVSKIY & JANEL PARRISH
Parrish, best known for playing Mona Vanderwaal on Pretty Little Liars, felt instant chemistry with Season 19 partner Chmerkovskiy, and couldn't stop gushing. "Val's been amazing … It's been really good, and we're having fun amid the crazy," she said. Romance rumors reached their peak in November of 2014 when the two were spotted holding hands in N.Y.C. (However, the rumors waned before the season ended.)
MARK BALLAS & SABRINA BRYAN
DEREK HOUGH & SHANNON ELIZABETH
Elizabeth and Hough, who had intense chemistry during the show's 2009 sixth season, dated for more than a year before ending it extremely amicably: with matching Tweets. "Hi everyone, we wanted you all to know directly from us that Shannon & I have decided to end our relationship as boyfriend & girlfriend," Hough tweeted. Elizabeth added, "We love & care about each other very much."
SHAWN JOHNSON & MARK BALLAS
CHERYL BURKE & CHAD OCHOCINCO
In Burke's 2006 book, Dancing Lessons, the dancer wrote that people assumed she and her partner (real name: Chad Johnson) were an item because of their "great chemistry," and then, she totally admitted to their relationship – er, "fling" – to Lifeline Live: "We maybe had a little bit of a fling. I wouldn't take it to that word dating."
JAMES MASLOW & PETA MURGATROYD
The 2014 DTWS duo admitted to going on a date before the season 18 premiere, but apparently things fizzled almost immediately – and they both got pretty sick of answering questions about it. "We'll be asked the same question rephrased 17 times, and yet they expect different answers," Maslow told PEOPLE. "It's fun, it's all good and I'm flattered because she's beautiful and it's not such a bad thing … But really, we're just here just to dance."