Derek Hough is about to make his debut on “Nashville” Season 3, but the “Dancing With The Stars” pro is more concerned about his co-star Hayden Panettiere. The actress and her character Juliette Barnes are both pregnant, and that apparently made the five-time "Dancing With The Stars" champ feel a little defensive.
"I get really protective over pregnant women! I'm like walking around her with my arms out like, 'are you okay?!'" he told Us Weekly. "But she's still working, she's still rocking it! She looks great. She's amazing. I love her."
Panettiere, 25, is expecting a baby girl with Wladimir Klitschko, 38, in December. She and the Ukrainian heavyweight boxer are engaged and have been together for five years. The couple was planning to get married in Klitschko’s home county, but Ukraine’s political situation has halted plans. “Everything’s that happening in Ukraine definitely put a hold on things. But we have time,” Panettiere told Parade Magazine in the spring.
It sounds like Hough's protectiveness was appreciated. He said that the set was very warm and welcoming. “Everyone was so kind, so sweet, and Hayden was incredible to work with," Hough said.
Although Hough is over protective of Panettiere on set, rumor has it his character won't be able to keep Juliette safe during his stint on "Nashville." According to reports, Panettiere's real-life pregnancy doesn’t mean her “Nashville” character is staying out of trouble, and Juliette might find trouble with Hough’s character. Hough dropped some hints about his storyline. He’ll play Noah West on the ABC drama, the leading actor in the Patsy Cline biopic that the country starlet is auditioning for.
"Let's just say that there's some drama there, a triangle of sorts," Hough said. "Hayden might fall into my arms somehow in a dramatic way. Let's just say 'she falls into my arms in a dramatic way’ and interpret that any way you want!"
International Business Times previously reported that Hough’s character was being introduced as a possible love interest for Juliette. However, her impending pregnancy might get in the way of that.
Hough is currently filming his arc on “Nashville” Season 3 while also competing with Bethany Mota in “Dancing With The Stars” Season 19. His first episode of “Nashville” will air Wednesday, Oct. 8 at 10 p.m. EDT on ABC.