Maksim Chmerkovskiy apparently meant it when he said Meryl Davis was the last person he wanted to dance with on the hit ABC reality show “Dancing with the Stars.” The Ukrainian native announced his departure from “DWTS” on “The View” Tuesday, to the dismay of his fans, but Sherri Shepherd wondered if rumored girlfriend Jennifer Lopez was the reason he wanted to leave.
"I'm done dancing," he said on the daytime talk show, getting straight to the point. "I feel like it's time." Chmerkovskiy won his first Mirror Ball trophy with 2014 Sochi Olympic gold medalist Meryl Davis on Season 18 and said he had changed.
"When I came back to the show, it was not the same — I was different, probably," he explained of his previous departure in February 2013. "When I came back, I saw this amazing talent … I looked at it and thought they can do much more and better. I was taking up a huge spot."
The 34-year-old dancer first left the show after Season 16 and then came back to dance with Davis. He hinted he would not be back for another season after his win during an interview with Social Life magazine via Us Weekly. "I want Meryl to be the last person I dance with," he said in June. "The last person I got to be passionate with and care so much for."
Chmerkovskiy added he is looking to start a family. "I raised so many children at the studio that I am ready to create one of my own," he told the mag. "I am really ready to have a family now. I need an outlet. I have so much I want to give, and I need someone to give it to."
It was highly speculated that he and his Olympic partner Davis had a love affair going on. Both denied they were romantically tied, and after the show rumors began to surface that linked the dancer to singer Jennifer Lopez. During the announcement on "The View," host Sherri Shepherd inquired if he was leaving "DWTS" because of J.Lo, but the dancer didn't acknowledge her persistent questions and instead hid his head in Jenny McCarthy's shoulder.
Chmerkovskiy had an early start on the show, joining the ABC team during Season 2. He quickly became a fan-favorite, whose celebrity partners included actress Tia Carrere, singer Willa Ford, boxer Laila Ali, Spice Girls star Mel B., Misty May-Treanor, Denise Richards, Debi Mazar, Erin Andrews, Brandy, Kirstie Alley, Hope Solo and Melissa Gilbert.
But just because Chmerkovskiy is done dancing doesn’t mean he is entirely done with “DWTS.” There’s been chatter he might return as a judge, Us Weekly wrote.
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