Maksim Chmerkovskiy on His Haters and Tabloid Rumors: “I Don’t Care” What You Say About Me (EXCLUSIVE)
Maksim Chmerkovskiy is known for being passionate — some may say too passionate.
His success on “Dancing with the Stars” has been peppered with mini-feuds, and he’s frequently called the “bad boy of ballroom.”
But Chmerkovskiy is not focused on his reputation, telling Gossip Cop, “I don’t care, honestly.”
In our exclusive interview, the performer acknowledges that he’s often “misunderstood” or “misinterpreted,” and says he’s learned to accept that.
“Up until about a year and a half ago, everything bothered me. All the little things that I read about myself,” he explains. “I’ve literally developed a thick skin.”
The dancer continues, “[Now] I completely tune out. I don’t notice, I don’t read into things, I don’t get offended, I don’t get upset — you can literally say anything you want. ”
In fact, Chmerkovskiy argues that hateful comments could also be looked at as a positive, saying, “You can’t hurt me with words because I welcome freedom of speech, given where I come from [the Ukraine].”
“So that’s why, to everyone out there, who thinks of me anything they think of me — you’re welcome. Congratulations,” he goes on. “And use this. This whole freedom of speech thing is a blessing in this country. I can’t be offended.”
Not to mention, at the end of the day, Chmerkovskiy finds comfort in his close-knit, supportive family, with whom he runs Dance With Me, a chain of instructional dance studios.
Chmerkovskiy founded the company with his dad, and he notes his father “was my business partner since I was 16 years old.”
“We’ve grown up together as not just father and son but partners, and someone I respect and admire,” says the pro. “But at the same time, we’ve always been able to tell each other what to do, so to speak.”
It was actually his father who came up with the idea of a one-day only show, called Sway: A Dance Trilogy, that featured the Chmerkovskiy brothers, Tony Dovolani and Peta Murgatroyd of “Dancing with the Stars,” and a host of Dance With Me trainers.
“He’s the one that’s behind the scenes,” Chmerkovskiy says of his dad. “He’s the one that comes up with these crazy ideas and we have to execute them, so we love him and hate him at the same time.”
Gossip Cop was lucky enough to see the show after our interview, and it was clear why Chmerkovskiy was so excited and proud before taking the stage.
“I love that it’s all only staff of our studios, which is unprecedented for a show of this caliber,” he says.
Chmerkovskiy had years and years of experience before joining “Dancing with the Stars” for its second season in 2006, but he’s quick to give the show plenty of credit for furthering his career, and preparing for him for an intense project such as Sway.
He explains, “I’ve been blessed with a platform to shine on ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ [but] it’s 20-plus years of dance experience, what I’ve been doing since I was 4 years old.”
“I’ve done a lot of shows, a lot of productions. They weren’t as visible until shows like ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and other dance shows became a big hit, but that definitely prepared us for what ‘Dancing with the Stars’ then made us do,” he says.
Chmerkovskiy continues, “[Then] the last nine years made us very comfortable on stage, very comfortable in the spotlight.”
“We’ve been blessed to be on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and in the public eye, making an amazing living out of it, bringing joy to millions of people, and especially to the few that are family,” says the season 18 winner.
The show’s reigning champ is also open to going on a full-fledged dance tour, a la Derek and Julianne Hough’s recent Move Live, and looks back fondly on the time when the series’ cast used to perform around the country after each season.
“I directed and choreographed it, and that was really an experience that really led us to here,” he tells Gossip Cop. “Again, without that I wouldn’t be able to, you know, offer my expertise in pretty much anything.”
And it’s all propelling Chmerkovskiy to new heights.
“I have things that I wanna do, that I’m interested in, but it’s getting to the point where I’m getting excited not to have any free time [by] venturing out to different things,” he says.
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