Maksim Chmerkovskiy Denies Slapping Hope Solo During Dancing With the Stars Rehearsals
Tensions were running high behind the scenes of Dancing With the Stars, according to Hope Solo.
In her new book, Solo: A Memoir of Hope, the 31-year-old soccer player accuses her former partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy of becoming physically aggressive during a Season 11 rehearsal. According to Solo, Chmerkovskiy, 32, "slapped" her "hard" on the face while trying to correct one of her dance moves.
"He manhandled me in rehearsals from the start, pushing me, whacking my stomach, bending my arms roughly. I thought that was just how it went -- how dancers worked with each other," the athlete wrote. "But it kept getting worse. One day, Maks was trying to put me in a certain position and hit my stomach so hard with his open palm that I had a red handprint there for the rest of the day."
Solo claims ABC gave her the opportunity to continue Dancing With the Stars with a different partner after the incident, but she "didn't want to end Maks' career," she explained. She also felt that by doing so, the tabloids would make her look like a "prima donna."
The Olympian also addressed her partner's now infamous "This is my show!" outburst, which aired live on October 24, 2011. "I didn't know what to say," Solo wrote. "I was caught in some ongoing DWTS feud [between Chmerkovskiy and judge Len Goodman] that had started long before I signed on."
Ukrainian-born Chmerkovskiy posted a cryptic tweet August 16, which many Twitter users believe is a response to Solo's allegations of abuse. "Always hated hypocrites and liars, but when someone is both and an opportunist, I just feel bad for them," he wrote. "Can't win at someone's expense."
Hours later, Chmerkovskiy tweeted that "life's best lessons are the ones that you smile through."
Chmerkovskiy, whose previous celebrity partners include Mel B, Denise Richards, Erin Andrews, Brandy and Kirstie Alley, has yet to take home the Mirror Ball trophy on Dancing With the Stars.