Tony Dovolani knows he was the villain of Disney night. The Dancing With the Stars pro hit a rough patch with NeNe Leakes after last week's switch-up, as revealed on Monday, April 14, in a behind-the-scenes video of the partners. According to Dovolani, the tension was a combination of exhaustion and good storytelling.
"Apparently I was the villain," Dovolani told Us Weekly after the clip aired on Monday night's telecast. "We had just both flown a red-eye to New York, we were both tired, the switch-up didn't do us any good," he confessed. (Dovolani and Leakes were separated during the week four mix-and-match and temporarily paired with other partners.) "It put a bump in the road and we had a little tiff!" See more pics of Dovolani here.
"What couple doesn't?" the seasoned pro said. "They chose to show ours and make a story out of it… and that's fine," he said of the Tuesday, April 8 tiff with Leakes. The clip showed the Real Housewives of Atlanta veteran getting fed up with what she perceived as bad vibes from Dovolani. "You've got an attitude," she told him before storming out from their rehearsal. "If you want to go back to Candace [Cameron Bure], you call production so you can go back to Candace...I don't deserve an attitude. So goodbye."
Dovolani told Us that both he and Leakes apologized to each other on Wednesday and moved on. "That was a week ago, so in some ways we'd already forgotten about it," he told Us. Indeed, the two partners went on to come back stronger than ever after scoring a 36 out of 40 (9s from each judge) for their foxtrot to 101 Dalmatians' tune, "Cruella de Vil."
Not wanting to be compared to the notorious dalmatian-fur loving Disney character, Dovolani expressed how he was upset over his portrayal in the backstage package. "It was very difficult for me," he confessed, "because they made me seem like the villain." Leakes, according to Dovolani, was equally-stunned when she saw the clip. "She was overwhelmed," he recalled. "She didn't like that they were making me the villain. She saw the look on my face, and she said, 'Why are they doing this to you? You're the nice guy!' It was hard."
What really rubbed Dovolani the wrong way was Derek Hough's indirect involvement in the short-lived feud. "They made me seem like I hate Derek! I don't hate Derek!" Dovolani exclaimed, referring to Leakes' complaint that she felt like she couldn't talk to him about her week dancing with Hough. "I babysat that kid! I've known this kid for over 25 years. So for me, it's like, 'What do you mean I hate Derek?' He's a great person I grew up with."
Hough, on his end, told Us there was no bad blood. "No matter what happened in that package, no matter how they constructed it, it's gone," Hough said. "We all love each other, it's all love in the cast," he continued. Hough added, "I was really rooting for her tonight when she was dancing, giving the sass! I was so happy for her!"
Dovolani said, "They took my comments out of context and attached them to the story. And I didn't like that part. But listen, it was good TV, I guess… and I just hope it doesn't get us voted off."