Maks and Meryl? The chemistry between Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Meryl Davis has been palpable throughout the entire season 18 of Dancing With the Stars, leading fans of the ABC series to wonder if the partners are really dating behind-the-scenes.
Dancing veteran Chmerkovskiy, 34, hot off his first-ever mirrorball victory, and Davis, 27, nearly smooched after learning of their win on live TV during the Tuesday, May 20, finale -- but neither would confirm to Us Weekly what exactly was happening romantically.
Laughing, Davis remained coy about whether she and Maks were dating or not. "We were just saying that this show, despite the fact that it's a reality show, puts people into really real situations," Davis told Us. "It's challenging and we're not just coming to the show ready to dance every Monday. You go through the daily grind and it's very challenging. You get to know people in really fun moments and in really challenging moments, and I think that's what makes the show so successful."
She added: "And I also think that's why when the cameras stop rolling, I think that's why many of the relationships you form on the show keep going on long after the season's over."
Chmerkovskiy and the Olympic gold medalist have dominated since day one of the competition, eventually earning them a final two spot against Derek Hough and paralympian Amy Purdy. Chmerkovskiy, for his part, has waited 10 seasons to hold the mirrorball trophy. (Hough has won five times before.)
"I'm not as beside myself as I thought I would be because I'm incapable of accepting gifts or awards - we just have these dumbfounded looks on our faces, and she's a fellow Capricorn, she knows what I'm saying - I'm just thinking about the fact that this isn't our finish line," the Russian native told Us. "It's more of, we could be brilliant but Charlie [White] didn't make the final, James [Maslow] didn't make the final. There were people that who did incredible numbers. It's about the people who voted and called and stayed up overnight to vote. It's because of them that we have this trophy."
"Had Amy and Derek's names been called, all would have been right with the world, everyone would have been amazed at their journey," he continued. "She deserved the trophy too. This is why it's special because those people, those fans dedicated their time to us. God knows we did our best. We did our best."
It's been clear to fans that Davis has brought a different side out of Chmerkovskiy through their journey together. Compared to his usual tough exterior, cameras often caught him getting overwhelmed and emotional with his partner. During Monday night's episode, he particularly got upset backstage because there's a chance he won't be returning next season.
"Len and I will get together and talk about it. Emotionally I have no idea how this is possible twice," he said. (Judge Len Goodman revealed during the live finale show that this season may be his last.) "Derek did it five times and that was the first person that I spoke to after Meryl and I won - I was like, 'Dude, I had no clue,'" he added. "I have to connect with the person and when I connect it's do or die. When the season's over, I'm depleted. Right now, I have nothing left. When we won, I felt an abundance of emotion from everyone. It's overwhelming and I feel it, I feel it."
Will Chmerkovskiy and Davis continue dancing together after the show? "We will, but not immediately, not right now!" the pro dancer said.