Karina Smirnoff, born in Kharkiv, Ukraine in 1978, is a champion ballroom dancer that dazzled the floor with her sensual style and physique. Smirnoff started dancing at five, and originally intended on studying law at Fordham University. Her love for dancing, however, carried her to follow her dreams. She landed a role in Shall We Dance where she appeared opposite Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez.
Since then, she’s appeared on four seasons of Dancing with the Stars, which is where she met her on-again, off-again boyfriend, actor Mario Lopez. The couple split once and for all in summer 2008. Following her split from Lopez, Smirnoff began dating her DWTS colleague Maksim Chmerkovskiy. The pair got engaged on New Year’s Day in 2009 after six months of dating; they called it nine months later.
In Nov. 2010, Smirnoff confirmed to Us that her boyfriend, baseball player Brad Penny, popped the question on Oct. 12 after she and Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino were voted off DWTS. The couple has since separated.