Artem Chigvintsev laughed off rumors that Dancing With the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba was bringing her own feelings into her judging. After weeks of low scores from Inaba, 52, fans began wondering on social media if that was because the Hawaii native and the Russian pro, 38, dated for nearly three years from 2006 to 2009.
“Oh my goodness! It was so long ago,” Chigvintsev told Us Weekly after the Monday, November 9, episode. “It was, like, 2008, we’re in 2020. That’s 12 years ago!”
His partner, Kaitlyn Bristowe, then noted that fans “love looking for something.” The duo agreed that Inaba was simply tough on them because she cared about their progress.
“I don’t think my previous relationship has anything to do with it, I’ll be honest with you, because she’s been judging me for the past however many seasons I was on the show,” the Strictly Come Dancing alum said. “So there’s no, like, personal agenda whatsoever. I don’t think it has anything to do with it. I think she just really was harsh in the sense that she saw so much more potential than what we’ve been delivering the past two weeks and she finally got things that she’s been wanting to see.”
During Monday’s show, the former Bachelorette, 35, and Chigvintsev ran over to hug the Talk cohost after she gave them a standing ovation for their Argentine tango. The pair earned their first perfect 30 of the season for the routine.
“I’m just really happy it all worked out and it all came to a very happy place because it was challenging for two weeks getting certain critiques and going back into rehearsals and still trying to be very positive, like, ‘No, we’re gonna do it, we’re gonna breakthrough,'” Chigvintsev continued. “It can easily fall into that kind of, like, a bad space where it’s like, ‘Can I do it? Because I don’t think I can. I’m trying!’ So, it’s good to be back! It’s good to be in a good space especially knowing that it’s the semifinals next.”
The former In Living Color star also opened up about the speculation, telling Us she thinks it’s “hysterical” that fans would think that.
“This is what I love about the Bachelor fans and Bachelorette fans. They can create a story around it. And it’s weird because I totally understood what they were doing. They’re like, there’s jealousy there and there’s this and that because that’s what the Bachelor and Bachelorette is all about, right? It’s about creating stories about everybody,” she said. “Look, I love Artem, I respect him, I love him and Nikki [Bella] together. I love that they just had their little baby Matteo. We’ve had Nikki on The Talk, I’m a huge fan. There’s nothing but love and I thought it was hysterical. So none of it bothers me. I know that people are passionate about Dancing With the Stars. They’re passionate about who they’re voting for. I love that. I will not stand for bullying of me or anyone. I will not. We’ve had enough of it in our country. I’m sick of it. I’m never gonna stand for that, I’m never gonna support it. But I am OK with passion and I am OK with discussion.”
Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Kayley Stumpe