Long before quick-stepping toward two mirrorball trophies on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, Mark Ballas was performing in a head-banging metal band . . . with fellow pro Derek Hough!
“It was awesome,” Ballas, 29, tells Us Weekly while playing the Name Game at our New York office. “We had long hair and we used to go to battle of the bands.”
The pals have a long history together. At age 13, Hough and sister Julianne, then 10, left their home in Utah and moved to England to live with Ballas and his parents, Shirley and Corky, while studying ballroom dance at London’s Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts.
“Derek is my best friend and brother for life,” Ballas, who is engaged to singer BC Jean, tells Us of the pro dancer, who has won a record six seasons of DWTS. “We grew up together. We trained together, [went to] high school, college together. Moved out to America together. Joined the show together.”
In 2014, they even bought a bachelor pad together! Hough, 30, and Ballas renovated the Studio City, California, ranch of the HGTV series Mark and Derek’s Excellent Flip.
Watch the video above for more secrets and behind-the-scenes details about Ballas’ Dancing With the Stars cast mates (think: Kim Kardashian, Bristol Palin and Sadie Robertson)! Season 22 of Dancing With the Stars premieres March 21.
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