On bad terms? Artem Chigvintsev and Nikki Bella unfollowed Dancing With the Stars on Instagram days before ABC unveiled the season 28 cast, which does not include the pro dancer for the first time in years.
Chigvintsev, 37, addressed his absence in an Instagram post on Wednesday, August 21, writing, “I just want to say how sad it makes me feel not to be part of Season 28 of DWTS. It’s been 10 years since I have joined this absolutely, one of a kind, incredible show! It has given me recognition as a dancer, choreographer and a teacher. I have had so many beautiful memories with all of my celebrity partners! They all have shaped me into the person that I am today.”
After thanking “all the people behind the camera,” the Burn the Floor alum wrote that he will miss working “along side my coworkers, the heroes of the show.”
“I want to wish them and their new celebrity partners the best of luck this season!” he continued. “I want you all to make it better than it ever was before! Because our DWTS Fans, who mean SO much to me, want DWTS to continue going strong for many, many years to come.”
Chigvintsev concluded his post by expressing his gratitude for the show’s fans: “I simply couldn’t have done it without you! Without your love! Without your connection! And most importantly without your support! You all have no idea how much I will miss you all this season! I’m already missing you all so much! Even though this is so hard on me, I will be DWTS #1 fan, cheering you all on every Monday night! Good luck to everyone on Seasons 28! With lots of Love Artem.”
In the comments section, Bella, who was Chigvintsev’s celebrity partner during season 25 before they started dating in January, shared her reaction to the news.
“I’m so sorry my A,” she wrote. “I know big things will happen for you. Their loss, I promise. You are an incredible person with a beautiful soul and are beyond talented. Anyone will be lucky to have you dance for them! Chin up! I’m SO excited to see your new journey and what you will do next!! The world is yours!”
A source, meanwhile, tells Us Weekly, “This season, ABC has Peta [Murgatroyd] back and two new pros, Daniella Karagach and Pasha Pashkov, who ABC is excited to have join the show. It’s not uncommon for dancers to take a season off and then come back for another season. [Artem and Sharna Burgess] are both, of course, still part of the DWTS family.”
Chigvintsev joined DWTS in 2014 as a member of the dance troupe. He was promoted to pro status later that year and went on to compete in eight seasons.
Us broke the news of Chigvintsev and Bella’s romance in January. The retired wrestler, who was previously engaged to John Cena, announced on her “Bellas Podcast” in July that she and the choreographer had officially put a label on their relationship, telling listeners, “We’re boyfriend and girlfriend!”
Us Weekly has reached out to reps for Chigvintsev, Bella and ABC for comment.
Dancing With the Stars premieres on ABC Monday, September 16, at 8 p.m. ET.