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Val Chmerkovskiy Says It’s ‘Challenging’ for Him and Wife Jenna Johnson to Both Return to ‘DWTS’ (Exclusive)

Val Chmerkovskiy and Jenna Johnson found love in the Dancing With the Stars ballroom, but competing against each other has its challenges.

“We support each other, but we kind of vent to one another as well. So, it could be challenging,” Val, 37, exclusively told Us Weekly on Wednesday, September 13, of Jenna, 29. “It’s like you are living the stress of two couples because, obviously, we could have a great night and I’ll be very happy, but if she and [Tyson] have a bad night, it’s going to be a tough position to be celebrating in.”

The DWTS season 32 cast was announced on Wednesday. Val is paired up with Marvel actress Xochitl Gomez, while Jenna will perform with model Tyson Beckford.

Val is hoping for a repeat trip to the finale — he finished in second place with former Bachelorette Gabby Windey on season 31 last year — and Jenna is coming back to the show after maternity leave. She announced her pregnancy in July 2022, giving birth to the couple’s son, Rome, in January.

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While Val previously teased to Us in May that Jenna was itching to return for season 32, they are trying to foster a work-life balance.

“[Parenting is] our common ground and we’ve talked about being better this season [with] leaving work at work and making sure that when we get home, we are focused on our boy and just our life,” Val said on Wednesday, gushing that Rome is hitting big milestones. “He’s sitting up. That’s a huge deal [because he’s able to] hold that big head up.”

Val Chmerkovskiy on Challenges of His Jenna Johnson DWTS Return
Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

According to Val, Rome has already started to follow in his parents’ dancing footsteps. “We have this [bouncer] where he jumps in it, so we put on music [and] he loves to see us dance,” he told Us. “He glows when we’re moving around. These little things have been so fun, so precious.”

Val is also enthusiastic about teaching Xochitl, 17, how to dance. “I was excited that she does all these stunts,” he noted, referring to her role as America Chavez in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. “I was like, ‘OK, she is familiar with physicality,’ so I was excited about it.”

Val Chmerkovskiy on Challenges of His Jenna Johnson DWTS Return
Val Chmerkovskiy and Xochitl Gomez on “Dancing With The Stars” ABC/Andrew Eccles

The choreographer has already found that Xochitl “works hard” in the rehearsal studio, telling Us that his partner is “very disciplined” in her training.

“I’m having a blast!” Xochitl chimed in when asked what it is like learning from the two-time mirrorball champ. “[Rehearsals have] been really fun. I’ve really liked kind of doing the work and then earning something out of it.”

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She continued: “I mean, I found him to be a good teacher, exactly what a teacher should be.”

DWTS premieres on ABC and Disney+ on Tuesday, September 26, at 8 p.m. ET.

With reporting by Christina Garibaldi

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