“He hasn’t seen his family in almost five years and I think that’s also why him getting cut on this season of Dancing With the Stars was really hard on me,” Bella, 35, told Us Weekly exclusively at the USA Today Wine & Food Experience in Brooklyn on Saturday, September 7. “No one knew I was working on trying to get his parents here, because his parents have never seen him dance live for TV.”
Bella added, “His mom has seen him dance once on a live show that was on tour but they’ve never seen him dance live for television.”
The former WWE star explained to Us that she wanted to “surprise” Chigvintsev during season 28’s live finale by having his parents in attendance. “He’s a Mama’s boy. Like, he FaceTimes them a few days a week, and they’re so close,” she said.
“It’s hard on him,” she said of the 37-year-old Russian-born dancer. “So I would like to learn a really amazing Russian dish and cook it for Artem to bring that home to him.”
Chigvintsev became a series regular on DWTS in season 19, landing in sixth place with his celebrity partner, Lea Thompson. Mischa Barton, Nancy Kerrigan and Patti LaBelle were among some of his other famous dance partners.
The Strictly Come Dancing alum was paired with his now-girlfriend, Bella, in season 25 of the competition series. Though they competed together in 2017, Bella, who was previously engaged to John Cena, and Chigvintsev confirmed their relationship in March.
“Firstly it’s always an honor creating for this show and the incredible talent but getting to do it with this guy was just 🙌🏻 ,” she wrote via Instagram on Monday, September 9. “@theartemc your talent and teaching skills are wonderful and next level. I say let’s do more of this☺️ maybe #redvelvet can be our choreography name 😉 (no shipping please loves, be respectful 💗).”
Season 28 of Dancing With the Stars premieres on ABC Monday, September 16, at 8 p.m. ET. Season 16 of So You Think You Can Dance airs on Fox Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Nicki Gostin