Making changes! Dancing With the Stars has found plenty of success since its debut in 2005. Since then, the ABC dancing competition has had many newcomers and has said goodbye to many OGs.
Julianne Hough, who competed from season 4 to season 8, announced that she was leaving in 2009 to pursue other interests. Hough went on to kickstart her career as an actress in films such as Safe Haven, Burlesque, Rock of Ages and Footloose.
The Utah native later returned as a judge from season 19 until 24 and has previously said that she has never ruled out a potential return.
“Look, never say never because you never know what one day will be from the next,” Hough told Us Weekly in August 2019. “But I owe my career to that show! I was 18 and they brought me back in two different ways. I was a dancer, I was a judge and I’m so happy for everything that’s going on there.”
Another standout was Keo Motsepe who was the first Black professional dancer on the show when he joined for season 19. Motsepe stayed on the show until 2021, when he announced that he wouldn’t be returning for the upcoming season.
“While it’s disappointing to not be back for season 30, I’ve been honored to be on the last nine seasons of the show and look forward to returning in the future,” he told Us in September 2021. “There’s a great group this season and I wish all the dancers and the show the best of luck!”
At the time, a source told Us that it will be “heartbreaking” to the other professionals not to have Motsepe return for another chance to win the mirrorball trophy.
“Keo loves being a pro and being part of DWTS, but also feels this opens the door for him to expand into other things he’s been working toward,” the insider noted.
Lindsay Arnold, who was returning to DWTS for season 30, also reflected on the Burn the Floor alum’s absence.
“It’s always so hard because we truly are a family and we love each other so much,” Arnold told Entertainment Tonight after the announcement. “I actually just texted Keo this morning just saying that I love him, I hope I get to see him soon and I hope he’s doing well.”
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Scroll down to see all the DWTS pros that didn’t return over the years: