Val first appeared on the reality show during season 2 in 2006, but it wasn’t until season 13, which aired in 2011, that he competed with a partner. The Ukraine native took home his first mirrorball trophy in 2015 alongside season 20 partner Rumer Willis.
Maks, for his part, became a pro during season 2 of the hit series and went on to win one mirrorball when partnered with Olympic ice skater Meryl Davis for season 18 in 2014. He retired from the series in 2017 following season 25.
Val, meanwhile, took a brief break from the show during season 26 in 2018, but has since appeared on every ABC and now Disney+ season. The dance studio co-owner made it clear in July 2021 that his role as a DWTS pro was the right fit for him at the moment — and not a judge or host like brother Maks previously revealed he’d consider.
“Would I kill it as a host? Absolutely,” Val exclusively told Us Weekly of a possible shift in title. “Not that I don’t have those ambitions, but I am very much content with continuing to dance and to perform on Dancing With the Stars, continue to teach. I just want a good partner.”
Later that year, Val gave fans a scare when he hinted that season 30, which aired in fall 2021, could be his last.
“There’s no burned bridges, there’s nothing but gratitude, again, with the production, with the show,” he told Entertainment Tonight when asked whether he was walking away. “I hope I’ve served the show and this show has definitely changed my life, so it’s [mutual] love and we’ll see what happens in the future.”
“I don’t think anyone ever imagined that a show about celebrities partnering up with mostly Russian and Mormon ballroom dancers would be a huge hit but it is. For some reason, maybe two people coming together and moving as one, it’s something that’s powerful beyond the dance floor and that’s really what I want to champion,” he explained. “So that’s what I’m doing. That’s what I’m going to do in many different ways — whether it’s writing a script about it, whether it’s going and teaching at our studios, whether it’s going on convention [tours] and teaching kids around the country, I’m just going to continue to preach the gospel of dance.”
Val surprised viewers when he returned for season 31 of the series, which premiered in fall 2022.
“I know that Val is definitely excited to come back for another season and I think that he’s in the best shape of his life right now,” Johnson exclusively told Us in June 2022, teasing her husband’s comeback. “I’m not sure what happened to him [this year], but he is snatched.”
In November 2022, Val told Us that he has “no plans of not being back next season,” after the season 31 finale.
Scroll down to see some of Val’s best quotes about his time on Dancing With the Stars: