'Dancing With the Stars' Married Pros on What It's Like Living Apart This Season (Exclusive)

Val Chmerkovskiy and Jenna Johnson
Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

Dancing With the Stars is making sure the show still goes on, even amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to daily health check-ins, weekly COVID-19 testing and keeping everyone at least eight feet apart in the ballroom, producers are also having the married pros -- Emma Slater and Sasha Farber, Jenna Johnson and Val Chmerkovskiy, and Daniella Karagach and Pasha Pashkov -- quarantine separately throughout the duration of this season. ET spoke with the couples following Monday's premiere, where they shared how they're really feeling about living apart the next few months.

Johnson seemed to be the most honest with her answer, telling ET, "I hate it!"

"I understand why, I understand for the safety precautions, but I am very, very needy when it comes to my Val time," she explained. "It is very hard. I just want to, like, touch him, hug him and cuddle with him. I want to spoon, that's all I want to do."

Chmerkovskiy echoed his wife's sentiments, admitting that the time apart has "been very tough."

"Of course I miss her, but I welcome challenges," he shared. "Nothing this year has been easy, so it's a small price to pay for an amazing opportunity to be on the show, to entertain the world and keep everybody safe. As long as it keeps everyone safe, I'll deal with FaceTime for now."

'It's tough, obviously, but it's nice to have the whole bed to yourself too," he joked. "Not wake up with, you know, spray tan on your face. So, yeah, it's been great."

Meanwhile, Slater told ET that she and Farber have been taking the safety protocols "really seriously."

"We're being really good about it. I have my days, if it's been a particularly long day, I'll call him. I'll be like, 'Babe, I just miss you,'" she shared. "But then there are the days where he's like, 'Do you miss me at all?' And I'm like, 'Yeah, I miss you, but I've got a great apartment, my view is beautiful."

"Oh, she said that?!" Farber joked, when we told him Slater's response. "Well, it's been a breeze, then. It's like a holiday. But no, we Facetime every day, I miss her. It's just hard, I guess, but you gotta abide by all the rules and you gotta do what you gotta do."

As for Karagach? While she, of course, misses Pashkov, she's just beyond excited to be dancing with a celebrity contestant this season, and someone who was her celebrity crush. The pro dancer is paired with rapper Nelly, and the two pulled out all the stops with their Salsa to his own hit, "Ride Wit Me," Monday night.

"This is the thing. Nelly was on every playlist that I own, like, to this day, you can check my phone," she raved. "I have one of his playlists right on my top charts. As a first-time pro, I'm just so lucky and honored to have someone so huge, because he is one of the biggest celebrities that has been on the show."

While Karagach joked that her husband is "probably" a little jealous, Nelly said that he's looking to Pashkov (who's paired with Carole Baskin this season) for inspiration.

"Are you kidding me? I'm trying to fill his shoes, man," the rapper said. "Pasha's dope. Man, he's got the moves. I'm trying to emulate Pash."

For more on why the couples are living apart this season, tune into Entertainment Tonight on Tuesday.


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