Gleb Savchenko Breaks His Silence After Elena Samodanova Files For Divorce: 'I Have Never Cheated' (Exclusive)
Dancing With the Stars pro Gleb Savchenko is speaking out in his first interview since his highly publicized split from wife Elena Samodanova.
ET's Lauren Zima exclusively spoke with the 37-year-old dancer over the phone on Tuesday, just a few hours after news broke that Elena filed for divorce in Los Angeles. The two have been married for 14 years and share two children together, daughters Olivia, 10, and Zlata, 3.
The filing came a month after Elena publicly announced via Instagram that they were calling it quits, accusing Gleb of multiple affairs during their marriage. Since then, Elena has frequently been going live on Instagram and discussing what she says went wrong. She's accused Gleb of everything from cheating to leaving her with no income and even having a falling out with one of his longtime friends on the dance competition show.
Now, Gleb is shutting down those accusations and sharing his side of the story, only with ET. His most adamant points: Gleb says he has never cheated on Elena, claims that she was "mentally abusive" to him in their marriage, and says it was actually Elena who was unfaithful.
The professional dancer, who's originally from Moscow, Russia, says that he and Elena have actually been separated for some time, and haven't lived together since July, three months before news of their split went public. Gleb says that when the latest season of DWTS began, he moved into one of the apartments the show provided.
"We lived in a house before that. We moved out because we decided to separate," Gleb says. "I moved out right before this season. But before that, when I was on tour and before COVID-19 started at the beginning of March, it was already a different, very weird vibe."
Gleb says that everything seemed off in early 2020, when he felt like Elena was "constantly" lying to him about her whereabouts.
"I saw her on cameras around the house. She would pull out, park her car in front of the house, completely change, put on heels and leave," he claims. "She would tell me that she would go to the studio to work, and then show up at [the house] at 4 a.m. completely drunk, and wake up my daughter from trying to open the door."
Gleb says that the new photos that have surfaced of Elena locking lips with former DWTS troupe member Vlad Kvartin in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, earlier this week solidified his longtime suspicions that Elena wasn't being faithful. Gleb says he had "a gut feeling" something was already going on between the two a long time ago. Kvartin -- who has competed on So You Think You Can Dance and as a pro on the Russian version of DWTS, which Elena judges -- has been close with the family for years. He has even taught classes at Pro Dance LA -- the dance studio Gleb and Elena opened together in July 2018 in celebration of their 12-year wedding anniversary -- and has worked with Gleb and Elena's daughters.
"It got to the point where she constantly lied to me, so when I came back from tour I was like, 'Elena, like, what's going on?'" Gleb alleges. "I had a feeling that something was going on with Vlad, because there was another situation with Dancing With the Stars Russia. When they approached me to be a pro, she said, 'Because you're on tour and you can't make the first two weeks, I'll ask Vlad to go there. I'll go with him and he'll step in for you, prep, then you start the show.'"
Gleb claims that the show's producers then called him in March and said, "Listen, we actually decided not to take you. You're too expensive for us, so we're gonna go with Vlad. And because Elena suggested it, and she says he's as good as you are.'"
"I was like, 'Really? So you literally took a gig from our family and gave it to somebody else?' They spent, like, two weeks in Russia, she helped him choreograph the show, he got eliminated, and then they both came back [to Los Angeles]," Gleb claims. "That was the moment where I was like, 'Listen, I think us, like we don't really work, let's figure something out.' Because it was lockdown and we couldn't get out of the house. So we decided in July that we were going to move."
"We've had problems for years. I was in a mentally abusive, jealous relationship," he alleges. "I always said to myself, 'Listen, she's the mother of your kids, and you love her, just make it work for your kids.'"
Gleb feels that Elena's jealousy stems from all of the success he's had from competing as a pro on the U.S. version of DWTS. Prior to him joining the show, the two danced and competed together in ballroom competitions all over the globe.
"When we auditioned for Dancing With the Stars in 2013, I got the show and she didn't. She still to this day blames me, says it's my fault," Gleb alleges. "So there's still that jealousy. She always wanted to be on every single red carpet with me, always wanted to do every single interview."
"Then, finally this year on the show, when I lived separately, I did not ask her to help with choreography or anything else," he continues. "Every single season she would claim that she choreographed all my numbers and everything, and I would be like, 'OK, fine. I'll give it to her.' I kind of always played that game for her to make her feel better, because she was my better half, as everybody likes to say. But it wasn't true. I always did all of the job."
As fans of the dance competition can recall, rumors started swirling this past season that Gleb was romantically involved with his celeb partner, Chrishell Stause, which both of them denied. He claims that Elena was one of the people trying to start those false rumors, telling ET that it was actually her idea to send the Selling Sunset star flowers at one point, a move that stirred chatter on social media. Gleb bought the gift as a way to patch up his working relationship with Chrishell, after he was admittedly way too hard on her for the way she performed her Foxtrot.
"Chrishell cried for the next two days," Gleb recalls. "Elena and I were still talking [at the time]. She messaged me and said, 'You should get her flowers. Make it work. Be nice.' I said, 'Elena, that's not gonna come across as nice.' She was like, 'Do it on camera.'"
Fans of course later learned that it was actually fellow pro Keo Motsepe who Chrishell was quietly dating behind the scenes before going Instagram official earlier this month. Gleb alleges that Elena was "trying to think of something" as a way to paint him in a bad light.
"The thing is, I've never actually cheated on her. Never, ever, ever. This whole thing, it was her trying to set it up," Gleb alleges. "All of those partners that I danced with, it might have looked on TV like [it was something more], but it never was the case."
Gleb claims he tried for some time to make things work with Elena (buying her gifts, hiring a nanny to help her at home, and more), but says the final straw for pulling the plug on their marriage was when he looked back at himself and just "felt miserable."
"I felt down, I lost confidence," he admitted. " I felt like, 'This is it.' Either I'm gonna be really, really depressed, and I just have to own my inner b***h, or just say, 'F**k it. Stop.'"
Gleb says he wants nothing more than to be in a mature, healthy co-parenting situation with Elena.
"Elena told me, 'After this divorce, I'm gonna skin you. I'm gonna take everything you have, even your kids, and make you walk back to Russia where you come from.' Those were her exact words," Gleb claims. "She wants me to lose my job. She wants me to lose everything, because she's just very jealous and she cannot stand the fact that I finally found the inner strength to say, 'Enough.'"
Gleb says he has received tremendous support from his fellow pros and DWTS family throughout this difficult time, including Artem Chigvintsev, whom Elena claimed he had a falling out with over the split. When a fan asked Elena during an Instagram Live earlier this month if Gleb and Artem were still close, she alleged that Gleb and Artem (who is engaged to Nikki Bella) were no longer on the same page with life. Gleb refutes this outright.
"I've known Artem for a very long time. We're, like, best, best, best friends," Gleb explains. "I've spoken with Artem and he was very supportive. He was like, 'Dude, I know, this is what it is.' He's seen our vibes for so many years, literally since we were married. He's seen all of it, and he has always been on my side."
"I have also received so many messages from Lindsay [Arnold], Witney [Carson], Jana [Kramer], Peta [Murgatroyd] and Keo, my best friend, obviously supports me," he continues.
When he doesn't have time with his daughters, Gleb has been trying to unwind from the stress of the split; he was recently spotted vacationing with Keo, Chrishell and Cassie Scerbo in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Gleb was photographed getting cozy with Cassie, and says the two have a budding friendship. As for Keo and Chrishell, he says he's "really, really happy" for them: "It's a really pure and genuine relationship, a boyfriend-girlfriend situation that's happening."
Gleb's priority right now is spending the holidays with his girls. "I want to take them for a holiday in January," he shares. "Olivia dances, Zlata dances, we're all hanging out, we're cooking dinners together, I love that."
As for those Kvartin kissing pics, when a fan asked Elena about them during her latest Instagram Live on Tuesday, she stated that she was simply in Cabo "with friends" and doesn't "have to explain it." She also expressed what she is looking most forward to in the new year.
"[The] future is the future and the past is the past…you can only make your future better and that is my resolution for 2021," she said. "Make your loved ones be happy and you have to treat people like you want to be treated and stay positive. What happened in the past, stays in the past."
Gleb tells ET that he was looking after his daughters while Elena was in Cabo San Lucas, and was not made aware of the nature of her trip. He says his goal is to co-parent their children in a 50/50 custody situation.
"It's been very difficult for me," he says. "But I just want to do my best, and enjoy life. [My daughters] are the most important thing for me."
Regarding all aforementioned accusations made by Gleb, a rep for Elena released the following statement to ET:
"Elena has been busy launching their shared dance studio over the last several years and raising their daughters. It's no secret that Gleb has had affairs with former dance partners -- and who knows who else. Playing the victim is gross negligence on his part and he should perhaps watch what he says before Elena decides to meet him at his level and release everyone’s names."
ET has also learned that Elena has been traveling with a small team of dancers and teachers, and is currently in Cabo for work to look at potential hires for next year’s 2021 tour of "Day of Dancing."
In regard to the new statement from Elena's rep, Gleb's rep released an additional statement to ET.
"Gleb has been just as involved in launching their shared dance studio and raising their daughters as Elena," the statement reads. "He won't be intimidated by Elena's threats and is disappointed by the betrayal of Vlad, a friend and employee. However, for the sake of their daughters, would prefer to keep everything as amicable as possible under the circumstances."
Hear more in the video below.
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