Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd: A Love Story Made for the Dance Floor
Couples who dance together, stay together. Though Peta Murgatroyd and Maksim Chmerkovskiy are best known as professional dancers on ABC's hit reality competition, Dancing With the Stars, their love story began on a different stage entirely -- Broadway.
The couple began as close friends over a decade ago while performing together in New York, and they remained friends for years before things turned romantic while behind the scenes at DWTS.
Chmerkovskiy and Murgatroyd's romance quickly became a fan favorite on the ballroom floor and off. They performed together for over five years at DWTS and launched a touring production of their own in 2018 while remaining key figures of the DWTS community.
ET takes a look at their love story below.
July 2009: Chmerkovskiy and Murgatroyd meet
Before their time together on DWTS, Murgatroyd and Chmerkovskiy both worked as dancers on the Broadway production Burn the Floor, a live dance show inspired by a performance at Elton John's 50th birthday party.
Chmerkovskiy, originally from Ukraine, had already been in the U.S. for a number of years and joined the show in between seasons on DWTS. Murgatroyd, a native of New Zealand and Australia, had joined the international production of Burn the Floor in 2004 -- its Broadway debut was one of her first gigs in America.
Though the two became friends offstage, things stopped there.
"We have very different versions of how this went down," Murgatroyd told ET of their first meeting. "He was nice, but he was Maks, he came in like a bull in a china shop."
Chmerkovskiy, present for the interview, saw their introduction a bit differently.
"I was kind of offended. I thought she thought I was not a nice person," he said, noting that he was stubborn in his pursuit. "I won her over," he added.
But the couple's friendship shaped the direction of their lives long before it turned romantic. "It wasn't love at first sight or anything," Murgatroyd told ET. "We were strictly platonic friends and our friendship grew to the point where he actually offered me my first visa to stay in the country, as a friend."
Chmerkovskiy laughed at the memory, recalling the fact that he didn't actually know how to help her. "I didn't know what I was saying," he said, but he called colleagues at DWTS in an effort to figure it out and prevent her from leaving.
May 2011: Murgatroyd joins Chmerkovskiy at DWTS
Though Chmerkovskiy joined the DWTS cast in 2006 Murgatroyd didn't land a spot on the hit reality show until 2011. She joined as a troupe member in season 12 but was quickly promoted to the professional cast the following season.
At the time, Chmerkovskiy was engaged to fellow DTWS pro Karina Smirnoff, and Murgatroyd was dating her future DWTS co-star, Damian Whitewood.
"There was always an attraction," Murgatroyd said of her and Chmerkovskiy in 2017, but "there was nothing ever done about it."
June 2012: Chmerkovskiy and Murgatroyd confirm their relationship
Chmerkovskiy and Murgatroyd both ended their respective relationships over the next year, and slowly grew closer to each other as they adapted to each being single.
The two bonded by going on "friendship dates," Murgatroyd told People in 2017. Then, just over a year after their DWTS reunion, Murgatroyd confirmed their romance to the public by posting a photo of Chmerkovskiy kissing her cheek.
"@MaksimC hate goodbyes :(" she captioned the post, now over a decade old.
November 2013: Chmerkovskiy and Murgatroyd take a break
Chmerkovskiy and Murgatroyd dated for about a year before things abruptly hit a bump in the road. As Murgatroyd recounted to People, Chmerkovskiy called things off "out of nowhere."
"My heart was broken," she added. "But when we were driving to the airport after the breakup talk, he literally asked me why I was taking all my bags and clothes back. I was like, 'We just broke up. Why would I leave anything behind?' That's when I knew it wasn't really over for forever."
Chmerkovskiy also knew the break wasn't for good. "I realized right away that I'd made a mistake," he said. "So I would take every opportunity to hover around."
October 2014: Chmerkovskiy and Murgatroyd rekindle their romance
Chmerkovskiy and Murgatroyd both ventured into the dating pool during their time apart, but found their way back to each other less than a year after their initial breakup.
"They've never really 'broken up,'" a source told People in 2015. "They're with each other a lot and have been for quite some time."
Chmerkovskiy later told ET that he only ever had his sights set on Murgatroyd. "I always knew it was gonna be her," he said in 2023.
"I felt safe with him," Murgatroyd said during the same interview. "I felt like he was always honest with me... I always felt safe, secure and just somebody that I can rely on constantly."
April 2015: Chmerkovskiy and Murgatroyd confirm their reunion
Chmerkovskiy and Murgatroyd dated quietly for a while before publicly confirming their reconciliation on Instagram in April 2015.
"Straight up cheesin..." Murgatroyd captioned a photo of the couple posed cheek to cheek for DWTS' 10th anniversary.
December 2015: Chmerkovskiy and Murgatroyd get engaged!
Less than a year after the couple reconciled, Chmerkovskiy and Murgatroyd announced their engagement in December 2015. Chmerkovskiy opted for a public proposal, in front of the audience during a performance of his Sway: A Dance Trilogy show in Miami.
The show, starring Chmerkovskiy and his brother, Val, along with their fellow DWTS co-star, Tony Dovolani, also featured Murgatroyd and several other DWTS and So You Think You Can Dance stars.
"I'm in love with you, and I will be in love with you for the rest of my life," Chmerkovskiy told Murgatroyd after a performance.
Chmerkovskiy celebrated the happy moment in an Instagram post later that night. "She said 'yes,'" he wrote.
January 2017: Chmerkovskiy and Murgatroyd welcome their new baby
Murgatroyd and Chmerkovskiy announced the arrival of their first child, son Shai Alexander, on Jan. 4, 2017. In the months leading up to Shai's delivery, Murgatroyd shared a series of maternity photos celebrating her pregnancy. Two weeks after giving birth, she opened up about returning to the gym.
"Love thy self ❤ #Day17 postpartum. I think I'm doing OK," she wrote on Jan. 21, 2017. "I'm actually fine with the rate at which my body is shrinking back. After two days back at the gym I'm feeling like the old Peta again. I definitely don't have my 6 pack, and I still have excess skin and rolls on my belly, however I feel good. After all, slow and steady wins the race!"
July 2017: Chmerkovskiy and Murgatroyd tie the knot
After a year-and-a-half engagement, Chmerkovskiy and Murgatroyd got married at City Hall and later celebrated with a ceremony and reception at Oheka Castle in Long Island, New York, on July 8, 2017.
Murgatroyd wore a tiered ball gown, off-the-shoulder straps, and hair in an elegant bun. She and Chmerkovskiy filled their wedding with fellow DWTS stars, including Chmerkovskiy's brother and best man, Valentin Chmerkovskiy, along with Sharna Burgess, Tony Dovolani, and Jenna Johnson. Nicole Volynets Gamer served as Murgatroyd's maid of honor.
“I didn’t want a stark white dress,” Murgatroyd told People of her wedding planning. "I just love the old-fashioned feel of the ivory. Especially against the castle, I didn’t want stark white. I think it’s more sleek, in a way."
Chmerkovskiy wore a white jacket and tie with black pants.
Though famous for their moves onstage, the couple's first dance was unchoreographed and simple. When they were done, however, Chmerkovskiy serenaded his new wife while his friends performed choreography behind him.
March 2018: Chmerkovskiy and Murgatroyd on tour!
Officially husband and wife, Murgatroyd and Chmerkovskiy embarked on a tour with Chmerkovskiy's brother, Val, in 2018. Maks, Val and Peta Live on Tour stopped in 49 cities.
October 2019: Murgatroyd becomes a U.S. citizen
Murgatroyd, originally from New Zealand, passed her citizenship exam for the United States in 2019.
"I love the life I created, but it wouldn't be possible without the United States giving me the chance to succeed and live in the best country in the world, where dreams really do come true," Murgatroyd wrote on Instagram at the time. "This country gave me my career, it's where I found the love of my life, and it's where my first child was born. This will always be home now."
April 2020: Chmerkovskiy and Murgatroyd quarantine together
At the beginning of the COVID pandemic, Chmerkovskiy and Murgatroyd quarantined with then 3-year-old Shai. To pass the time, the couple hosted workout classes on Instagram together.
February 2022: Chmerkovskiy experiences Russian invasion of Ukraine
Chmerkovskiy was in Ukraine at the time of the initial Russian invasion in early 2022, there to judge an upcoming season of the country's World of Dance. In February, he posted an update from the capital, Kyiv.
"This is definitely not the time where I would normally be posting anything on social media," he told viewers in a video filmed from a balcony as sirens sounded and military vehicles drove by below him.
He fought back tears as he added, "I want to go back home and I realize that I have the way to. I realize that I have a different passport and my family is far away."
Murgatroyd later shared that she suffered a miscarriage while her husband remained overseas.
March 2022: Chmerkovskiy leaves Ukraine, reunites with family in the U.S.
Chmerkovskiy returned to Los Angeles in early March, where he reunited with Murgatroyd at LAX airport. Before heading home from the airport, Chmerkovskiy spoke with ET.
"I just don't want to resent peace somewhere else because of what I just saw, that's the reality," he said. "I don't know really what to say right this second."
Later in March, he briefly returned to Europe in support of his family's charitable organization, Baranova 27, named for the address that he was born at in the Ukrainian city of Odesa.
June 2022: Murgatroyd opens up about IVF journey
Several months after reuniting, Murgatroyd got candid about the couple's struggle for a second baby. In June, she opened up on Instagram about beginning the first round of IVF treatments.
"It's done! Guys, I know there's no promises, I know that this is a risk, a gamble, we don't know what's gonna happen, but I think this is the most excited I've been in a very long time. I just pray that these medications don't make me crazy," she noted.
The following month, she told ET they were nearing the end of the process. "It's going really well," Murgatroyd said. "We're very excited. We're kind of in the last stages of it. There should be -- fingers crossed -- a pregnancy pretty soon."
August 2022: Murgatroyd reveals IVF did not work
Around three months after initially opening up about the fertility treatments, Murgatroyd shared that the IVF transfer did not work. She posted a long reflection about the process to Instagram.
"Transfer Day Part 2," she wrote. "I promised you all that I would be open and honest. I had times where I was unsure of that decision throughout my IVF journey and even more so after we got the news that our transfer did not work. But going back on my word after being such an open book wouldn't be right."
September 2022: Murgatroyd returns to Dancing With the Stars
After a short hiatus from the show, Murgatroyd returned as a pro dancer in season 31. She was paired with Sex and the City actor Jason Lewis, and was eliminated in the first week of competition.
Chmerkovskiy has not returned to DWTS since his 2017 partnership with Vanessa Lachey, and has said he does not intend to come out of retirement.
January 2023: Murgatroyd announces she's pregnant
Before Murgatroyd started her second round of IVF, she discovered that she'd gotten pregnant naturally.
"It brings me immense joy to finally announce that @maksimc and I are expecting our Chmerkovskiy #2," Murgatroyd wrote on Instagram alongside pics showing off her baby bump. "After 2 years of constant struggle and heartache, 3 miscarriages and a failed embryo transfer…we have a healthy bun in the oven."
"I want to thank ALL OF YOU who've been on this fertility journey with me from the beginning. It feels like I'm sharing this news with my extended family," she added. "Thank you for sharing your stories and tips to get me through my IVF cycle and thank you for the plethora of encouraging comments and DMs …I read them all. This news has brought extraordinary bliss to our family and we have so much to be grateful for."
Murgatroyd concluded her post by revealing that her second child is due in June 2023.
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