EXCLUSIVE: 'Dancing With the Stars' Pro Lindsay Arnold Talks Married Life, Broadway and Bonding With Calvin Jo
By Desiree Murphy
Lindsay Arnold is beyond "excited" to be paired up with Calvin Johnson.
Ahead of Monday's Dancing With the Stars season 23 premiere, ET caught up with the 22-year-old dancer, where she spilled on how she and the former NFL star have been bonding both in and out of rehearsals.
"He's a really, really down-to-earth guy, and I actually am a football fan," Arnold shared. "My dad played football in college, and my husband [Sam Cusick] played football, so it was exciting for me to get someone that played football because I'm like, 'Oh, I actually know a little about this!'"
"But I've learned that I still don't know enough," she joked. "Because Calvin will say things and I'm like, 'What?' Or I'll say something and he'll be like, 'Lindsay, that's completely wrong. You know that, right?'"
During breaks from their intense dance sessions, the two have also discovered they share the same go-to snack.
"We have been eating a lot of beef jerky, which is really odd, I don't know why," Arnold revealed. "We'll go to the grocery store and we'll find ourselves both getting beef jerky. We don't eat the healthiest snacks but we're burning it, so it's fine."
Even though they've only known each other for a few weeks, Arnold and Johnson have already bonded outside of Dancing With the Stars rehearsals. Arnold told ET that Johnson said "I do" to his wife, Brittney (aka "Mrs. Megatron"), back in June, around the same time Arnold and her husband celebrated their one-year wedding anniversary.
"Me and Sam got married last June, so we're like, 'Oh my gosh, we're both in June!'" she shared. "Our wedding dates were like a week apart, so we have that in common, which has been really fun."
"While we were rehearsing in Detroit," she continued, "my husband actually came out and we got to do barbecues with Calvin and his wife. It was fun to hang out with them and get to know them a little better."
As for life at home with Cusick, Arnold told ET she couldn't be happier. "It is amazing," she gushed. "We dated for four years before we got married, and I was like, 'Oh, marriage isn't going to be that different, it's just going to be like an extension.'"
"But it is crazy how much it changes," she added. "It really solidifies the relationship. There's a whole new level of trust and love. I absolutely love it! It's nice that he gets to live with me in L.A. now, and we get to share all of these things together."
Arnold also teased that she and Cusick "definitely want kids," but it will be awhile before they welcome a little bundle of joy to their family.
"Right now, we are not ready," she said. "We would like to wait. We both want to do everything that we want to do, so that when we have children, we can really be there for them. We're still enjoying just being newlyweds right now."
Arnold and Johnson are kicking off their first week on the DWTS stage with the cha-cha, but the blond beauty told ET she's most excited to see the former Detroit Lines wide receiver impress the judges with a different style.
"We practiced a little bit of jive together and he LOVED it!" she exclaimed. "He was having so much fun, and loved how fast it was, which is so funny, because most people are like, 'Oh, it's fast? I don't want to do it.' He was like, 'I love it, it's so fun.'"
And although Arnold assured us Johnson is going to "surprise a lot of people" on Monday, Sept. 12, when the show premieres at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, she does have one worry -- their height difference.
"It's definitely not easy, it's a challenge, but we'll make it work," she explained. "In order for him to reach me, it's almost like he'll have to drop his elbows a little bit. So I'm already looking into 4.5 inch ballroom heels, trying to find those and see if those are a real thing. If they are, I'm definitely going to wear those."
Earlier this month, ET confirmed that Arnold's fellow DWTS pro, Mark Ballas, would not be returning for season 23, as he's starring as Frankie Valli in Broadway's Jersey Boys.
"I was so happy for him. I feel like Mark really is going to thrive in this," Arnold said of her reaction upon hearing the news. "People that watch the show probably don't know this, but he is an incredible singer and if you listen to his music, he has an amazing voice. He plays a mean guitar. I think he's going to do very well."
Arnold told ET that like Ballas (and Derek Hough, who's set to star in Broadway's Singin' in the Rain), she could "definitely" see herself going that route, or doing a live musical, like DWTS judge Julianne Hough did with Grease: Live.
"I would love to do that, I've always been interested in Broadway," she exclaimed. "I love singing, I don't do it very often, but I love it. I think that would definitely be the next step for me, because my whole career I've done So You Think You Can Dance, and then straight to Dancing With the Stars. I've been very busy and lucky to have a job this entire time, but I'm definitely open to doing all of that stuff. I want to try new things and see what happens."
Read more from ET's exclusive interview with Arnold HERE.