The Biggest Feuds On Dancing With The Stars

"Dancing With the Stars" first debuted in June 2005 with a very small cast as a way to test interest. Turns out, the idea of teaching a group of celebrities how to ballroom dance was, in fact, popular — and it still is. With more than 30 seasons on the air, the show continues to score high ratings and provide plenty of fodder for viewers, even when it's not on television. Fans seem to enjoy keeping an eye on who keeps in touch after a given season wraps, what the Mirrorball Trophy winners go on to do in their careers, and which new celebs seem to be hinting at an upcoming stint on the show. Oh, and we can't forget about the babies! For many, it's a joy to see a new baby welcomed into the extended "DWTS" family.

All of that said, the dance competition program is responsible for people falling in love, like "Shark Tank" star Robert Herjavec and his now wife, former "Dancing With the Stars" ballroom pro Kym Johnson, as well as long-lasting friendships, like the one between professional dancer Alan Bersten and his season 30 partner, actor Amanda Kloots. But we can't deny that there have also been quite a few feuds, too. Whether it be a star and a pro not seeing eye-to-eye or criticism from one of the judges that rubbed a contestant the wrong way, there had been plenty of bad blood in and out of the ballroom. Let's take a look at some of the biggest feuds in "Dancing With the Stars" history, shall we?

Julianne Hough & Amber Rose

Before Julianne Hough was the co-host on "Dancing With the Stars," she was a pro in the ballroom with two Mirrorball Trophies under her belt. She left the show after Season 8 to pursue some other interests, but returned for a few seasons as a judge. It was during this time that she made some comments to Season 23 contestant Amber Rose that didn't go over too well. Rose and her pro partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, danced a salsa to the song "Booty" by Jennifer Lopez (feat. Iggy Azalea). When it came time for the judges to give their feedback, Hough told Rose a part of the dance made her feel "uncomfortable," according to EW. On an episode of her now-defunct show called "Loveline," Rose admitted that the comment didn't sit right with her. "I did feel body shamed," she said, according to People

Rose went on to express how it seemed she was singled out because of her body shape and how other dancers do the same moves and are praised. Fortunately, Rose and Hough were able to talk through things, and Hough apologized to Rose. "Rosebuds! @juliannehough did apologize to me for the way her comment came off. The crowd was clapping loud at the time #GirlPower," the model tweeted the following week.

Sharna Burgess & Jesse Metcalfe

Perhaps one of the best-kept secret feuds on the show has only recently come to light. Pro Sharna Burgess was partnered with "Desperate Housewives" actor Jesse Metcalfe on Season 29, and many fans thought the pairing was sure to be a match. However, Burgess and Metcalfe were eliminated fourth after failing to impress the audience. In September 2023, Burgess spoke a bit about that partnership on an episode of her "Old-ish" podcast, though she didn't mention Metcalfe by name. "I wasn't able to be in the room alone with him after the first couple of weeks because of things that happened. And so that was rocky, and we were eliminated very quickly," Burgess said without getting specific. A rep for Metcalfe called Burgess "unprofessional" in a statement given to Page Six, adding that the two simply "didn't get along." 

And while many fans have been trying to figure out details, Burgess later clarified that whatever happened between her and Metcalfe was not sexual in nature. While chatting with Cheryl Burke on her "Sex, Lies, and Spray Tans" podcast, Burgess dove a little bit deeper. "That was a difficult situation for me. I went through the proper channels, and unfortunately I wasn't able to record everything, but I was able to record some things, and I did go to the proper people, and there were reports made, and I was taken care of," she said, still leaving things pretty vague. 

Artem Chigvintsev & Mischa Barton

On Season 22 of "Dancing With the Stars" actor Mischa Barton was paired with pro Artem Chigvintsev, which seemed to be a good match on the surface. However, the two were eliminated from the competition rather quickly, kissing their chance at the Mirrorball Trophy goodbye during week two. Eight months after her elimination from the show, Barton did an interview with The Ringer where she revealed her awful experience with Chigvintsev. "Ugh, I had no idea it would be so bad. I got told off by my dancer. I was supposed to control the costumes, I was told that I could do the design aspect of it, that's kind of the reason why I agreed to do it," Barton said, adding, "It was all a popularity contest. It was awful. I was so glad to get kicked off."

Months prior, Chigvintsev hinted that things were rough behind the scenes. In an interview with E! News, Chigvintsev admitted that he and Barton didn't get off to a good start. Meanwhile, the "O.C." star admitted "it had been a really intense first few weeks." What makes things more interesting is the fact that there were actually dating rumors surrounding Chigvintsev and Barton. However, a rep was quick to explain that the two were just friends, but even that sounds like a stretch given how Barton says she felt about the experience as a whole. 

Maks Chmerkovskiy & Vanessa Lachey

Maks Chmerkovskiy is a super passionate dancer and teacher, but his style didn't always jibe with his "Dancing With the Stars" partners. Perhaps the most notable feud to come out of the show was on season 25 when Chmerkovskiy was partnered with Vanessa Lachey (her husband, Nick Lachey, also competed during the same season). Things got so bad in rehearsals that Chmerkovskiy actually took a show night off, refusing to take the stage with Vanessa. "Maks is dealing with a personal issue so Alan [Bersten] is stepping in and dancing with Vanessa tonight," then co-host Erin Andrews said. Meanwhile, a source told People that there was a bit more to Chmerkovskiy's absence. "There's a big chemistry issue. They both have big personalities and that's not always the best recipe for a good partnership," the insider said.

Meanwhile, a source told E! News that Chmerkovskiy and Vanessa were having a hard time together. "Their personalities have completely clashed and they really don't get along off set," the source shared. The two were able to figure things out enough to get them through a few more weeks of the competition. That is until they were eliminated, finishing in 7th place. On the September 25, 2023, episode of Cheryl Burke's "Sex, Lies, and Spray Tans" podcast, Chmerkovskiy was asked a series of rapid-fire questions, and one required him to name a person on the show that he'd want to apologize to. His response? Vanessa Lachey. He didn't elaborate.

Carrie Ann Inaba & Kaitlyn Bristowe

Up next, we have another conflict between a judge and a contestant. On Season 29 of "Dancing With the Stars," Kaitlyn Bristowe felt that longtime judge Carrie Ann Inaba went a little too far in her criticisms — and Bristowe took it personally. "I'm a little torn right now... Can you do a back-tap on your own? I'm going to call that a lift," Inaba said following one of Bristowe's dances with her partner, Artem Chigvintsev. In an interview with ET, Chigvintsev admitted that even he felt that Inaba's criticisms missed the mark. "At this point it starts being a little personal," he said. Meanwhile, Bristowe explained her feelings on the matter. "I just want to know where it comes from. Is it from a place where you believe in us and you want us to do better?" she wondered. 

Inaba ended up feeling pushed around by fans who supported Bristowe. "Just so you all know, for all of you trying to bully me about it, I judge the way I judge from my background. That is my job to do it and I will always do it based on my own conscience, not because you're trying to tell me what to do," she said on an episode of "The Talk," according to E! News. Of course, fans know that Bristowe went on to win the Mirrorball Trophy — but her feud with Inaba didn't get buried; the two didn't speak after the Mirrorball was presented to the former "Bachelorette" star.

Cheryl Burke & Ian Ziering

On Season 4 of "Dancing With the Stars," ballroom pro Cheryl Burke was partnered with "Beverly Hills: 90210" actor Ian Ziering. In April 2016, more than a decade after the two danced together, Burke went on Theo Von's "Allegedly" podcast and said some not-so-nice things about the partnership. "Spending time with [Ian] for eight to 10 hours, seven days a week for three months ... made me want to slit my wrists," she said. She had stressed that she really wanted to be eliminated early on, and she wasn't happy to have made it to the semi-finals with him. 

Five years later, Burke offered a public apology to her Season 4 partner. "The one thing I truly regret and want to make amends with is Ian Ziering. I was completely out of line a few years ago, and I did a podcast where they were asking me who my favorite partner was and who did I hate the most," Burke said on an episode of her "Pretty Messed Up" podcast. "There's no excuse. No matter if it was a joke or not, I know it hurt him, and I know it hurt his family. It was a big deal," she added. In an interview with the New York Post in October 2023, Burke said that she and Ziering have moved on from their feud and that there is no animosity between them.

Maks Chmerkovskiy & Hope Solo

Maks Chmerkovskiy and Hope Solo's feud is one that is still ongoing. The two were paired together on Season 13 of "Dancing With the Stars," and even though they made it to the semi-finals, their partnership was definitely rocky — to say the least. Less than a year after appearing on the show together, Solo released her memoir, "Solo: A Memoir of Hope." In her book, she detailed her experience on "Dancing With the Stars" and made some serious accusations against Chmerkovskiy. "He was often nasty... swearing at me and being harshly critical," she wrote, according to USA Today, later adding, "he manhandled me in rehearsals from the start, pushing me, whacking my stomach, bending my arms roughly. I thought that was just how it went – how dancers worked with each other." Solo also alleged that Chmerkovskiy once smacked her face. Chmerkovskiy denied being physically abusive in rehearsals.

In 2015, Chmerkovskiy played a game of "f**k, marry, kill" on Theo Von's "Allegedly" podcast, given the choice of his former "Dancing" partners. Perhaps to the surprise of no one, Chmerkovskiy said he'd kill Solo. "She's just a sh***y person," he said. And Solo had a response. She posted a photo to Twitter of "DWTS" judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, and Bruno Tonioli holding up their scoring paddles, each with the number "1" on them. Solo said nothing else, but she didn't need to. It was beyond clear that she was letting Chmerkovskiy know how she felt about his comments about her.

Tony Dovolani & Kate Gosselin

Reality television star Kate Gosselin seemed really excited to be cast on Season 10 of "Dancing With the Stars," and being paired with Tony Dovolani seemed like a good move, given his calm nature in the ballroom. But Gosselin was full of complaints from day one, and Dovolani ultimately couldn't handle it. Things got so bad that Dovolani actually quit the show. "For me, I love dancing. I love what dancing does for people. It's a happy sport, it's a wonderful life that it's created for me. ... She didn't realize where she was at ... I hadn't signed up for that," Dovolani said on the "Hollywood Life" podcast. He went on to say that he felt Gosselin wasn't on the show for the right reasons, and he simply wanted to do his job — to teach her how to dance. 

Dovolani ended up talking to producers and was allowed to continue participating in the competition. He later admitted that he regretted quitting. Gosselin and Dovolani were the fourth couple eliminated during their season. Fortunately, the relationship didn't completely sour Dovolani's love for the show, and he returned for several more seasons. He won his first (and only) Mirrorball Trophy on the All-Stars season in 2012 and decided to retire from the program after season 22.

Bruno Tonioli & Charlotte McKinney

It may be hard to believe that longtime "Dancing With the Stars" judge Bruno Tonioli had a feud with a contestant, but it happened. Model and actor Charlotte McKinney was cast on Season 20 of the dance competition alongside pro Keo Motsepe. And although she only lasted two weeks, that was enough time for Tonioli to say something that upset her. Tonioli was weighing in on McKinney's Rumba when a hurtful comment came out of his mouth. "Listen my darling, you're never going to win the Nobel Prize for quantum physics, but you are easy on the eyes," he said during the live show, according to E! News. McKinney later told the outlet that she felt the comment was unwarranted, adding, "Especially after last week with the bullying and talking about just being nice and I didn't see where it came from. We weren't talking about being smart or anything like that."

Following their elimination from the season, McKinney and Motsepe went on "Good Morning America" to speak about their experience. During a word association game, neither McKinney nor Motsepe had nice things to say when Tonioli was mentioned. "Unfair" was the first word that came to McKinney's mind. "Rude," said Motsepe.