The Truth About Derek Hough's Dating History

Derek Hough has earned himself quite the reputation as "Dancing with the Stars"' all-round good guy ever since he first quickstepped into the ballroom in 2007. The star was then a staple on the ABC series until 2016, taking a break before returning in pretty spectacular fashion when he followed in the footsteps of his equally talented sister, Julianne Hough, by taking a seat on the judging panel.

The notoriety he gained from the series has also seen Derek pop up on a number of other shows, including landing an acting role on the country music drama "Nashville" and showing off his skills as Corny Collins in NBC's "Hairspray Live!" Derek also shared his dance expertise alongside Jennifer Lopez and Ne-Yo on ABC's dance competition "World of Dance," before saying goodbye to that role in 2020.

But what we really want to talk about is what Derek's life is like behind the scenes. Who's he dated, and who is his girlfriend now? Let's find out the truth about this debonair dancer's dating history.

Raquelle Gracie and Derek Hough

It sounds like Derek Hough really is the Mr. Nice Guy we all think he is. Even as a young adult, it sounds like the professional dancer seemed to have that sweet nature we've come to know and love, as proven by one of his first exes.

The first record we have of Hough's dating history is with his now-ex-girlfriend, Raquelle Gracie. The star reportedly dated the British singer during his days living in London. He moved across the pond to live with fellow "Dancing with the Stars" pro Mark Ballas and his mom, Shirley Ballas — who's ironically now a judge on the U.K. version of the show, "Strictly Come Dancing" (small world, right?) — to work on his dance skills.

Before he headed back to the U.S. to become a household name on "DWTS," Hough and Gracie were an item after growing close at Italia Conti stage school (via Sunday People). The two are thought to have dated for around a year. Gracie — who had her own brush with fame in a girl band on the British singing competition show "The X Factor" — had nothing but sweet things to say about her ex after they went their separate ways.

"Everybody loved Derek. He's a very kind, caring guy. He doesn't smoke, drink or do drugs. We're still good friends," Gracie said (via Mirror).

India de Beaufort

It looks like Derek Hough was all about the commitment even early on, as he's reported to have had a long romance with actor India de Beaufort that stretched a whole eight years from 2000 until 2008 (via Female First). The star was another of Hough's girlfriends while living in London . Not too much is known about Hough and de Beaufort's romance as neither was majorly in the spotlight at the time — although both have obviously gone on to have glittering careers since then.

While Hough went on to become a household name thanks to his dance ability, de Beaufort has a few major acting roles under her belt. She's appeared in big-time roles in "NCIS: Los Angeles," "One Day at a Time," "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist," "One Tree Hill," and "Veep."

Hough and de Beaufort don't appear to have spoken about what exactly caused their breakup (that eight-year itch maybe?). However, it's thought the two went their separate ways after Hough returned to the U.S. and started appearing on "Dancing with the Stars," where he quickly found love with someone else in the spotlight (via Mirror).

Shannon Elizabeth

Speaking of "Dancing with the Stars," Derek Hough has the show to thank for his next romance. Hough found himself loved up with "NCIS" star Shannon Elizabeth after the two were partnered for Season 6 in 2008. Rumors the pro dancer and "American Pie" actor were an item seriously heated up as the two competed together, and they couldn't help but come clean on "Live With Regis and Kelly" after Kelly Ripa and Regis Philbin did some "NCIS"-worthy probing once they were eliminated from the competition.

Hough and Elizabeth appeared to get pretty serious fairly quickly, as rumors even swirled that Hough had popped the question. She shut those rumors down to People though, saying, "There's this whole weird rumor going around. One of them says that he proposed and I said no, and the other says he proposed and I said yes, and we're getting married. Neither one is true."

The two ended up going their separate ways in August 2009, sending out matching tweets. "Hi everyone — we wanted you all to know directly from us that Derek & I have decided to end our relationship as boyfriend & girlfriend ... however, we love & care about each other very much & will remain friends & in each other's lives," Elizabeth's double tweet read.

And stay friends they did. Elizabeth told "Access Hollywood Live" in 2012 that they were still on great terms and had recently grabbed dinner together.

Cheryl Cole

Cheryl Cole may not be a huge name in the States, but across the pond she's a big star, and that made her romance with Derek Hough big news. Proving he really does have a thing for British ladies, these two started dating in 2010 and went strong for several months. They kept things on the down-low and didn't appear to address their romance in any kind of big way — until after it was over, of course.

Hough was the one to speak about their time together, saying in July 2013, "We dated for a while. Absolutely we are still friends, we are still very close" (via Daily Mail). He added that he preferred to keep tight-lipped about the former "The X Factor" judge because "people take advantage of their friendships," noting, "I've never spoken about her because her friendship is important to me."

What Hough did divulge, though, is how they got to know each other, confirming he was hired to dance in Cole's "Parachute" music video. He explained he did the gig job because he wanted to take a trip to his old stomping ground of London and only "vaguely" knew who she was.

As for the split? Well, it sounds like Hough (to borrow a few words from RuPaul) was the one to tell Cole to sashay away. Hough's stepdad, Aaron Nelson, confirmed they'd called it quits in 2012, while Mirror claimed she was too reclusive for the outgoing dancer.

Did Lauren Conrad date Derek Hough?

Talk about a reality TV match made in heaven! Well, kind of heaven, seeing as this one didn't last too long. In August 2011, rumors swirled that former "The Hills" star Lauren Conrad and Derek Hough were involved in a romantic way after they were spotted out and about together.

In peak 2011 fashion, Perez Hilton shared candid snaps of the two out in L.A. The blogger claimed Hough and Conrad were embracing and looked "smitten," as an onlooker touched on the apparent "chemistry" between them. The two were out with famous friends, including Conrad's "The Hills" co-star Lo Bosworth and Hough's longtime bestie and "Dancing with the Stars" colleague, Mark Ballas.

Hough and Conrad supposedly saw each other for around three months, with Life & Style claiming in November 2011 that it was all over — and L.C. was apparently the one who pulled the plug. A friend of Conrad's supposedly spoke out about the brief relationship, claiming that  "it was always casual," while another source called it "a rebound that wasn't going to last. Derek never thought it would, either."

Despite neither apparently thinking this was a romance for the ages, another insider said they still appeared to have a good time. "She had fun with Derek — he used to send her cute texts and sing to her — but she always kept her options open," they shared. No black mascara tears here then ...

Nicole Scherzinger

Was it a little more than just dancing when Derek Hough competed with Nicole Scherzinger in 2011? After those Lauren Conrad breakup rumors popped up, the rumor mill went into overdrive with speculation about what was going on between Derek and his "Dancing with the Stars" Season 10 partner.

The two were a total match made in heaven on the ABC show (they did win that season, after all!). Life & Style claimed there could have been a little more going on than just what fans saw on the dancefloor, as Scherzinger may have asked the single pro "Don't cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?"

"Ever since Nicole broke up with [Lewis Hamilton], she's been hanging out with Derek," a source claimed in December 2011, adding that the professional dancer "100 percent acts like he's her boyfriend." The outlet even went as far as to claim the two were supposedly "hooking up" — and apparently had a run-in with Lauren Conrad herself (awkward!). The site claimed Hough and Scherzinger attended a club opening, and the dancer reportedly "didn't leave Nicole's side," while L.C. apparently "tried her best to avoid him."

Julianne Hough hardly did much to squash the dating rumors, as she told MTV News of the two, "They love each other! They laugh and have fun. They're basically like the same person, but a guy and a girl. They have so much fun together."

Nina Dobrev

A fan favorite couple that never properly came to be — Derek Hough is reported to have enjoyed a (very) brief romance with one of his sister Julianne Hough's best friends. Yep, Derek was linked to former "The Vampire Diaries" star Nina Dobrev around September 2013 after a source claimed to Us Weekly that Dobrev apparently "fell for" the "Dancing with the Stars" pro after spending time together alongside Julianne.

A few days after the outlet reported they were dating, Us Weekly shared a snap of their first public outing together as paparazzi caught them on what appeared to be a spooktacular date at Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights on October 5. But just as quickly as it began, it was over.

Us Weekly was front and center again on this one, reporting on October 16 they'd already called it quits (ironically, before Halloween even had a chance to roll around). A source claimed their romance had "played itself out" and they apparently also found distance to be a factor, as Derek was in California for "DWTS" commitments while Dobrev was in Georgia to film "TVD."

An insider dished a little more on what went wrong to E! News, claiming their short-lived romance "was nothing serious" and the two "were just having fun." It seemed like the split was cordial too, as they added "there was no drama," and the former couple was even spotted goofing off on the red carpet in 2018.

Did Nikki Reed and Derek Hough hook up?

Remember that vampire obsession we all had in the late 2000s into the mid-2010s? Well, it looks like Derek Hough was all over it. Almost literally. Around six months after his apparent split with "The Vampire Diaries" star Nina Dobrev, Derek swapped fanged allegiances and reportedly started seeing "The Twilight Saga" star Nikki Reed.

Us Weekly cited "multiple sources" for this one, claiming in April 2014 that the two "hooked up" shortly after Reed — who's also known to be friendly with Derek's sister, Julianne Hough — split with her husband, former "American Idol" contestant, Paul McDonald.

Apparently, while out and about with "Dancing with the Stars" pros Mark Ballas and Cheryl Burke, Derek and Reed were spotted "making out." An onlooker claimed "there was lots of PDA" and Reed was apparently "feeding him." They were also seen "holding hands" and left the restaurant together, as the onlooker claimed they "didn't seem to care if anyone was watching." Steamy! This one didn't go the distance though, and it seems things fizzled pretty soon after the makeout sesh. 

What makes this one even more awkward is the fact that Dobrev and Reed appear to have very similar taste in men. Following her apparent dalliance with Derek, Reed went on to marry Dobrev's former boyfriend and "The Vampire Diaries" co-star Ian Somerhalder in 2015, with Dobrev having to field questions about the status of her relationship with the two on multiple occasions since.

Kate Hudson

Here's another stunning, famous lady Derek Hough has been linked to! Moving on to December 2014, and that old rumor mill was in overdrive once again, this time with gossip that Hough had been getting cozy with none other than actor Kate Hudson.

Us Weekly was on hand to give us all the juicy Derek dating details once again, claiming he'd supposedly been seeing the "Fool's Gold" actor in the wake of her calling off her engagement to Muse's Matt Bellamy. An eyewitness reportedly saw the two out together at Nice Guy Restaurant in Los Angeles with "multiple sources" claiming that they were "hanging out."

This one seemed to blossom from a solid friendship, as it was reported the duo had been good friends for around three years before things supposedly turned romantic, as TMZ even shared footage of the two having a very impressive dance session in November 2013.

The waters seemed a little murky on how far things really went between the two, though People reported that Hudson was spotted sneaking into a "Dancing with the Stars" taping in April 2015 to see her once-rumored boyfriend. However, there was never going to be any "Bride Wars" here, as a source claimed that by that point, they were just "good friends."

Has Derek Hough found love with Hayley Erbert?

The One? It looks like Derek Hough could have finally found love. The star began dating "Dancing with the Stars" troupe dancer Hayley Erbert in 2015, around a year after meeting on the "Move Live Tour" Derek did with his sister, Julianne Hough.

Unlike some of the romances in Hough's past, the two have made no secret about their relationship, and the "DWTS" judge has even hinted he may be gearing up for a proposal. Clearly even bigger fans of Hough's dating life than we are, Us Weekly asked him what was ahead for himself and Erbert in December 2019. He coyly answered, "Who knows. You never know. It's the end of a decade, sorry, it's the beginning of a new decade! 2020 vision, we'll see." Such a tease!

There's no ring on Erbert's finger as of October 2021 (that we know of!), though it seems like Hough's not afraid to settle down. Us Weekly was sleuthing again in September 2018 and asked Hough about adding a tiny dancer to the family. "You know, you kind of live in that time where you say, 'Yeah, yeah, I want kids' but I think you just sort of say it automatically. I don't really know if you know it or not ... but I'm certain now that I definitely want kids," he said.

At the time, Derek Hough and his girlfriend were seemingly living together and had recently adopted a rescue kitten. Adorable!