Maks Chmerkovskiy's Relationship History Explained

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It's safe to say that Maksim Chmerkovskiy is probably one of the most famous dancers to come out of the TV series "Dancing With the Stars." The TV personality and choreographer joined the competition in 2006 during Season 2, and he remained on the show for over decade, before officially departing in 2018. Throughout his time on "DWTS," Chmerkovskiy wasn't just known for his impressive dance moves, but also for his outspoken personality and for being the series' resident "bad boy."

Perhaps that reputation, coupled with his good looks and dancing abilities, is why he was just as well-known for his romances with fellow dancers from the show, as well as some celebrities. While Chmerkovskiy may have been somewhat of a player, he eventually settled down with fellow dancer and now-wife Peta Murgatroyd. He gushed, "For years I knew Peta is the one for me... she has made me a very happy man" (via a statement to ABC News).

In March 2022, the couple made headlines after Chmerkovskiy was stuck in his native Ukraine during Russia's invasion but was thankfully able to return home safely. The dancers appear to be stronger than ever. However, that wasn't always the case, and they've been through a lot together. Their relationship hit a few bumps on their road to happiness, including when Chmerkovskiy dated a bevy of those aforementioned stars. Considering that Maks Chmerkovskiy has definitely come a long way, let's break down his very interesting relationship history.

Maks Chmerkovskiy was engaged to Karina Smirnoff

Before Peta Murgatroyd, Maks Chmerkovskiy not only dated another fellow "Dancing With the Stars" pro, but was even engaged to her. We're talking about Karina Smirnoff, with whom Chmerkovskiy had a whirlwind romance following her split from actor Mario Lopez. According to People, the dancers officially started dating in summer 2008, but were already engaged by that New Year's Eve — after less than six months of dating. Chmerkovskiy had proposed when they were ringing in 2009 in Las Vegas before they went on the "Dancing With the Stars" winter tour together. 

However, the couple's engagement lasted longer than their courtship, since their busy schedules kept them from wedding planning. They had reportedly wanted to get married in 2009 but were working on a Broadway show, "Burn the Floor," at the time. Smirnoff told People (via Access) that while they ended up settling on June 2010 for their wedding month, "We were going to pick the place, but we never actually had the time." Chmerkovskiy backed her up, saying, "We're [working] 14 hours a day. This is our life right now," referring to their busy schedules. 

However, even with their wedding put on the back burner, the two seemed happier than ever, especially since they were always by each other's sides, reportedly telling People they'd "do everything together." Smirnoff gushed, "We're not rushing. As long as we're together, tying the knot is a plus, it's something extra."

The pro dancers had a messy split

Maks Chmerkovskiy and Karina Smirnoff never made it to the altar after all, splitting in 2009 after a little over a year together. Smirnoff blamed their breakup on their struggles with wedding planning, explaining to Pop Eater (via Inquisitr), "It got to the point where it was just too much." She also inferred that their split was mutual, telling People they were "both trying to figure out our lives and work on ourselves. At this moment, we're happy to be where we are."

Chmerkovskiy apparently had a different take on their break-up, revealing, "I feel completely betrayed. I'm done." This, of course, led to speculation that Smirnoff was romantically involved with her "Dancing With the Stars" partner at the time, Aaron Carter. Both she and Carter denied a romance, with him telling Us Weekly, "If it were true, you would have seen us out together already!"

However, Carter apparently changed his tune in 2021 when discussing his time on "DWTS" on the "Wild Ride! With Steve-O" podcast. He dished, "I stole Karina Smirnoff, my partner, from the other guy on the show, Maksim Chmerkovskiy...and then they broke off their engagement." He apparently wasn't in it for the long haul, elaborating on how the couple "didn't click." "She got mad at me because I basically didn't want to be with her-with her," Carter said. Smirnoff co-authored a book in 2015 titled "We're Just Not That Into You: Dating Disasters from the Trenches." Juicy!

He broke Peta Murgatroyd's heart

Maks Chmerkovskiy's next girlfriend, Peta Murgatroyd, would later become his wife... just not right away. The dancers met in 2009 when Chmerkovskiy was still with Karina Smirnoff, as Murgatroyd was also part of the Broadway show "Burn the Floor." However, there wasn't an instant connection, with Murgatroyd telling People, "I thought he was arrogant." Chmerkovskiy joked, "I think she was in love with me at first sight and just doesn't want to admit it." Murgatroyd clarified that their connection happened over time. "He was really generous to the entire cast, and our friendship grew and grew," she explained.

When the two worked together on "Dancing With the Stars" in 2012, their relationship became romantic. A source for Us Weekly described the couple as "really happy together." That's probably why Murgatroyd was shocked when Chmerkovskiy broke up with her "out of nowhere" (as she told People) in February 2013 after 10 months together. Chmerkovskiy just "wasn't feeling her anymore," an insider dished to Us Weekly.

Murgatroyd admitted to People, "My heart was broken." Yet, she apparently had an inkling that it wasn't totally over between them." The dancer explained, "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." And of course, that turned out to be true.

Maks Chmerkovskiy briefly dated Kate Upton

Just months after his breakup with Peta Murgatroyd, Maks Chmerkovskiy seemingly rebounded with model Kate UptonUs Weekly reported that the two were first linked in June 2013 after Upton's temporary split from baseball star Justin Verlander. Her romance with Chmerkovskiy wasn't confirmed until that September, when they were spotted holding hands while out in New York City. By that October, Chmerkovskiy apparently couldn't help but brag about his girlfriend, saying, "She's an amazing person. We have an incredible time together." While it's unclear how the two got together, Chmerkovskiy admitted, "I definitely didn't see that coming and I think neither did she."

It's obvious Chmerkovskiy was totally smitten with Upton because he also told People, "She is extremely intelligent. We talk about everything... I love how she can go from being girly to being a businesswoman in the snap of a finger." Yet, by that December, the two fizzled out after only six months. An unnamed source told Page Six they broke up because the two "never saw each other" amid their booming careers. 

However, in June 2014, Chmerkovskiy posted, then deleted, a photo on Instagram of him and Upton canoodling, instigating rumors that the pair had rekindled their romance (via Page Six). Perhaps the dancer just felt like stirring up drama since, per Us Weekly, Upton was likely back with Verlander, who is now her husband. 

The DWTS pro had a flirty friendship with Meryl Davis

In 2014, Maks Chmerkovskiy was linked to ice dancer Meryl Davis, his celebrity parter on "Dancing With the Stars." The two sparked romance rumors all throughout Season 18 thanks to their undeniable chemistry on the dance floor and their super flirty relationship off-screen. Chmerkovskiy even once told Davis at rehearsals, "I love you and I would love to marry you," and another time joked, per Us Weekly, about "ravishing" her to make "big, ice-dancing" babies together.

It probably didn't help that Chmerkovskiy's own brother, Val Chmerkovskiy, claimed, "He loves her probably more than I've seen him love another woman — he loves and adores her... I know she loves him back." Yet, he did clarify it was more a loving "friendship," explaining, "One make-out session in the middle of the dance or to label it that they are a couple — it sounds great, but that's not what it is."

Chmerkovskiy and Davis shut down the rumors as well, when Wendy Williams straight up asked them if they were dating or hooking up. A shocked Davis answered, "We're not dating, no," adding, "We like to keep the personal lives personal" (via E! News). The twosome used their steamy connection to take home the Mirror Ball trophy, but the romance rumors didn't stop there. That's because Davis took to Instagram to praise Chmerkovskiy, captioning a photo of them hugging, "So proud of @maksimc. So lucky to have gone on this ride with you."

His rumored romance with Jennifer Lopez

It appears 2014 was a busy year for Maks Chmerkovskiy since he was also linked to superstar Jennifer Lopez. The "Marry Me" star had temporarily left another professional dancer, Casper Smart, when the rumors started swirling that she was dating Chmerkovskiy after they both attended his brother, Val Chmerkovskiy's, birthday party. According to People, the two had met via Lopez's bestie, Leah Remini, since Remini appeared on "Dancing With the Stars." Chmerkovskiy and Lopez had also danced onstage at the American Music Awards together.

While an unnamed insider told People, "​​They are friends and have been talking," Lopez denied that they were romantically involved, tweeting, "No I'm not. (dating anyone new already.)" Yet just weeks later, she was out with Chmerkovskiy at a nightclub where they were said to have "looked very flirty," per Us Weekly. An onlooker claimed, "Maks was whispering into her ear and hugging her," adding, "She had a huge smile on her face."

When it came to his take on the romance gossip, Chmerkovskiy revealed to the Daily News, "With the Jennifer thing, look, we're friends and...we're friends. ... This is where it ends, pretty much." However, he did tell People, "She's great, I have fun," hinting that the two could have had a brief fling. When it came to all his romances that year, Chmerkovskiy admitted, "I am a hopeless romantic who falls in lust and gets in trouble." Yet he did clarify, "I am not a scumbag."

Maks reunited with Peta Murgatroyd and proposed

Despite his high-profile celebrity romances, it appears Maks Chmerkovskiy never stopped caring about his ex-girlfriend, Peta Murgatroyd. A source told People in 2015, "Peta is his girl and he's never stopped wanting to be around her." The source even went as far as to suggest, "They've never really 'broken up.' They're with each other a lot and have been for quite some time." There seems to have been some truth to that since that year, the "Dancing With the Stars" pros ended up getting back together again.

Chmerkovskiy admitted that after breaking up with Murgatroyd, "I realized right away that I'd made a mistake. So I would take every opportunity to hover around." Once they were back together, it apparently became clear to Chmerkovskiy that he needed to lock it down for good because he didn't want to lose her again. He confessed, "I dodged a bullet because she could have fallen in love with somebody else and this never would've happened."

By December of that year, Chmerkovskiy proposed to Murgatroyd onstage, during a performance of their dance show "Sway." USA Today reported that before popping the question, Chmerkovskiy told her, "I'm in love with you, and I will be in love with you for the rest of my life." Of course Murgatroyd said yes, later revealing in a statement to ABC News, "I couldn't have been more surprised. Maks' romantic proposal is something I will cherish for the rest of my life." 

The couple welcomed their son and got married in the same year

While Peta Murgatroyd may have been "surprised" by Maks Chmerkovskiy's proposal, the two had another surprise come their way soon after — a baby. Murgatroyd revealed to Fit Pregnancy and Baby (via ET), "Maks and I were so careful, but one night we weren't," adding, "I called Maks, who was in Vegas, and said, 'Well, I'm pregnant.' He thought I was kidding." Once the two wrapped their heads around their unexpected pregnancy, they took fans on their journey to becoming parents. Chmerkovskiy shared details from their first Lamaze class and Murgatroyd posted a photo from her baby shower. In January 2017, the couple welcomed their son, Shai Aleksander. The new mama later told Fit Pregnancy and Baby, "I pushed for 30 minutes and he was here! ... It was the best day of my life."

It seems that year was full of life-changing days because that July, the couple tied the knot in a lavish ceremony at a New York castle. According to E! News, the wedding was a three-day affair, with several of their "Dancing With the Stars" co-stars and partners among the 300 people in attendance. Murgatroyd said, "The whole experience, the three days were just absolutely incredible."

A year later, Chmerkovskiy revealed on Instagram that the two were already technically married on their big day, having secretly wed days before. He recalled, "I couldn't take my eyes off my future wife the whole ride to the City Hall and it was [as] if New York City herself was marrying us."

Parenting brought them closer

Maks Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd have been open about how becoming parents impacted their relationship. The "Faith, Hope, and Love" star told ET in 2020 that it actually made them closer as a couple. She said, "Having a child, you spend way more time together. You have to deal with things you never thought you would have to deal with...and you have to figure it out together."

They revealed that they wanted to expand their family "sooner than later." Chmerkovskiy dished, "I want a girl more than anything, and if it's going to be another boy, it's going to be incredible." Yet, the family was busy. Even after their son's birth, both Chmerkovskiy and Murgatroyd returned to "Dancing With the Stars," with Chmerkovskiy explaining, "Shai was on the tour bus... We've done some things outside the norm."

The couple told ET that, like a lot of other parents, they struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic. Chmerkovskiy confessed that without the help of babysitters, he and his wife's alone time was limited. "Mama-papa time lasts like 30 minutes, because as soon as Shai's in bed, we try to watch some Netflix. It's a struggle. We pass out on the couch," he said. Yet their romance didn't suffer too much, since that year Chmerkovskiy shared an anniversary letter he wrote to Murgatroyd that read, "There isn't an aspect of my life where I feel complete without you. I love you beyond comprehension and for as long as I live."

Their love is stronger than ever

In 2022, Maks Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd went through a terrifying and devastating ordeal when Chmerkovskiy was stuck in Ukraine during Russia's invasion. According to Page Six, Murgatroyd and their son remained home in L.A. while Chmerkovskiy was in his native country to be a judge in their "World of Dance" contest. Once the violence erupted, Chmerkovskiy shared updates of what was going on through social media, while Murgatoryd asked followers for prayers. She posted, "My pain is overwhelming and I'm struggling, but you sending your positive light and love to him would mean the world to me."

The mother-of-one remained strong for her family though, sharing a post about how kind gestures helped. She wrote, "Although I'm going through hell right now and I want it all to end...there is light that shines through the darkness." She added, "People I haven't spoken to in 15 years have found me on social just to pray for me." Strangers made her cookies.

Fortunately, Chmerkovskiy was able to safely return to the U.S. Murgatroyd shared photos of their tearful reunion at the airport, as well as him snuggling their son back at home. She captioned the photos, "I have never hugged him so tight. Shaking and forever grateful. Now it's time to heal... Our lives are forever changed." A day after Chmerkovskiy's return, he and Murgatroyd were seen holding each other while taking a romantic walk on the beach, proving their challenges have only made their love stronger.