The Untold Truth Of Artem Chigvintsev

Artem Chigvintsev is certainly familiar to television viewers, particularly those who regularly watch "Dancing with the Stars." According to the bio on his website, Chigvintsev was born in Russia in 1982. As a child, he developed a fascination for dance, and began taking lessons at an early age. When he was just 15, he left his native land to pursue his dream of becoming a professional dancer, which took him to seek further training in Germany, England, and Italy.

When he ultimately came to the U.S. in the mid-2000s, the timing was fortuitous. Dance competition was becoming all the rage on television, thanks to the success of "So You Think You Can Dance" and "Dancing with the Stars." Chigvintsev envisioned a future on television via his dance skills, and that vision came true when he wound up appearing on both shows. 

In the years that have passed since then, he's established himself as reality TV veteran, who, in addition to appearing on dance shows, has popped up on series like "Total Bellas." To find out more about this talented dancer and television personality, keep on reading to discover the untold truth of Artem Chigvintsev.

He was eliminated on So You Think You Can Dance

Soon after arriving in Los Angeles, Artem Chigvintsev caught wind of a new Fox reality competition focused specifically on dance, "So You Think You Can Dance." Aiming to get some U.S. television exposure, Chigvintsev auditioned for the show's first season in 2005. In a filmed package shown before one of his performances, Chigvintsev — then just 23 — tells his story of studying dance in Moscow. "I miss Russia," he said, noting that during the extreme winters, there's nothing else to do but practice dance. On the flip side, he found his new home of Los Angeles to be filled with distractions. However, he was resolute in his ambition to succeed. "I think if you want to be somewhere, you have to sacrifice everything for it," he said. 

Following one of Chigvintsev's performances, "SYTYCD" judge Nigel Lythgoe offered a prescient analysis: "Artem, if you don't make it in the dance world, you should be a movie star. The camera loves your face." Despite the praise, Chigvintsev was eliminated after making it to the top eight.  

However, his association with the show didn't end with his elimination; according to Chigvintsev's official bio, he made enough of an impression that he was brought back for the second season — this time behind the scenes, as a choreographer. 

His first wife believes their marriage was a sham

When Artem Chigvintsev initially auditioned for "So You Think You Can Dance" back in 2005, it was alongside then-wife Giselle Peacock. He made it past the tryout stage of the competition; she did not.

As Peacock told the Daily Mail, she met Chigvintsev at a 2003 dance competition in the UK, and before they knew it, they were staying at her father's place in California. "My dad agreed to sponsor Artem to get a work visa so we could continue training together," she said. "He literally had no money, so for the first eight months I supported him by buying all his food, clothes, dance classes, entertainment."

They wound up getting married — only for Chigvintsev to ditch her just months after the wedding. During the course of their brief union, she claimed her former husband changed. And in her eyes, he didn't change for the better.  "He became more and more obsessed with fame, success and money," she said in the Daily Mail. "Artem loves pretty women and he loves to be in the limelight." She also alleged he was only in it for the green card.

The reason he left Strictly Come Dancing

In the years following "So You Think You Can Dance," Artem Chigvintsev's career took off. As his official bio pointed out, he established himself as a dancer and choreographer in Los Angeles, leading to an appearance on "The O.C.," dancing at the 80th Academy Awards, and joining the cast of "Burn the Floor," a live show built around ballroom dancing.

In 2010, Chigvintsev joined Britain's "Strictly Come Dancing," the venerable BBC hit that was remade for American television and retitled "Dancing with the Stars." Chigvintsev made quite an impression, with he and celebrity dance partner Kara Tointon declared winners of his first season on the show (his sole "Strictly" win). In his second season, he partnered with actor Holly Valance, and in his third with TV presenter Fern Britton. The pairing of Chigvintsev and Britton made headlines when the latter alleged she was mistreated by her partner; Chigvintsev denied Britton's account. In his fourth and final season, he teamed with actor Natalie Gumede, with the pair making it to second place.  

He left the show after that, and explained why in an interview with the Press Association, via the Mirror. "The BBC kept changing producers and executive producers of the show," he complained. "So once you really know how to work with one person, then they are changing and you're trying to find a way to work with another person ... I think that's the biggest reason why I left."

His exit from Dancing with the Stars was a total surprise

A revolving door of new producers wasn't the only reason that Artem Chigvintsev exited "Strictly Come Dancing." In 2014, according to his official bio, he joined the 18th season of "Dancing with the Stars," initially as a member of the show's troupe. The following year, ABC announced he had been promoted to full-fledged pro dancer, partnered with actor Lea Thompson. 

He continued to trip the light fantastic on "DWTS" for nearly a decade until, in 2019, ABC revealed the cast for the show's 28th season, along with the pros who'd be dancing with them. Chigvintsev and fellow pro Sharna Burgess were not on the list. On an episode of "The Bellas Podcast," he shared his surprise at not being asked back. To say he was disappointed and bitter about what had taken place, and how it happened, would be an understatement. "I dedicated 10 years of my life to that company and being let go three days before the announcement, that's like a punch in the stomach really," he confessed. 

He also revealed the lesson he'd taken away from the experience. "I can't let anyone decide my fate from now on," he said. Just a few weeks later, in fact, Burgess announced in her Instagram Stories, via UPI, that she and Chigvintsev had already moved on, working as choreographers for "So You Think You Can Dance."

He's been linked to some famous women

On his first season of "Strictly Come Dancing," Artem Chigvintsev was partnered with "EastEnders" star Kara Tointon. Not only did the pair emerge victorious, they also became romantically involved. As the Telegraph reported, they split up in 2014. 

As Us Weekly notes in their roundup of his extensive dating history, Tointon wasn't the only famous woman linked to the suave dancer over the years. Prior to his romance with Tointon, he dated "Dancing with the Stars" judge Carrie Ann Inaba from 2006 until 2009. "It was very sad to let go of something that was so good on so many levels," Inaba told People shortly after their split.

In 2016, he was then linked to "One Tree Hill" star Torrey DeVitto, with that relationship ending in 2017. "Torrey broke up with him about a month or two ago, and Artem is pretty bummed about it," a source told ET, noting that distance was the culprit: DeVitto was filming "Chicago Med" in Chicago while Chigvintsev was shooting "DWTS" in L.A. During the 22nd season of "DWTS," Chigvintsev was partnered with "The O.C." star Mischa Barton; while reports claimed they were an item, Barton's rep told ET there was nothing romantic going on. "Mischa and Artem are not dating," said the rep, insisting their relationship was strictly platonic.

He once held a Guinness World Record

Speaking with Just Jared to share "10 cool things" about himself, Artem Chigvintsev noted one that may prove surprising to even his most ardent fans. "I hold the Guinness Book of World Records for most Botafogo steps in 30 seconds," Chigvintsev declared. "I did 79!"

According to his official bio, he set the record while competing in the "It Takes Two" challenge for "Strictly Come Dancing." In 2019, the show undertook a new challenge in hope of shattering Chigvintsev's record. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, two competitors came close, with both Nancy Xu and Luba Mushtuk making it to 70 steps — impressive to be sure, but not enough to break the record. However, as Metro reported, "Strictly" dancer Graziano Di Prima managed to perform 90 Botafogo steps, breaking the record that Chigvintsev held since 2011. "I'm so happy but so nervous at the same time," exclaimed Di Prima after setting the new record.

Chigvintsev had no hard feelings toward the dancer who overtook him; in fact, as Hello! reported, the two men subsequently starred together in the British TV reality series "Celebrity Coach Trip."

Artem Chigvintsev fell for his dance partner

In 2017, Artem Chigvintsev was matched with WWE star Nikki Bella for the 25th season of "Dancing with the Stars," a fateful pairing if there ever was one. Eventually, the dancer and the pro wrestler fell for each other. However, they did not start dating when they were competing together, as Bella was still engaged to fellow WWE star John Cena at the time. On an episode of "The Bellas Podcast," Chigvintsev admitted he felt sparks straight away. "I think meeting Nicole for the first time, I actually called the executive producer right after our first meeting, I even said, 'Wow. This girl is actually incredible.' Actually, I said, 'I think I'm like, in love,'" he said.

In April 2018, Bella and Cena confirmed to Us Weekly that they'd ended their six-year relationship. Bella and Cena briefly reconciled the following month, but then called it quits for good that July.

After that, there were reports Chigvintsev and Bella had become a couple, and Bella confirmed the relationship in a March 2019 Instagram post (although at the time she insisted on her podcast that they weren't exclusive). In January 2020 the two announced their engagement, followed soon after by news they were expecting a child together. In August 2020, they welcomed a baby boy.

Artem Chigvintsev and Nikki Bella are waiting to wed

When Artem Chigvintsev and Nikki Bella got engaged in November 2019, they were in no hurry to head to the altar; as of March 2022, the two remain happily unmarried. One big reason for the delay had been the onset of the pandemic and the associated restrictions. "The one promise I made him before we can plan, is that his parents can attend, and with where the world's at right now and trying to get two Russian parents into the country, it's almost impossible," Bella told ET in November 2021. She maintained that once things had relaxed enough that she could obtain visas for Chigvintsev's family to travel to the U.S. in order to attend the wedding, then the planning could begin. However, Bella also insisted that the couple were perfectly cool with their current marital status — and were even considering having a second child.

While the wedding of the couple's dreams has been put on pause, it sure sounds like they are in no rush. "Already what we have going on in our house right now is amazing," Bella told E!'s "Daily Pop" in February 2022. "It's pretty much like a married life."

Artem Chigvintsev and Nikki Bella sought counseling

Artem Chigvintsev's romance with Nikki Bella was not without its complications. During a November 2021 episode of "The Bellas Podcast," which she hosts alongside sister Brie Bella, she lamented how Chigvintsev's work led him to be away from home a lot, which caused some conflict in their relationship. As Nikki shared, taking care of their baby solo while Chigvintsev was away for "Dancing with the Stars," for one thing, was not always easy. Even so, they worked things out. "We're actually in a good spot," she said. "We were doing a little rocky for a bit."

Appearing on "The Tamron Hall Show" alongside her twin, Nikki said, "I was so supportive and pushing him out the door to go do 'Dancing' and then I realized once he left, I was like, 'Oh my gosh, what did I do? Like I need him.' And so it was really hard." That was why, she explained, she and Chigvintsev had decided to undergo couples therapy after he'd wrapped that season of "Dancing with the Stars." 

Therapy, Nikki told Us Weekly, did what she hoped it would do for their relationship. "It's helped us tremendously," she explained, revealing the therapy sessions were more like a mutual love fest than an airing of grievances. "You're like, 'Oh, I'm really loving right now. Like, there's no problems.' It's like we didn't know what to talk about," she said.

He had to leave the Dancing with the Stars tour

After completing the 2021 season of "Dancing with the Stars" — emerging victorious alongside dance partner Kaitlyn Bristowe of "The Bachelorette" — Artem Chigvintsev was announced to be among the dancers who'd be going on tour with the live stage show spawned from the show.

Unfortunately, his time with the "Dancing with the Stars" tour proved to be brief. In January 2022, he took to Instagram to reveal he'd be leaving the tour for health reasons. While he didn't elaborate on what those issues were, he added that he hoped to regain his spot on the tour. In a subsequent post on Instagram Story, reported Us Weekly, he revealed he was battling COVID-19 and pneumonia, and was hopeful the heavy round of antibiotics he was taking would kick the infection out of his lungs.  

It appeared to do the trick, and in February 2022, Us Weekly confirmed that he'd be rejoining the tour. When the tour concluded, Chigvintsev reflected on the experience via Instagram. "What a tour, lots of ups and downs, from missing almost 5 weeks due to getting covid and pneumonia ..." he recalled.

He's performed on Broadway and London's West End

While Artem Chigvintsev is no stranger to television fans in both the UK and the U.S. due to his dancing on "Strictly Come Dancing" and "Dancing with the Stars," respectively, he's also established himself as a live performer in both countries as well. 

Per his bio in Us Weekly, he was a member of the cast of "Burn the Floor," a hit dance-based stage show that ran on Broadway in New York City and London's West End, in addition to touring the States. Back in 2009, Playbill announced he was joining the show.

According to the show's website, "Burn the Floor" featured plenty of "Dancing with the Stars" alums, including Sharna Burgess, Sasha Farber, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Peta Murgatroyd and others. That association isn't surprising, however, given that the show's director and choreographer is Jason Gilkison, who served as director of choreography for "Strictly Come Dancing," and also worked on "Dancing with the Stars" for a period of time.

Dance has been good to Artem Chigvintsev's wallet

Since making his way from his native Russia to the U.S., Artem Chigvintsev has experienced a level of success beyond his wildest dreams. That success resulted in both fame and fortune; according to Celebrity Net Worth, the dancer and TV personality is worth an estimated $6 million. 

A substantial chunk of that came from his years on "Dancing With the Stars." According to a report from ScreenRant, both the show's celebrities and the pro dancers they're paired with earn bonus bucks by making it to the final four, with Kaitlyn Bristowe and Artem Chigvintsev receiving "equal paychecks" as the other three teams to have made it that far during the show's 28th season. Chignvintsev and Bristowe each nabbed $125,000 for just appearing on the show, and they (plus the other three finalist couples) got an additional $295,000 each at the season's end. Interestingly enough, though, winning the Mirror Ball didn't result in any extra money beyond that. 

Meanwhile, Chigvintsev has also managed to earn money from television and film appearances on shows that weren't dance competitions. According to his IMDb page, Chigvintsev has appeared on the TV series "The O.C." and the movie "Shine," while his official bio reminds that he also worked behind the scenes on the Oscar-winning musical "La La Land."

He has family members on both sides of the Ukraine war

When Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Artem Chigvintsev found himself in a somewhat unique position, given that he was born in Russia but has loved ones in Ukraine. In March, a few weeks after the invasion began, he expressed his thoughts in a series of Instagram Stories, as reported by Yahoo! Entertainment.

"This hasn't been easy to write and really gather my thoughts on the devastating situation that's been happening right now in Ukraine," Chigvintsev wrote, making it clear that he is not in favor of any type of armed conflict. "It's devastating to see people die and suffer the costs." Noting his personal connection to the war, he called out anyone who might've judged him for not speaking out about the war sooner. He concluded, "The thought of me not seeing my Mom, Dad and Brother are very real, the thought of my son never be [sic] able to be held by my parents are also very real."

Chigvintsev's fiancée, Nikki Bella, posted a message of support to the people of Ukraine on Instagram Stories, via Reddit. "Every morning I take a moment to pray. Pray for peace, pray for all the innocent people that need our help in Ukraine as well as others that are being incredibly effected by this," she wrote.