Karina Smirnoff Leaving ‘DWTS’ To Pursue ‘Exciting Endeavors’

Karina Smirnoff may not have a pro slot in the new season of Dancing With the Stars, but she has plenty of projects to keep her busy. Smirnoff confirmed her plans with a post on her Instagram page, while teasing new projects and putting in a plug for her just-released book.

“After a lot of thought and prayer, I’ve decided to focus my energies on some other exciting endeavors including adding author to my resume. I have absolutely loved dancing for all of you for all these years and feel blessed to have been given a platform to put my passion for dance, choreography and creativity on display.”

Smirnoff’s first work as “author” is her book We’re Just Not That Into You – Dating Disasters From the Trenches. She wrote the book with her friend Lindsay Rielly and both women discuss their dating adventures and disasters. The book was released February 10, mere weeks after US confirmed that Smirnoff is engaged to boyfriend Jason Adelman.

Smirnoff previously dated one-time fellow DWTS pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Mario Lopez. She was paired with Lopez in season 3 of the show.

In addition to her career, Dancing With the Stars seemed to be fertile ground for Smirnoff to forge personal relationships. In 2013 she became close friends with her on-air partner Ralph Macchio, who cast her in his short film project later that year. In an interview with Broadway World to promote Across Grace Alley, Smirnoff expressed her love of acting and her desire to pursue it in the future.

“I loved every minute of it. I’m looking at other roles right now. I’m excited about this new acting in my life because I have always wanted to act, but when you’re growing up it’s usually a dream and a lot of people don’t think it can be reality, but Ralph has given me a possibility that can be the next chapter of my life and I am ever so grateful for that.”

You can watch a clip of Smirnoff’s film debut in the trailer below.

She further described the bond she had with Macchio as special, and gave further insight into how relationships on Dancing With the Stars evolve.

“‘Dancing With the Stars’ is a show where you’re 100 percent, you’re emotionally invested, you’re physically invested, and then it’s over in a heartbeat. You keep contact with your partner and your cast members on the show, but you rarely develop a friendship that becomes like a second family. You start knowing that this person and his family is your extended family and me and Ralph were lucky enough to develop that friendship.”

The new season of Dancing With the Stars celebrates the show’s 10th anniversary and 20th season. It debuts on March 16th on ABC.

[Karina Smirnoff image: Getty]