Nikki Bella says she is upset that her boyfriend, Artem Chigvintsev, was let go by ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, but it’s not for the reason you might think. The retired WWE superstar told Us Weekly that ABC’s decision not to cast her beau as a pro dancer for the 28th season of the celebrity ballroom competition ruined a surprise she had planned for him.
Bella explained that Artem hasn’t seen his family in person in nearly five years. As a surprise for her boyfriend, she was working behind the scenes to get his parents to come to America so they could watch him dance live on the Dancing with the Stars finale later this fall. Artem’s parents have never seen him dance live in a television show before.
“No one knew I was working on trying to get his parents here, because his parents have never seen him dance live for TV,” the former WWE Divas Champion explained.
Bella explained that she wanted to “surprise” Artem during Season 28’s live finale by having his parents in attendance in the studio audience.
“He’s a Mama’s boy. Like, he Facetimes them a few days a week, and they’re so close,” Bella said.
The WWE fan-favorite, who met her man when she was partnered with him on Dancing With the Stars back in Season 25, said the distance from his family is hard on Artem. The Total Bellas star also revealed that she would like to “learn a really amazing Russian dish and cook it for Artem.”
Artem started working in the DWTS troupe in 2014 and became a regular on the show in Season 19. In addition to Bella, he has been paired with Mischa Barton, Patti LaBelle, and Brady Bunch star Maureen McCormick. Artem never won a mirrorball trophy, but he landed in sixth place with both Lea Thompson and Nancy Kerrigan.
Artem recently said that being cut from Dancing With the Stars was a “massive shock” to him after working for so many years on the show, as previously shared by The Inquisitr.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, the Russian-American dancer even admitted that while he might sneak a peek at a YouTube clip here and there, he probably won’t be tuning in to watch his former co-stars compete for the mirrorball trophy, simply because the disappointment is just too fresh. Artem explained that he doesn’t want any negative energy as he tries to find a good place in his life where he can “concentrate on the positives.”
Speaking of positives, it was recently announced that Artem will choreograph a number with his fellow ex-DWTS pro, Sharna Burgess, on the rival TV dancing show So You Think You Can Dance. Between that and his solid relationship with Nikki Bella, things are looking good for the former DWTS dancer.
Dancing With the Stars Season 28 premieres Monday, September 16, at 8 p.m. on ABC.