Former Dancing with the Stars professional Mark Ballas shared his love for “brother” Derek Hough on his birthday with a hilarious flashback photo post. The longtime pals, friends for over 20 years, are known to joke with one another on social media. This time, Mark’s snaps became a serious declaration of his innermost feelings for his longtime pal.
Mark posted two photos of the pair, taken prior to their career-changing roles as pros on the longtime ABC reality competition dance series. In the caption, he shared his deep thanks for their friendship, noting that Derek was even the best man for his wedding to singer and songwriter BC Jean in November 2016 and that he considered him a brother. In response, Derek said he felt the same way as well.
The undated photos show the young men in different scenarios. The first image was taken when the two were teenagers and had a band together, titled aptly enough The Ballas Hough Band, from 2005 through 2010. Mark was 19 when the group began, Derek just 20.
Mark wore a black and white trucker hat in a recording studio pic, his white necklace a standout against a black t-shirt. Tan pants hung low on his hips, accented by a white belt trimmed in black. A multitude of colored bracelets was seen on his left arm as well as two rings on his hand. A bright yellow guitar strap hung from his shoulder.
View this post on Instagram
We're getting closer to the 26th! Here's another little preview of our wedding video, our song Paper Planes & our new EP cover art. I've only seen these little clips & it really makes me emotional ???? it truly was the best day of my life.. I love you @bcjean for all updates about the release & our tour dates this summer follow us here @_alexanderjean_ #AlexanderJean #HighEnoughEP ???? @londonlightphotography ???? @lfl84
Derek was nearly unrecognizable in the share. He sported a serious look as he faced the camera, his eyes hidden by dark sunglasses. Derek’s blond hair was long and flipped out underneath a black beanie. He held an aqua-colored bass guitar, its black-and-white checkerboard strap a stark contrast against his red t-shirt and dark jeans.
In the second snap, the two were seen goofing around for the camera. This time it was Derek who wore a baseball cap and was laughing in the pic while Mark was seated alongside him, showing off a bleached blond streak in his dark hair.
Mark and Derek met when they were just teenagers. Derek’s parents sent him to live and study in London, England with dance coaches Corky and Shirley Ballas, Mark’s parents. Derek, Mark, and later Derek’s sister Julianne Hough, attended the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts in London. The men have remained close ever since.
The pals performed on Dancing with the Stars together for several years. During their tenure, Derek won six mirrorball trophies and Mark, two.
View this post on Instagram
Happy birthday to my big bro // best friend // partner in crime @derekhough You continue to inspire so many people day by day including myself. I honestly can't thank you enough for being the brother I never had & for teaching me so much growing up, you always manage to find the words to let someone know what's truly important in life. Your tenacity, work ethic and attention to the smallest detail is unlike any other.. 21 years flew by, today you turn 31 a week from today I turn 30. I look forward to being best friends and brothers till we are old and grey.. You are simply incredible & I love ya. #wefoughtoverthewalterwhitecostume #iwon #took20minutes #wehelduptheline #peoplewerepissed ????????????????????
Fans loved the vintage pics. They expressed their wishes for Derek in the comments section of the post, which was liked 35,124 times, and counting.
“So young. Relationships like that are precious. Your friendship is wonderful to watch. You are both so talented. Happy birthday Derek,” stated one fan.
“Happy Birthday! You guys were just babies!” said a second follower.
“KIDZ being KIDZ. I’ll beat you two had a GREAT TIME growing up together. Oh, the stories you could tell, better yet, the ones you can’t!” remarked a third supporter.
“I didn’t know I needed these in me life,” said a fourth Instagram user.