Dancing with the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba said she has nothing but love for her ex-boyfriend, Artem Chigvintsev.
The longtime judge on ABC’s celebrity ballroom competition set the record straight after she was accused of targeting the 38-year-old Russian pro dancer she dated for three years as he competes with his current DWTS partner, The Bachelorette star Kaitlyn Bristowe, by giving them harsh critiques and unfair scores.
After Carrie Ann docked the duo for a “lift” last week, many The Bachelor and The Bachelorette viewers slammed the 52-year-old DWTS veteran, with some calling her bitter and jealous more than a decade after her split from the handsome pro dancer. Even Artem, who recently welcomed a baby with fiancee Nikki Bella, said his ex’s wrath was starting to feel “a little personal,” per Entertainment Tonight.
However, after a Britney Spears-inspired breakthrough on Icons Night, Carrie Ann not only gave Artem and Kaitlyn a standing ovation, but she also gave them a perfect 10. In turn, Artem leaped across the ballroom to hug his former girlfriend.
After the live show, Carrie Ann said she thinks Bachelor Nation’s reaction to her actions is nothing short of hilarious.
“I think it’s hysterical,” she told Us Weekly.
“This is what I love about the Bachelor fans and Bachelorette fans. They can create a story around it! … They’re like, there’s jealousy there and there’s this and that because that’s what the Bachelor and Bachelorette is all about, right? It’s about creating stories about everybody. Look, I love Artem, I respect him, I love him and Nikki together. I love that they just had their little baby Matteo. We’ve had Nikki on The Talk, I’m a huge fan. There’s nothing but love and I thought it was hysterical.”
Carrie Ann added that she is not at all bothered by the false chatter from critics who think she holds a grudge against Artem, whom she split from in 2008. The Hawaiian-born beauty recently revealed she is currently in a serious relationship with a new boyfriend, Fabien Viteri.
The DWTS judge did admit that she tends to push certain contestants – especially females — a little harder because she sees their potential. She also noted that every week this season she has commended Kaitlyn and said how “great” she is, despite what the clips played by ABC have shown.
Carrie Ann’s talk about fans of the TV dating show comes one year after another Bachelorette star, Hannah Brown, landed as the Dancing with the Stars Season 28 mirror ball trophy winner. Last fall, some viewers felt the former Fly Girl was too hard on Hannah as well.