‘Dance Moms’: Maddie Ziegler Initially Felt So Guilty About Quitting

Maddie Ziegler may have gotten her start on Dance Moms, but her star continues to rise years after she quit the show. These days the dancer is padding her resume with acting projects. In fact, she recently wrapped production on the feature film, Bloody Hell, for which she nabbed the lead role. Ziegler also has a brand partnership with Fabletics and recently launched her second makeup collaboration with Morphe 2.

Dance Moms alum Maddie Ziegler at the Lacoste shwo
‘Dance Moms’ alum Maddie Ziegler | Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Maddie Ziegler explains why she and her sister quit ‘Dance Moms’ in season 6

Considering Ziegler’s continued success, it’s clear that leaving Dance Moms was the right decision for her. Ziegler, her sister, Kenzie Ziegler, and her mother, Melissa Gisoni, were original members of the cast. However, they exited the Lifetime reality show in the middle of Season 6. But why exactly did Maddie choose to quit? She got candid about her reasons in an interview with Cosmopolitan.

Fans of Dance Moms will recall that from the very first season, Maddie had a reputation for winning dance competitions. Prior to the show, she loved performing and even competing. However, the drama of the show made her far less enthusiastic about competing despite her love of dance.

RELATED: Maddie Ziegler Is Hyper-Focused on Her Acting Career

“It is hard when you’re really loyal to your dance group,” Maddie explained about wanting to quit Dance Moms. “I was the most loyal girl there; I just wanted to dance. And I loved competing until it became televised and the drama started. Don’t get me wrong—there’s drama regardless if there are cameras or not! But it was heightened.”

The ‘West Side Story’ actor wanted to leave years before she actually did

Continuing on, Maddie shared that she and Kenzie actually wanted to quit the show long before they were able to. The stress of filming, coupled with the drama, became too much to bear. And while it took some time, she was eventually able to leave Dance Moms. “I started to feel like, ‘It’s so peaceful outside of this world. I can’t be in this,'”Maddie remembered. “My family and I really tried to leave for the last three seasons. But when you’re in a contract, it’s really hard. Eventually, I finally got out.”

RELATED: Maddie Ziegler Missed 50 Days of School in 1 Year for ‘Dance Moms’

But even after quitting Dance Moms, Maddie was still dealing with residual drama. The biggest form of the drama seemed to come from her former dancer teacher, Abby Lee Miller. When it was announced that Maddie, Kenzie, and Gisoni were leaving, the choreographer locked herself in the bathroom. And while the West Side Story actor shared that she and her family felt guilty about leaving Miller behind, she knows that she ultimately did what was best for her.

Maddie felt guilty after she left ‘Dance Moms’

“She was distraught,” Maddie shared about Miller. “For the longest time, we felt so guilty. She trained me, she helped me, but also, I knew I would be OK without her, and I was sick of being in a toxic environment. I was like, ‘This is not for me. I can’t do this.’ I haven’t spoken to her since.”

These days, Maddie seems to have worked through her feelings of guilt. Life after Dance Moms seems to be a lot less stressful. She’s in therapy, learning how to shed some of her perfectionist tendencies. And while she doesn’t miss her Dance Moms days, she remains close to many of her former castmates. In fact, she, Kenzie, Nia Sioux, Chloé Lukasiak, Paige Hyland, and Brooke Hyland are all still close and have a group chat. So while none of the dancers are still in contact with Miller, they remain in close contact with each other.

RELATED: Maddie Ziegler Says ‘Dance Moms’ Producers ‘Set You Up for Failure’