‘DWTS’: Val Chmerkovskiy Said He ‘Probably Would Have Married’ This Dance Partner ‘If We Had Met 10 Years Earlier’
Val Chmerkovskiy of Dancing With the Stars is often a finalist on the ABC reality show. A two-time Mirrorball champ, the Russian pro dancer has competed with celebrities, athletes, and even news personalities.
In season 22, Chmerkovskiy was paired with someone he considered marriage material if the timing had been different.
‘GMA’ star hit the dance floor in season 22
Chmerkovskiy had just come off of a tough season with partner Tamar Braxton, who had to withdraw from the competition due to a medical issue. The DWTS pro was thrilled to learn he was paired with a Good Morning America talent for season 22, where he had the opportunity to bond with the news team and crew.
“The audience and staffers went crazy with applause when it was revealed that I had been matched with a GMA favorite, Ginger Zee, the show’s in-house meteorologist,” Chmerkovskiy recalled in his 2018 book I’ll Never Change My Name: An Immigrant’s American Dream from Ukraine to the USA to Dancing with the Stars. “Through that alliance, I not only made a friend for life, but was granted the keys to the inner sanctum at GMA. I got to know the sound techs and the grips, the camera operators, and the other hosts.”
Reflecting on the previous season with Braxton, Chmerkovskiy was sure to tailor his choreography demands to suit partners going forward.
“After my season with Tamar, I had to step my game up to another level,” he noted. “I realized that not every dance partner would be a 25-year-old Rumer Willis. …. I would have to learn to make accommodations for partners who were mothers, wives, and other adult women who had a lot going on in their lives beyond Dancing With the Stars.“
‘DWTS’ star considered Ginger Zee ‘one of the coolest people I ever met’
Zee had just welcomed her first child, son Adrian, with husband Ben Aaron when she joined Dancing With the Stars. Chmerkovskiy saw Zee’s new parenting role as proof he was matched with someone up to the challenge.
“I knew immediately that I had a partner who was very much an adult,” he said of Zee. “She was a mother of a newborn son, just six weeks old. She joined the show a month and a half after giving birth. It was as if her placenta had just dropped and the umbilical cord was still pretty much intact.”
Chmerkovskiy and Zee bonded throughout the season. Though the Mirrorball champ never got out of line with his married dance partner, he considered the GMA star a potential soul mate had time and circumstances been different.
“She was one of the coolest people I had ever met,” Chmerkovskiy revealed. “If we had met ten years earlier, in a different life and in different circumstances, I would have probably married her. As it was, we developed a great friendship that never once strayed into the romantic.”
Val Chmerkovskiy was happy being the ‘5th wheel’
Chmerkovskiy’s friendship with Zee also included her husband and son. The DWTS pro considered the couple’s solid relationship to be an inspiration.
“I got a contact high seeing this young couple, Ginger and her husband Ben Aaron, still practically newlyweds, riding the euphoria of having their first child,” he recalled. “I became the really cool fifth wheel on their baby stroller.”
While the dancing partners didn’t bring home the Mirrorball trophy, Chmerkovskiy and Zee ranked as finalists in season 22. Despite some physical roadblocks throughout the competition, the DWTS star was grateful for his time with the meteorologist.
“Ginger and I made it to the finals on Dancing With the Stars that season, winding up in third place,” Chmerkovskiy wrote. “We had a lot of injuries. The process was hard, but it was also beautiful, both for her and for me.”