The Worst Cheating Rumors in ‘Dancing With the Stars’ History

Long practice times, sexy costumes, and dancing close together can create a recipe for cheating and romance rumors to fly. Although Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) is intended to be a family show, many of the contestants and their partners have hooked up, dated on the sly or had rumors swirling around some sort of cheating scandal.

Rumors also start about contestants who may even cheat to win or have an unfair advantage because of a dance or athletic background. Which rumors are true and who is really cheating on the popular dance show? The star on page 13 didn’t win the mirror ball, but possibly “most awkward performance in front of a spouse” award.

1. Mario Lopez and Karina Smirnoff

Mario Lopez and Karina Smirnoff sitting in an audience together.

This was more than a steamy rumor. | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

  • Rumor or real: Real

The couple met when they were paired on the show in 2006 and ended up dating for two years, People reports. At the time Lopez was fresh off a divorce and the couple reportedly had a drama-filled relationship. During their time together Lopez apparently cheated on Smirnoff, which he admitted.

Next: A Dancing with the Stars professional lobbed this allegation.

2. Cheryl Burke and Antonio Sabato Jr.

Cheryl Burke and Antonio Sabato Jr smiling together.

Cheryl Burke and Antonio Sabato Jr didn’t have a romance on the dance floor. | Jesse Grant/Getty Images

  • Rumor or real: Rumor

Sabato was accused of cheating on his wife with dance partner Cheryl Burke, according to an unconfirmed report. Val Chmerkovskiy made the allegations, possibly to generate hype around the show.

Next: Whitney versus Witney.

3. Chris Soules and Witney Carson

The two celebrities during their dance routine.

Nothing more than a rumor. | ABC

  • Rumor or real: Rumor

Soules heated up the dance floor with partner Witney Carson, while engaged to Whitney Bischoff. However, he said this about Carson: “I’m like her old uncle cheering for her over in Iowa,” he told OK Magazine . “She’s awesome. I hope for the best for her. I’m always cheering for my partner.” Soules broke off his engagement to Bischoff and Carson went onto marry Carson Mcallister.

Next: Did they or didn’t they?

4. Drew Lachey and Cheryl Burke

Drew Lachey and Cheryl Burke during their routine.

As sexy as their dance routines were, these two were strictly professional partners. | ABC

  • Rumor or real: Rumor

Lachey and Burke denied rumors of a romance, but one source disagreed. “They didn’t go very far to cover it up,” Access Online reports. “Cheryl was constantly draped all over Drew. They held hands, had their legs intertwined and were always touching inappropriately.” Lachey was married while he was on the show.

Next: They were hot on the floor.

5. Val Chmerkovskiy and Janel Parrish

Val Chmerkovskiy and Janel Parrish posing on a red carpet.

They did not end up dating after the show. | Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

  • Rumor or real: Rumor

Parrish dumped her boyfriend halfway through her DWTW season, while she and Chmerkovskiy grew cozy, according to Bustle. Although the dance partners seemed super close and gossip swirled about a romance, the pair seemed to cool their relationship considerably after the show wrapped.

Next: But this rumor was spicier.

6. Amber Rose and Val Chmerkovskiy

Amber Rose and Val Chmerkovskiy dancing together.

They did get together, but their fling did not last long. | ABC

  • Rumor or real: Real

At one point, Chmerkovskiy and dance partner Rose were a thing between September 2016 to February 2017, according to US Magazine. Their romance was short and  Chmerkovskiy said the couple simply led very different lives. Chmerkovskiy’s comment was accurate as Rose was spotted kissing her ex, Wiz Khalifa in the middle of her breakup with her DWTS partner.

Next: His brother was linked to her.

7. Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy smiling while being judged.

These two had a natural chemistry, but did not get together romantically. | ABC

  • Rumor or real: Rumor

As much as fans wanted this romance to be true, Davis and Chmerkovskiy deny any romance rumors, according to E News. Her chemistry was as hot with Chmerkovskiy as it is with her skating partner Charlie White. You have to wonder if White felt like she was cheating on him professionally?

Next: She wishes!

8. Pamela Anderson and Tristan MacManus

Pamela Anderson and Tristan MacManus listen to the judges score their routine.

Pamela Anderson and Tristan MacManus didn’t date. | ABC

  • Rumor or real: Rumor

It was no secret that Anderson was hot for MacManus when she invited him to vacation with her in Mexico, The New York Post reports. But a Post insider put that rumor to rest by telling the paper, “Pam is totally into him, but Tristan is madly in love with his girlfriend [Australian model Tahyna Tozzi, 26].”

Next: We may never know the real truth.

9. Chad Ochocinco Johnson and Cheryl Burke

Chad Ochocinco Johnson and Cheryl Burke posing together on a red carpet event.

No truth in these rumors. | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

  • Rumor or real: Rumor

While both deny the rumor they were dating, Johnson spent a lot of time flirting with Burke even giving her lavish gifts, according to Popsugar. At one point after DWTS wrapped Burke said this about Johnson when he appeared on a dating show. “If he doesn’t find love on his dating show, and if I’m still around, then he might still have a chance.” Apparently, Johnson was dating and proposed to Basketball Wives star Evelyn Lozada around the same time.

Next: She was accused of this kind of cheating.

10. Sherri Shepherd and Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Sherri Shepherd and Maksim Chmerkovskiy on the dance floor.

Shepard set the record straight. | ABC

  • Rumor or real: Rumor

Shepard was accused of “dance cheating” with Maksim Chmerkovskiy prior to being on the show, according to Hollywood Life. “I am not cheating! I have NEVER danced with Val! Or Maks!” she exclaimed while on The View.

Next: Did this really happen? 

11. Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy after their dance routine.

There was cheating going on, but not romantically.  | ABC

Rumor or real: Rumor

Alley was accused of cheating by actively pushing Hollywood friends and Twitter followers to vote for her, according to The National. Enquirer.

Next: She wasn’t quite divorced but celebrated early. 

12. Shanna Moakler and Jesse DeSoto

Shanna Moakler and Jesse DeSoto during their dance routine.

Shanna Moakler and Jesse DeSoto never confirmed this rumor. | ABC

Rumor or real: Rumor

Moakler was fresh off a split from husband Travis Barker and created quite a stir with partner DeSoto, according to People. Rumors flew that the dance partners hooked up, but reports are not confirmed.

Next: Her appearance was impactful for her marriage.

13. Kendra Wilkinson and Louis Van Amstel

Kendra Wilkinson and Louis Van Amstel dancing in matching yellow outfits.

Wilkinson addressed the rumors. | AMC

  • Rumor or real: Awkward

Wilkinson brought her marriage front and center with partner Van Amstel during a stunning DWTS number, according to People. The dance featured some pretty steamy moves, which probably raised quite a few eyebrows. She told People, “Next week is definitely a more spiritual, sexy story.”  Cringe.

Next: This kind of cheating is really looked down upon. 

14. Joey Fatone and Kym Johnson

Joey Fatone and Kym Johnson listening to the judges on 'DWTS'.

Fatone stressed that he wasn’t exactly a professional dancer. | ABC

  • Rumor or real: Rumor

Some contestants come to the show with dance experience, which make them vulnerable to cheating accusations. Fatone was in boy band *N Sync and told Fox News, “I wish it were true, but it isn’t. The hard part about it for me is that I was never technically or classically trained so I had never done a ballroom dancing class before, or a Latin class before. Yes, I had done hip-hop before and yes, I know I left arm from my right.”

Next: The youngest contestant pulled this one. 

15. Zendaya Coleman and Val Chmerkovskiy

Zendaya Coleman and Val Chmerkovskiy on 'DWTS'.

A cringe attempt to garner more votes. | ABC

  • Rumor or real: Real

Coleman encouraged fans to make multiple email accounts to build votes, a practice that is highly discouraged by the show. Despite her best attempts to work the system, she still went home without the trophy.

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