Hope Solo, Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Olympic soccer star Hope Solo says her former Dancing with the Stars partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy often "manhandled" her and once slapped her across the face in rehearsals.
In her new memoir Solo: A Memoir of Hope, the 31-year-old writes: "He was often nasty, swearing at me and being harshly critical. He manhandled me in rehearsals from the start, pushing me, whacking my stomach, bending my arms roughly. One day, Maks was trying to put me in a certain position and hit my stomach so hard with his open palm that I had a red handprint there for the rest of the day."
During another rehearsal, Solo says Chmerkovskiy got so angry that he slapped her across the face so hard that her ear rang afterward. "He was extremely apologetic. I didn't care," she writes. "My ear was ringing as I walked out, shaking. I had just been hit, and I had been worried about how I would come off looking on television."
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According to Solo, ABC offered her a new partner after the incident, but she declined because she "didn't want to end Maks' career" and come off as a "prima donna." The slap was caught on camera, but the footage later disappeared, she writes.
In his TVGuide.com blogs during Season 13, Chmerkovskiy acknowledged that he and Solo had many "ups and downs," but he believed that made them stronger. "Working past our differences has allowed Hope and me to respect and appreciate each other on a very high level," he wrote. "I don't regret anything that has happened this year."
Solo also suggests that Dancing rigs the results in her memoir, claiming that Chmerkovskiy had told her that there was "some secret memo" detailing which couples would be eliminated each week. According to Chmerkovskiy, she writes, they were targeted for a Week 6 elimination, so he orchestrated his notorious outburst at judge Len Goodman to cause drama and convince producers to let them stick around for more "fireworks." "It seems to have worked — we weren't eliminated that week," Solo writes.
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The pair finished in fourth place and appeared to have remained friends — just last week, they had a Twitter exchange after Chmerkovskiy congratulated Solo and the U.S. women's soccer team for winning Olympic gold. On Thursday, however, Chmerkovskiy cryptically tweeted, "Always hated hypocrites and liars...but when someone is both AND an opportunist, I just feel bad for them. Can't win at someone's expense."
His Season 12 and current All-Stars partner Kirstie Alley added, "I shall bite thine tongue, lest I get into a girl fight that I would surely lose without a hammer in my hand."
ABC, BBC Worldwide Productions, which produces Dancing, and Chmerkovskiy's rep all had no comment.