Dancing With the Stars season 29 is underway, and professional dancer Artem Chigvintsev is back in the competing cast, partnered with former Bachelorette star Kaitlyn Bristowe.
Chigvintsev is currently engaged to Nikki Bella and the couple recently welcomed their first child together, a son named Matteo. While DWTS fans know that Chigvintsev is happily off-the-market today, it may come as a surprise to learn that years before Chigvintsev and Bella got together, he was actually in a relationship with Dancing With the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba.
Here’s what you need to know:
Inaba & Chigvintsev Dated For Almost 3 Years Before Breaking Up in 2009
According to People, Carrie Ann Inaba and Artem Chigvintsev met years before they worked together on Dancing With the Stars, when Chigvintsev was a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance. They began dating in 2006.
Inaba confirmed that the two broke up in 2009. In an interview with People, she revealed, “I’m single. Artem and I broke up in the beginning of November.” Continuing, she added that “As much as our relationship was really good,” they came to the difficult conclusion that neither “was ‘the one’ for the other. It was very sad to let go of something that was so good on so many levels.” At the time, it seemed that there were no hard feelings or ill-will between the two. Inaba called him, “a fine gentleman,” saying, “I have never gone out with somebody that grounded, always ready to talk it out. I’m very happy for him and the success he’s having.”
Chigvintsev joined the DWTS cast 5 years after his split from Inaba, becoming a member of the Dance Troupe in 2014 for season 18. His first season as a competitor was season 19; he finished in 6th place with celebrity contestant Lea Thompson.
Chigvintsev Met His Fianceé When They Competed Together on DWTS
Dance is what brought Chigvintsev and his fianceé Nikki Bella – the two competed on Dancing With the Stars as partners for season 25 of the show. They got engaged at the start of 2020 and welcomed their son Matteo on July 31.
Inaba and Chigvintsev’s history doesn’t seem to bother Bella, who referenced it casually in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. When asked about the revised elimination format, which gives judges the final say about which couple goes home each week, Bella said, “I like it. I think we would have lasted longer if we had that option. I think Carrie Ann [Inaba] totally would have saved us. And not because you guys dated… but she really liked my technique!”
According to Good Housekeeping, Inaba is currently happily in a relationship, as well. She is dating Fabien Viteri. On The Talk, Inaba gushed about her man, revealing, “So, I met this man; he’s from my neighborhood, and we met, sort of, walking our dogs, and there’s more to the story … He’s older than I am, and he’s a wonderful human being. And now, I understand how a relationship can work. He’s been so supportive and a mature adult ‘cause maybe sometimes I’m not so that’s working really well.”
New episodes of Dancing With the Stars season 29 air on Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.