In an exclusive sit-down with PopCulture.com while in Dallas, Texas for the opening of his 11th Dance With Me dance studio, the Dancing With the Stars pro dishes on what really crafted inspiration behind the hotly anticipated, Maks, Val & Peta Live on Tour: Confidential.
“I think things of this nature come up not exactly because you made them happen, but because they’re happening around you,” the 38-year-old Chmerkovskiy said. “Life happens. Val and I put together the first part, Our Way, based on all the happenings in our life to that point and it was an amazing experience for us, very cathartic.”
When Chmerkovskiy and his brother Val brought their first tour, Our Way to U.S. audiences almost two years ago, Murgatroyd was there every step of the way, while very pregnant. However, this time around, the 31-year-old decided to join the two of them, while performing a “true love story” that stems from each of their respective lives.
“A lot happened in those two years,” Chmerkovskiy said, adding that the birth of Shai was a big moment, in addition to his wedding to Murgatroyd last July. “Some stories we are going to tell [in the show] are very personal to Peta and myself, [and] Val’s too.”
He adds that between Murgatroyd and himself, the two have been through their fair share of ups and downs over the years, with much of their relationship being very public.
After first meeting in 2009 during the Broadway production of Burn the Floor and beginning to date in 2012, the two broke up in 2014 — something Murgatroyd has publicly said left her with a broken heart.
It was in that time apart though that Chmerkovskiy admits he had made a mistake and took every opportunity to hover around her. All that heartache though and owning those feelings is what has driven Chmerkovskiy and Murgatroyd to produce the new show with his brother Val, which kicks off in Springfield, Missouri March 19.
“It happened and we’re not going to shy away instead of like, everybody in Hollywood claiming ‘our life is perfect,’” he told PopCulture.com. “Nobody’s life is perfect, everyone goes through s—, and so have we.”
Chmerkovskiy says the most cathartic and empowering aspect of bringing the feelings of his relationship with Murgatroyd to stage is that it makes them honest with each other.
“We’re going to tell it and speak about it, and dance and speak about it in some kind of video presentation,” he reveals of the production’s theatrics. “We keep making corrections and changes to our script… looking at what the show is becoming, it will absolutely supersede the expectations of even [audiences] who saw Our Way and see us do our thing back then. It’s very special and we’re on to something special again, I’m excited.”
One of the best parts for Chmerkovskiy is getting to travel around the country with his family, including 1-year-old Shai.
“If you get to be with your love and being with your baby and just how much you’re enjoying him and enjoying each other’s company — it’s a dream,” he said. “We just all want to be together.”
Chmerkovskiy adds that he’s not trying to sound like he and Murgatroyd are the quintessential “Hollywood couple.”
“[You know] that Hollywood couple, all façade, all good, but on the inside, it’s not all that and within a period of time, there’s a divorce. There’s not one Hollywood couple I can look at and say, ‘I want to be like them,’” Chmerkovskiy said. “Like, looking at Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts, and you’re like, ‘Wow, that’s a power couple.’ They’re both in the industry and they’re amazing — but bang, divorce. Next one, divorce… it’s incredible.”
Chmerkovskiy reveals he and Murgatroyd make it a point to avoid hypocrisy and stay honest with each other about their feelings.
“It’s funny to me because seemingly all those couples, at one point or another would portray this wholesome and united front and family union, and all that stuff — it’s crazy. [But] where did that all go? So hypocrisy is something I try not to have present in our lives.”
He adds that Murgatroyd is also “very much a straight shooter” when it comes to being honest with him.
“[When planning the show,] we sat down and we said, ‘Listen, are we going to say how it is, or make stuff up?’ ‘No, we’re going to say how it is, [so] be prepared to tear up,” he said. “Our numbers are going to be meaningful and be about us, talking about us and your heartbreak and my heartache, and what happened at that time when all our fans were questioning us, asking, ‘What happened, you just broke up? What happened there?’ So now we’re going to say it and show it.”
Chmerkovskiy says it’s that “aspect of the show” he finds beautiful as he truly understands the value of an honest heart produces an honest, celebrated action.
Likening the emotive response found through each dance in Confidential to Disney’s Inside Out, Chmerkovskiy says both stories prove you have to really feel emotion to understand the moment.
“You need to be sad. It’s unnatural to be happy only, it’s unnatural to only want happiness,” he said. “It is unnatural because in retrospect, you’re also never going to experience happiness without sadness, [and] you’re never going to be really laughing without crying, because you’ve got it easy.”
Chmerkovskiy says it’s the “ups and downs of life that teach you what is which,” adding that social media plays a big part in what it means to show you are “put together.”
“I feel like this new generation of social media kids have their emotions skewed [and] they’re not really sure why they make so much of an effort hiding imperfections or [portraying] a fake smile… and instead, they are hiding what’s really on the inside,” he said. “If you look at anybody’s Instagram, 99 percent of it is nothing but smiles, riches, and beauty, this and that — and I’m like, ‘Okay, this is great, but when do you not do that? When are you not that person?’”
Chmerkovskiy goes on to say that while social media has created an unnatural playground for individuals, he knows Confidential is an honest look at his, Murgatroyd and Val’s life without the square borders.
“We have audiences, we have people to speak to honestly, and I believe we can just be a different representation of the Hollywood [everyone] knows,” he said.
Chmerkovskiy, along with Murgatroyd and Val kick off their tour in Springfield, Missouri on March 19 and visit 50 cities throughout the U.S. this spring. For a complete list of tour dates near you, check out Maks, Val & Peta Live on Tour: Confidential for more details.