Dance Moms star Abby Lee Miller is officially leaving the show and Lifetime behind after nine years. Miller, 54, hosted the show for six-and-a-half seasons before she was briefly replaced and then returned for what turned out to be its eighth and final season. The Abby Lee Dance Company studios founder broke the news on Instagram Monday.
"Nine years ago, we were in AZ filming Dance Moms. Satan stuck a pen in my hand insisting that I sign a contract," Miller wrote on Instagram. "I was at the competition, literally in front of the stage, rehearsing a routine. I was kinda busy! But the show must go on, right? I did my 8 seasons, 2 spin offs and now a new self contained competition show in the midst of our global pandemic."
"Thank you Lifetime for an incredible run and all I have learned," she continued. "But I have decided to move on and not extend my agreement. The next few weeks will be about exploring new projects at a new home. It’s an exciting time and more announcements to come!"
Miller shot to fame as the star of Dance Moms, which launched on Lifetime in 2011. The sometimes controversial series followed Miller as she taught classes of young ballet dancers between the ages of 6 and 14. For Season 7, Lifetime brought in Cheryl Burke and Laurianne Gibson as hosts. Miller came back for Season 8, which aided between June and September 2019.
Miller's life has been filled with controversy away from the cameras. In 2010, just before the show began, she filed for bankruptcy because she owed the IRS over $400,000. The show's success helped her financial situation, but she found herself in trouble again four years later. One of the dancers on the show sued her for alleged assault, claiming the producers encouraged a violent atmosphere in the studio to attract audiences.
In 2015, Miller was indicted on fraud for allegedly creating a secret bank account to hide revenue from her classes, TV deals and merchandising. In 2016, she reached a plea deal with the IRS and was sentenced to a year and a day in prison the following year. While in prison, Miller was diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma, a type of non-Hogdkin's lymphoma, after she underwent spinal surgery. She was released from custody early in May 2018, which allowed Lifetime to bring her back for another Dance Moms season.