As fans prepare to watch an all-new cast of celebrities to battle it out on the dance floor in Dancing With the Stars Season 29, professional dancer Jenna Johnson is opening up about some of the changes taking place behind the scenes. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, and to lessen the potential impact it could have on the season, a new rule prevents married pro dancers from living together, meaning Johnson has to spend some time away from husband and fellow competitor Val Chmerkovskiy.
Speaking about the upcoming season with Us Weekly, Johnson offered a little more clarity about the rule. Johnson explained that "the logic of all of this is the two of us directly affect a celebrity. So, say that we were living together [and] one of us tested positive, I am now affecting Val, and he is affecting his partner." She said that by not living together, a potential positive test would affect fewer people and have less of an impact on the season, stating, "if we were separated and say heaven forbid, I tested positive, it would just affect me and my partner and not two couples or two partnerships."
The new rule had first been revealed back in mid-August, just as Johnson and Chmerkovskiy, who tied the knot in 2019, had begun to settle into the home they had purchased during the pandemic. Johnson told the outlet that she and her husband had "finally unpacked and got settled in" and were "loving it, and then we got called and they were like, 'You know, one of you is going to have to move out.'" Johnson said she and Chmerkovskiy took it all in stride, and "there wasn't much discussion about who it was going to be. I think it was kind of just assumed." According to Johnson, Chmerkovskiy "moved into an apartment."
The distance, however, can be difficult, as the dancing pro admitted that she is "so sad," adding that she is "a very needy person when it comes to Val." She added, "I love just, like, touching him. He always jokes because he's like, 'You love to be alone, but with me next to you.' And it's so true. So I do miss my hubby!"
Johnson and Chmerkovskiy are not the only ones to be living separately as the dancers prepare for the upcoming season. The new rule also affects Emma Slater and husband Sasha Farber and Pasha Pashkov and wife Daniella Karagach.
Dancing With the Stars Season 29 premieres on Monday, Sept. 14, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Stay tuned to PopCulture.com for the latest updates.