The road to the Dancing With the Stars Mirrorball Trophy certainly wasn't easy, but it's bonded Hannah Brown and her partner Alan Bersten together in a way that's totally different than the pro has ever experienced. Bersten opened up about his "different" relationship with Brown to PEOPLE's Reality Check Tuesday, even addressing the dating rumors that followed them throughout the season to their win.
“Hannah and I built such an amazing relationship during these 11, 12 weeks that it’s nice to look back and reflect on how amazing this experience has been and what a friend I made in Hannah,” he told the outlet.
“Hannah and I, it was a different partnership than I’ve ever experienced before because after rehearsals almost every day we would go and eat and just hang out and that’s very rare when you spend six hours with someone that you want to still see them afterwards,” he continued. “So I’m really lucky that me and Hannah became such good friends.”
Has the relationship blossomed into something other than friendship between the two members of Team Alabama Hannah?
“I don’t think so,” Bersten said, laughing. “I think it’s just friends.”
Part of what made the pair so close was the judges' harsh criticism, Bersten noted, which he completely understood from the judges' perspective as well.
“I feel like Hannah did such a good job and she didn’t get her perfect score until the freestyle, where I feel like she really did some amazing numbers and really gave her heart out there,” Bersten said. “But I can see why the judges were a little more critical of her. I feel like they wanted to really push Hannah because they saw the potential that I don’t think she saw in herself yet.”
With Brown revealing in the finale episode that her partnership had allowed her to trust someone again after her broken engagement in her season of The Bachelorette, Bersten explained they were able to weather the tough criticism together.
“Hannah and I built such a good relationship throughout the season that we could really trust each other and when we had to work on a note or a critique that the judges gave us, we just went through it and we realized that the more we put in during the rehearsals, the better it’s going to feel on Monday,” the pro noted. “And after every show on Monday, we looked back at the dances and we would feel good if we knew that we gave it our best.”
“Even if the judges didn’t give us the best scores, as long as we tried our hardest, that’s when we knew we did a good job,” he added.
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