Artem Chigvintsev is shutting down speculation that Dancing With the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba is judging him and partner Kaitlyn Bristowe harshly this season because of their romantic past. In a Tuesday interview with Us Weekly, Chigvintsev laughed when asked if his romantic relationship with Inaba between 2006 and 2009 played into the scoring drama this season.
"Oh my goodness! It was so long ago," Chigvintsev exclaimed. "It was, like, 2008, we're in 2020. That's 12 years ago!" The former Bachelorette then chimed in that fans "love looking for something," agreeing that Inaba was being tough on them this season to encourage their progress.
"I don't think my previous relationship has anything to do with it, I'll be honest with you, because she's been judging me for the past however many seasons I was on the show," the longtime DWTS pro continued. "So there's no, like, personal agenda whatsoever. I don't think it has anything to do with it. I think she just really was harsh in the sense that she saw so much more potential than what we've been delivering the past two weeks and she finally got things that she's been wanting to see."
After weeks of tension between Bristowe's team and Inaba about scoring, Chigvintsev and the reality star ran over to the judges' table to hug The Talk co-host when she gave them a standing ovation for their Argentine tango, which earned them their first perfect score of the season. Chigvintsev added he was "really happy" the scores were reflecting the hard work his team was putting in, "because it was challenging for two weeks getting certain critiques and going back into rehearsals and still trying to be very positive, like, 'No, we're gonna do it, we're gonna break through.'"
Inaba also told Us Weekly that she was laughing off thoughts about her dating history, noting Bachelor Nation can tend to "create a story" similar to the drama on ABC dating shows that isn't the truth on the dancing competition. "They're like, there's jealousy there and there's this and that because that's what The Bachelor and Bachelorette is all about, right?" she said. Inaba continued that she loves and respects her ex, and couldn't be happier that he and fiancée Nikki Bella just welcomed baby Matteo.
"There's nothing but love and I thought it was hysterical," she said of the rumors of ill will between the two. "So none of it bothers me. I know that people are passionate about Dancing With the Stars. They're passionate about who they're voting for. I love that. I will not stand for bullying of me or anyone. I will not. We've had enough of it in our country. I'm sick of it. I'm never gonna stand for that, I'm never gonna support it. But I am OK with passion and I am OK with discussion."