Exclusive: Maksim Chmerkovskiy on Florida School Shooting: ‘When You Have Your Own Kids, You Start Thinking in a Different Way’

Ahead of his nationwide tour, Maks, Val & Peta Live on Tour: Confidential, set to kick off this month, Maksim Chmerkovskiy is reflecting on fatherhood and offering condolences to the families of the Florida school shooting last month.

(Photo: Instagram / @maksimc)

In an exclusive sit-down with PopCulture.com, the 38-year-old Dancing With the Stars pro and first-time father calls the tragedy that unfolded in February "unimaginable."

"When you have your own kids, you start thinking in a different way," Chmerkovskiy said while in Dallas for the opening of his 11th Dance With Me dance studio. "Peta and I have spoken about this, every time something like this happens in the news and somebody loses a child, my heart drops."

After welcoming his 1-year-old son Shai Aleksander with wife Peta Murgatroyd last January, Chmerkovskiy says the loss families and parents have experienced is something he cannot fathom.

"I cannot tell you how unimaginable the tragedy of losing a child is for Peta and [myself], I can't even tell you, but I can tell you right now that I would never live through it," he admits before taking a pause. "I'm in love with this kid so much that I can't even fathom what these parents are going through. I would never get out of it. I would never. I would be done."

Chmerkovskiy admits after the birth of Shai, his life changed for the better with fatherhood being one of his "favorite things" in the world.

"Our parents used to tell us when you have kids, you'll know what it's like, that was the only answer — like, you'll understand… so now I get it. It's impossible to explain [that love]," he said. "You have a feeling that happens to you when they're born, like I saw it with my eyes and something happened and I didn't know what it was [but] it takes you a while before you understand that 'next-level' love you've got flowing through your body. Your hormones, your brain, your thoughts — they're re-adjusting now, you only care and only focus on that one thing, and you become all about that."

With Chmerkovskiy heading out on tour alongside wife Peta and brother Val this spring for Confidential, a follow-up to their widely successful tour, Our Way, don't expect the trio to not bring along Shai.

(Photo: Instagram / @maksimc)

"That's the best part," Chmerkovskiy laughs "It's like, people ask, Peta and I, is the baby going with you? Well, what is the alternative? Leave our child with the grandparents for two months, like how does that work? I don't know how other people have done it, but you also have to understand, this is my first experience doing anything with a kid."

Chmerkovskiy reveals he and Peta are learning the ropes about parenthood when it comes to their jobs, and making sure Shai is comfortable.

"We're learning about buses, crib setup, timing and kind of like, going with the flow and changes throughout the day — how not to schedule too far ahead, that kind of stuff," he said. "I think the best part will be that we are together, and so far in our lives, knock on wood, I want it to continue that way."

With the glitzy and glamorous 50-city nationwide tour celebrating dance, love and life this spring, Chmerkovskiy says bringing the family along is not only a way to continue what he and Peta love doing, but a solid way to better themselves as parents.

"We're also spending every day with Shai and every morning I wake up and we go for a walk when I'm in L.A.," he said, adding that it's those moments that make him not want to miss the seconds with his son. "You just find yourself going with different things going on in your head."

Chmerkovskiy is at the best place in his life right now and says with the upcoming tour allowing him to be with his family, it's "a dream come true."

"If you get to be with your love and be 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, really."

The doting dad says that while Shai will be in bed around 7:30 p.m. every night, he, brother Val and wife Peta will hit the stage for a memorable evening.


"We'll kiss him goodnight, and then mommy and daddy go to work," he said. "And then get on the bus, get some sleep, wake up in the morning, but this time, we won't be walking in L.A, near our house but a new city, what's bad about that? He might not remember much, but [it] will be a lasting experience."

Chmerkovskiy, along with Peta and Val kick off their tour in Springfield, Missouri on March 19 and visit 50 cities throughout the U.S. through May 16. For a complete list of tour dates near you, check out Maks, Val & Peta Live on Tour: Confidential for more details.