Although he’s back on Dancing With the Stars for season 29, Artem Chigvintsev was absolutely devastated when he was cut from the show last year, so much so that it affected his relationship with Nikki Bella.
“Seeing Artem have his pep back in his step and just having his confidence back. You know this past year was really tough on him and it was also tough on our relationship because Artem was fighting depression,” the former pro wrestler, 36, told her sister, Brie Bella, on “The Bellas Podcast” on Wednesday, September 23. “He was really depressed being cut, and it was really hard for him to get past it and then he finally found a job right before COVID hit, then he lost it and then it brought that depression back of not being a part of Dancing With the Stars.”
Nikki continued: “So, when he got the call, I can’t even tell you. Well Brie, you saw him! He immediately changed and that made me really happy. I felt like I had my old Artem back — the man that I fell in love with. … To see him perform, his smile could not get any bigger and you just felt his excitement and his love and his passion and more than anything, his happiness. He was so happy to be back.”
Chigvintsev, 38, has had quite the busy summer. In July, he and his fiancée welcomed their first son, Matteo, and the following month, he was asked back to the ABC competition series.
“I just can’t wait to get back, and I want to dedicate this season to my little boy,” he said last month on Good Morning America.
The Russia native is paired with former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe this season. During the Tuesday, September 22, episode, the pair were given the highest score of the night, earning a 22 out of 30 for their Foxtrot to Lee Ann Womack‘s “I Hope You Dance,” despite the 35-year-old being injured.
“For the last five days or so have had a really sore ankle, but it was always manageable,” the reality star told Us Weekly after Tuesday’s show. “We rehearsed a few times today and something just wasn’t feeling right. I took off my shoe and went to step on my barefoot and I couldn’t put any weight on it. So, we went to physical therapy. I had a doc come and look at it. He believes it’s just a little bit of tendonitis and also, making it worse, is some shin splints. So, we taped it up. I got a cortisone shot to be able to go out there and dance! … [Injuries] are just something that athletes have to deal with, and shin splints is something I’ve dealt with before. It’s obviously not ideal, but that’s not going to stop me.”
Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.
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