Known as the “bad boy of the ballroom,” Maksim Chmerkovskiy appeared on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars from 2006-17. The Ukrainian-born professional dancer emigrated to the United States in 1994 and currently lives in LA with his wife Peta Murgatroyd and their 5-year-old son Shai.
For the last six months, Chmerkovskiy traveled back and forth to Kyiv, Ukraine, to appear as a judge on the new Ukrainian TV series, World of Dance. When Russian President Vladimir Putin recently invaded Ukraine, the 42-year-old dancer was in the Eastern European country.
Chmerkovskiy had a hard time getting out of the region, keeping his social media followers abreast of his struggles. After a difficult escape, the DWTS Season 18 mirror ball winner gave a “huge shout-out to Poland” for helping him get home.
Maksim Chmerkovskiy needed to get out of Ukraine
Chmerkovskiy began posting videos to his Instagram, telling his 1.1 million followers he was entering a bomb shelter in Kyiv, saying, “Honestly, I’m getting really emotional.” The dancer admitted, “You know me. I stay strong. And I don’t show it, but I want to go back home.”
The reality show dancer described his experience, saying he was arrested for a short time in Ukraine while trying to return to his family in California. The dance pro later told fans he was going to start heading toward the border. In an Instagram post, he said, “I have options. My options are better than most people’s, unfortunately, but I’m just a little nervous, to be honest with you.”
Chmerkovskiy seemed to believe everything was going to be OK, telling his followers not to “panic.” He told them he would try to stay in contact with his wife, parents, and brother, a fellow DWTS dancer Val Chmerkovskiy. Murgatroyd asked her social media followers to pray for her husband and sent their “positive light and love to him.”
Maksim Chmerkovskiy greeted his wife Peta Murgatroyd at LAX
Chmerkovskiy escaped the war-torn country, taking a 23-hour train journey out of Kyiv to Warsaw, Poland. Entertainment Weekly reported the professional dancer said on an Instagram story, “The situation at the train station is insane.” He explained that he traveled in a cabin meant for three people with four adults and seven children.
The traumatized dancer said, “Walkways are packed. People are everywhere. It’s sweaty and claustrophobic.” Us Weekly reported that on March 2, 2022, Chmerkovskiy landed at LAX airport in California. His anxious wife was waiting at the terminal with open arms.
Murgatroyd could not stop hugging her husband when he safely arrived. Tired and distraught, the dancer let go of his wife long enough to tell reporters, “The reason why Ukraine is standing right now is because of the Ukrainian people. And the fact that the entire world is helping.”
Chmerkovskiy graciously said, “Huge shoutout to Poland, huge shoutout to neighboring countries. The way I was treated through the whole process of leaving to Poland; I’ve just got to bow down to the Polish people.”
Chmerkovskiy wants his fans to know what’s happening in Ukraine
Murgatroyd said she is forever thankful her husband is home. She posted on Instagram, “Our lives are forever changed. We have a new normal, and that’s ok.”
Chmerkovskiy is now safe at home. The 42-year-old continues to post devastating photos and videos of his homeland.Chmerkovskiy wants his followers to remain aware of what is going on in the country he loves.
One of the dancer’s latest posts is the picture of a bombed-out building, with the caption, “Mariupol’ last 22 hours – 22 air raids, around 100 bombs dropped. 2187 civilian deaths and counting….”
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