'Dancing With the Stars' All-Star Gilles Marini Weighs In On Hope Solo Allegations Against Maksim Chmerkovskiy (EXCLUSIVE)
Maksim Chmerkovskiy too rough on the dance floor?
Know what you're getting into first or speak up, says one of the stars of this fall's all-star season of Dancing with the Stars, Gilles Marini -- it's Chmerkovskiy's style.
"I think this is what it is, and hopefully no one takes it wrong," Marini told Celebuzz at Project Angel Food's 17th annual Angel Awards in Hollywood. "His way is hard. We all know about it. If a lady doesn't like to be treated in a hard way on the dance floor with Maks, then they should tell the producer, 'I don't want to get in on this ride. Because I'm scared.'"
One of Chmerkovskiy's former Dancing with the Stars partners was Olympian soccer player Hope Solo -- who said Chmerkovskiy was too rough of a dancer to work with, and that he was inappropriate with her physically.
What else did Marini say about Chmerkovskiy and Solo?
Marini continued, "Most of them I know about, they like the bad boy. Then everybody says, 'Well, this and that.' When you start ballroom dancing, next thing you know, you end with someone like Maks, you have to be aware it's a hard ride. That's the way he teaches. If Maks is teaching me tomorrow, I want him to be super hard on me. Otherwise, I won't learn."
Solo opens up in her new memoir, Solo: A Memoir of Hope, about the DWTS experience and onetime partner Chmerkovskiy.
“He manhandled me in rehearsals from the start, pushing me, whacking my stomach, bending my arms roughly,” Solo, 31, wrote. “I thought that was just how it went — how dancers worked with each other. But it kept getting worse… One day, Maks was trying to put me in a certain position and hit my stomach so hard with his open palm that I had a red handprint there for the rest of the day.”
Chmerkovskiy is bred for such behavior, Marini says.
"I think dancers like Maks, they were so young when they started dancing -- so young -- that they know only one way. And it's the hard way. " Marini told us. "It's very hard for them to transfer from teaching someone patience, to a race against time, in a kind way. I'm not saying it's right, I'm not saying it's wrong. I'm saying that's the only way he knows how to teach. And guess what, the show asks him [back] all the time. So no matter what people will say he does, he's still going to be on TV. He's going to do what he needs to do to make his partner win."
Previously partnered with Cheryl Burke, Marini is paired this season with Chmerkovskiy's girlfriend, Peta Murgatroyd. Marini narrowly missed winning the show in its eighth season in spring 2009 -- finishing in second place with Burke to winners Shawn Johnson and Mark Ballas.
Marini has been, admittedly, unhappy that he was unable to compete again with Burke, who has re-teamed with Emmitt Smith this time around.
The Switched at Birth star told Celebuzz he would have preferred having Burke as a dance partner because they would have had a healthy advantage over the competition, which includes Johnson, Bristol Palin, Melissa Rycroft, Drew Lachey, and Pamela Anderson.
"Cheryl Burke, it's not her fault I'm not with her. It's not my fault I'm not with her. The producers don't give us any choices," Marini said. "It would have been a huge advantage for me to dance again with Cheryl Burke, because I don't know anyone else. It would be like riding a bike again. We know each other really well."
But instead, it's back to square one with Murgatroyd.
"They make it a little bit more complicated for me. And you know what, good," Marini said. "I met Peta, and she is a super-sweet angel. Beautiful. She looks extremely technical. And she won't let me look like a fool. I can't wait."
"Both of us are lighting up the dance floor. We did a photo shoot, and people were freaking going crazy about the way we look like. I'm excited to show that and everything else."
In other Marini DWTS news, the former French soap opera star had a previous physical injury to his knee area, which has required bolts and surgery -- but he remains adamant it will not play into his competing, in the slightest.
"My MCL [medial collateral ligament] has bothered me for a long time. My MCL popped in my leg long ago," Marini said. "It won't move. It's a bit of a pull-pinch. Who cares. This thing would have to pop. Then, I would tape it if it happened. But I'm freaking doing it, I don't care. It's just a leg. If they want to see me dance, I'm going to dance, no matter what happens."
Besides Marini and Perrette, Saturday's Project Angel Food Angel Awards in Hollywood brought out Alan Cumming, Cougar Town's Susan Blakely, and Battlestar Gallactica's Tricia Helfer and Katee Sackhoff.
Project Angel Food cooks and delivers meals to L.A. county residents who have life-threatening illnesses.
"I love Project Angel Food," Pauley Perrette told Celebuzz. "Sometimes, it's just getting someone fed that can can turn their situation around. Our volunteers go off and visit people who are, unfortunately, alone. So we bring them food, and a little bit of happiness. We are right here in the middle of Hollywood, but there are people in need everywhere."
Perrette, a board member of the charity, was honored for her work with HIV and AIDS.
Do you think Maksim is too rough? Does Gilles have a good point? Weigh in below.