'Dancing With the Stars' All-Star Gilles Marini Weighs In On Hope Solo Allegations Against Maksim Chmerkovskiy (EXCLUSIVE)

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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 StarsGilles 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.




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  • Woodrose

    I’ve lost a little bit of respect for Gilles after reading these comments. No one should have to put up with a scary dance instructor on a silly reality show. And, I object to the notion that any woman who refused Maks as a partner is ‘scared’. Maybe they have enough self-respect that they demand to be treated with respect at all times, and Maks doesn’t know how to do that, so they decline. Good for them. No need to call them scaredy cats. I also think it is laughable that Maks is tough because he’s teaching them how to win. When has Maks won? When has Maks taken a non-dancer and turned her into a pretty good dancer? I’ve not seen it happen. All Maks’s partners who looked pretty good out there came into the show with dance experience — Willa, Mel B., Brandy, Erin. Maks was utterly ineffective in teaching Denise, Debi, Melissa, and Hope to dance. Maybe he was effective in teaching Laila and Kirstie, a bit. But I’ve not seen Maks take a non-dancer like Joanna Krupa or Maria Menounos and make her look good out there, as other pros do. I don’t know the details of what happened between Maks and Hope. But I do know that I’m tired of Maks and his mean, ineffective teaching style and lackluster choreography. I’d be happy if DWTS dumped him from the roster. And I was a fan of Maks back in the Laila and Mel B days.

  • Lin

    Hope Solo is a whining crybaby who was a rotten dancer. She is also a very poor loser who thought she could dance and she can't! That is HER fault, not Maks. My opinion of her is even lower now than it was.

  • jordanbee

    Gilles said it perfectly: Maks is know as a bad boy and tough teacher. He's been that way since the show began. For someone like Gilles, he knows he needs a tough teacher to push him to be better. But he seems to be saying that if that's not what someone needs, or if it becomes too tough, then definitely just talk to the producers. I know that Hope says she did that but to me, at that point, she had the option to get a different pro or even leave, as Aya said, this isn't a domestic abuse case where she was powerless. And from what I saw in rehearsal clips she gave as good as she got and tried to create this "tough chick" image. It's tough to know what really happened but as Gilles said, if it's a problem, talk to the producers. They gave her options. She didn't want them.

  • Aya

    Maksim is rough, that is true, and there should be a boundary that he shouldn't cross. If he does, the producers need to address that. It shouldn't be "well, he's hot and brings in the female audience and the female celebs still keep wanting to dance with him so we'll overlook it." That's not the least bit proffessional and it's disrespectful to the celebs, who are the ones that make the show. That being said, Hope was NOT a naturally good dancer and even with Maksim's supposed toughness and abuse, she still remained awkward on the dance floor. If she didn't improve with someone who was that hard on her, I can only imagine how much worse she would've been to someone who coddled or pandered to her ego. Just like Maksim has a chip on his shoulder for always being second or third runner up, I think Hope also expected better of herself, and him, since she is an Olympian and past Olympians have kicked ass and won on the show and she didn't live up to that precedent so her accusations may in part be an attempt to assign blame for her shoddy performance. Like Gilles said, if she couldn't take it, she should've spoken up. She's not some scared little wife in a domestic situation with kids to think about. She wasn't and isn't powerless and clearly she knows that, otherwise she wouldn't be maligning his character after the fact. She could have done something but she chose to do nothing.

  • Bella

    Nahh, what a cop out, Maxim is really rude, you shouldn't slap anyone especially females that is WRONG. Maxim has a chip on his shoulder for never winning the Mirror Ball Trophy. And also the way he treated Melissa Gilbert, was like if he was too good for her. That's not right. He really has no respect for females, if he's this mean to Celebrities, most likely he's an abuser of some sorts. YUP AND THAT'S THE TRUTH. Melissa Gilbert was always nice to him and Hope Solo is a young vivacious woman, he did make her look like just because she was an Olympian, that didn't mean she was good in dancing. He did the same thing with Melissa Gilbert, that's how I saw it. Maxim needs good etiquette skills from someone like Derek. Derek knows how to treat the ladies, he never has a chip on his shoulder.