The ongoing Russian invasion in Ukraine has hit one Dancing With the Stars couple: Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd. Chmerkovskiy, who was born in the country, had been working as a judge on the TV competition show, World of Dance Ukraine.
He briefly came home to Los Angeles for Valentine’s Day weekend to spend quality time with Murgatroyd and their five-year-old son Shai Aleksander. It was upon his return that he got caught in the conflict with Russia, where he’s currently in a bomb shelter at his hotel. Murgatroyd made an emotional plea on Instagram, asking her followers to “please pray for my husband Maks.” The 35-year-old dancer added, “I don’t usually ask these things from my social media network, however today is extremely hard and the next few will be even harder.”
Calling her pain “overwhelming,” she continued, “I’m struggling, but you sending your positive light and love to him would mean the world to me. Truly, I wish for nothing more.” Chmerkovskiy has been active on his social media page giving lengthy updates about his concerns for the citizens of Ukraine, many of whom have lost everything at this point. “I’m out here, again, I’m safe. We haven’t been told to move, and I’m just following instructions. That’s all I can say,” he said in a Friday morning update. “But the reality is that I’m also talking to my friends that are here, the Ukrainians, and the situation is pretty dire.“
Chmerkovskiy immigrated to the United States at the age of 14 with his brother, Val Chmerkovskiy, also a Dancing With the Stars pro, and their parents. The brothers honored their family’s immigration story in their 2016 dance tour, Maks and Val Live on Tour: Our Way. “It’s an homage to our parents,” he said in an interview with the Baltimore Sun. “You look at me and Val onstage and doing what we love — dancing. We’ve gone through a lot, growing up in New York after moving to this country from Ukraine in 1994. This show is to honor our story, our parents’ story. We love everything they have done for us. We’re going to spend our entire lives trying to pay them back and make them proud.” Now, Chmerkovskiy is doing his best to stay safe again in his homeland while trying to make his way back to his adopted home in the U.S.
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