A love triangle is always juicy, but when it involves married couples, things get wayyy messy. Such is the case with Chrishell Stause and Gleb Savchenko, who competed as partners on this current season of "Dancing With the Stars." The pair was eliminated from the competition last week, landing them in eighth place.
Though many a relationship has flourished from the ballroom floor (Jenna Johnson and Val Chmerkovskiy, for example, or Sasha Farber and Emma Slater), they typically involve the professional dancers themselves. Or, if a contestant is in the mix, there’s at least a degree or two of separation, like with pro Cheryl Burke and Matthew Lawrence -- they met through Lawrence’s brother Joey, who danced with Edyta Śliwińska on the show's third season. There are a few stray celeb/dance pro success stories, like "Shark Tank" star Robert Herjavec, who’s happily married to his season 20 partner Kym Johnson. Point is, considering how many pairs have danced together in the history of "DWTS," real-life romances are rare.
Nevertheless, viewers looove to ship their favorite dancer-celebrity pairs. I remember back in season 24, when everyone was ready to burst with the sexual tension between Sharna Burgess and Bonner Bolton (but, let’s be real, Sharna has chemistry with every one of her partners). In this case, though, the rumor mill may not be all in good fun.
Though she’s had regular roles on soaps "All My Children" and "Days of Our Lives," Chrishell really only recently got on everyone’s radar with the popularity of Netflix real estate reality show "Selling Sunset."
She’s always been a super candid presence, never shying away from talking about her upbringing, which included bouts of homelessness. Fun fact: Chrishell’s mother went into labor at a gas station -- “Chrishell” is actually her middle name (first name Terrina), and is a fuse of the names of the attendant who helped deliver her, Chris, and the name of the station, Shell. Do with that what you will.
Chrishell had a brief engagement to "Glee" star Matthew Morrison between 2006 and 2007, but a year prior to appearing on "Selling Sunset," she married "This Is Us" lead Justin Hartley. Their divorce in late 2019 was public as hell, especially due to Stause’s reality television contract.
She’s been publicly single ever since, even sharing on "Dancing With the Stars" that she’d begun the process of freezing her eggs.
Born in Moscow, Gleb has been dancing since age 8 and has appeared on the U.K., Australian and Russian versions of "Dancing With the Stars" on top of his current U.S. post. He’s also been on "Celebrity MasterChef" and "Celebs on the Farm," but ballroom and choreography is his main jam.
His estranged wife, Elena Samodanova, is also a Russian professional dancer; they own a dance studio, Pro Dance LA in West Hollywood, together. Gleb and Elena have two children, daughters Olivia and Zlata, and have been married for 14 years. Until recently.
Last week, Elena revealed on Instagram that she and Gleb were going their separate ways. "After 14 years of marriage, with my deepest sadness, our road is coming to an end," she wrote on her Stories. Savchenko then gave a statement to the press and followed up with his own Instagram announcement.
Elena also posted this not-so-cryptic message:
The split, though sad, of course, initially seemed par for the course.
But then Elena went to the press with heavy accusations. She told PEOPLE, "Gleb’s ongoing infidelity and a recent inappropriate relationship has created turmoil in our marriage and absolutely torn our family apart. "Last night was the final straw, and I can no longer turn my head the other way. My trust in Gleb is irrevocably broken and it is time that I walk away and begin to heal so I can be the best version of myself for my girls."
Notice that she didn’t outright mention Chrishell. Regardless, speculators ran with the connection, throwing her name into it and prompting Gleb to release a counter-statement absolving his former partner of any kind of involvement.
"While I will continue to respect the privacy of my family, I will not stand by and allow false accusations and internet rumors go unaddressed. My relationship with Chrishell was and remains strictly platonic. Our friendship during our season on 'DWTS' was not the reason for our split,” he said in a statement from his rep, according to Page Six. "Elena and I have had long-standing issues in our marriage. This has been an ongoing situation between Elena and I paired with poor timing. It was my deepest hope to keep our private life just that: private. I am saddened and disappointed to see that Elena has chosen not to do the same."
Chrishell, too, defended herself, posting on her Instagram Story: "It is unfortunate that this has caused rumors to swirl about my personal life. Having gone through a public split myself, I would not wish this on anyone. As you can imagine, the countless hours of training and dance rehearsals has created a strong supportive friendship, but nothing more. I wish nothing but the best for both Gleb and Elena during this unfortunate time."
A source went to E! to say that despite their chemistry, Chrishell and Gleb knew their boundaries. "Chrishell is definitely into Gleb but knew he was married and would never interfere. She would never do that, but can't deny the chemistry they have," they said.
BTW, this all happened on the same day.
Since all the he-said, she-said, the peanut gallery, mainly backing Chrishell, has weighed in. Burke threw in her two cents, pointing out that ballroom is all about the performance, and most of the time a showmance is just that.
"...When you’re in this world of Hollywood, you do reality shows and this stuff does happen," she said on her podcast, Pretty Messed Up. "But when you see a sex scene in a movie, do you think they’re actually really having sex? Sh*t happens, but I'm not saying anything has happened with them."
Most recently, Chrishell’s "Selling Sunset" co-star Amanza Smith told hosts Bobby Norris and Stephen Leng during an interview on FUBAR Radio, "Poor Chrishell. She was like, 'I went through a very public divorce.' Like, the last thing she would ever do is add to somebody's infidelity if that's what was going on. But that’s just how it goes when you are in the spotlight, but I think she's pretty pissed off about it...It sounds like maybe the wife is using this as, like, a cheap PR stunt."
Oh, how we love Amanza. From what we’ve seen from Chrishell on "Selling Sunset," the woman is sweet as can be, but doesn’t take her character being called into question lightly. There’s a fire burning somewhere deep behind that megawatt smile, and these rumors -- rightfully so! -- have lit a fuse.
What a can of worms this has opened.
What do we think?
It’s gotten a little bit out of control.
Now, Gleb and Elena’s separation could very well be because of infidelity. We’re not here to cleanse Gleb of any sins or defend him ‘til the end (even if he is arguably the best-looking pro "DWTS" has ever seen). And Elena cites "ongoing" affairs, so perhaps this has been a problem in their marriage for some time. It’s not up to us to decide whether Gleb’s a cheater in general, but I’m giving Chrishell in particular the benefit of the doubt.
Remember, Elena is a woman scorned, but she didn’t mention Chrishell by name. She didn’t reference "Dancing With the Stars" at all in her public accusations. It all seems like just very bad timing...even if that timing did happen to coincide with Chrishell and Gleb’s appearances together. Sure, Gleb and Elena’s Instagram game was all too happy up until this summer, but everyone knows that Instagram is mostly a farce -- people show you what they want to, not necessarily what’s actually going on.
At the end of the day, this is a situation between two people, and as pretty as Gleb’s face is, sounds like he done messed up -- but outside of the ballroom.