Maksim Chmerkovskiy Admits Being On ‘DWTS’ Saved Him In Ukraine After Arrest: Things ‘Got Real’
Maks Chmerkovskiy revealed in a new interview how his ‘Dancing with the Stars’ fame helped him flee his native Ukraine. He also described the ‘horrible’ scene at the train station where he escaped.
Maksim Chmerkovskiy, 42, appeared on Good Morning America Friday, March 4 and explained how he fled from Ukraine amidst Russian attacks. Before Maks got on a train from Poland and escaped his native country, he was arrested for breaking curfew. “They’re like, ‘Passport.’ I pull out my American passport. He starts speaking English with me. I was like, ‘I speak Russian.’ Then I regretted saying that. I thought maybe it was wrong,” Maks explained on GMA.
Maks revealed that his arrest situation was thwarted once he was recognized for being on Dancing With the Stars. “But then the guy next to him goes, ‘Oh, that’s the judge from Dancing With the Stars. That’s Maks. I know him. He’s from TV,’ ” Maks recalled. “He goes, ‘Get inside. Right now.’”
The professional dancer, who documented his experience being in Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded on Feb. 24, clarified that while he wasn’t “gonna get shot” when he was arrested, his DWTS fame still saved him without question. “I felt like things got real and all of a sudden I don’t have all of the things needed to feel safe in this place at all,” Maks explained. “I’m not built for this at all. I’m just realizing that I’m not in a place where I should be.”
Maks also described the scene at the train station where he traveled to Poland while countless Ukrainians were left behind. “It’s horrible. I realized after we took off that all the people that didn’t get in have to now sleep right there in that train station,” he said. “It’s not heated. It’s just a giant building. It’s cold. There are kids everywhere. I’m dying inside because this is still very emotional stuff for me. There are kids everywhere. Babies everywhere. It’s negative, the temperature.”
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Maks reunited with his wife Peta Murgatroyd, 35, at the airport after landing in the U.S. on March 2. The couple shared a heartwarming embrace and celebrated Maks’ homecoming. But the father of one still feels regret he left his native country. “I feel guilty. I feel bad. I feel ashamed. I feel upset,” he said on GMA.
Furthermore, Maks said the horrific situation in Ukraine has been “very difficult to process” for him. “I cried on the way from the airport. I felt embarrassed,” he said. “I felt embarrassed the entire ride back because I was the only man on the train amongst all women and children.”
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