Celebrity

Category: Dancing with the Stars

Jaleel White downplays 'DWTS' dust-up with Kym Johnson

Jaleel WhiteJaleel White wouldn't have you believe everything you read -- and by the way, he's learning a lot lately about the tabloid culture that's evolved since his sitcom days playing Steve Urkel.

The "Dancing With the Stars" contestant and former "Family Matters" star said Monday night after the show that a report he'd gone ballistic on partner Kym Johnson during rehearsals "was completely exaggerated," People said.

"He was just stressed out and ready to snap," a source told the mag.

"I'm a sitcom generation kid," said White, 35. "I'm not used to all this tabloid stuff."

According to Us Weekly, White snapped at Johnson after he stepped on her foot in rehearsal and she cried "ouch." He reportedly "got in her face" and called her names until fellow competitor Donald Driver and pro dancer Mark Ballas got involved, with White allegedly saying to Ballas, "'You remind me of that annoying sitcom neighbor who gets into everyone's business!'"

(Couldn't have said it better with a script.)

"The producers stepped in and broke it up before it got physical, but they were really going at it -- right up in each other's faces!" Us Weekly's source said.

White was extremely emotional after his "personal story" performance Monday night, tearing up on camera after his dance and saying with some difficulty that he was "just glad to get through this week." He danced a rumba meant to invoke his Urkel character's cool alter-ego Stefan Urquelle, whom he played during the seventh "Family Matters" season, when he was 19.

In rehearsal footage and together in the ballroom, White and Johnson appeared to get along well.

"This competition is very, very stressful," he told CNN later Monday. "Everyone has good weeks and bad weeks. This is the first time we had four days to learn a dance, it was personal story week so I think it was stressful, but we're fine. We're absolutely fine."

Said veteran dancer Ballas: "These things happen. This show is a competitive show. Things get heated. ... This got severely twisted."

White last week addressed allegations in Star magazine from an ex-girlfriend -- the mother of his child -- that he physically and verbally abused her. "The allegations made against me back in 2010 have suspiciously resurfaced in time to coincide with my new show on SyFy and 'Dancing With the Stars,'" he said in a statement. "Bridget Hardy has consistently shown a knack for timing throughout our child custody disputes."

He told People the claims were originally made in a "malicious police report" that was filed as part of their custody battle.

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— Christie D'Zurilla
Twitter.com/dzurillaville
Christie D'Zurilla on Google+

Photo: Jaleel White in January. Credit: Dan Steinberg / Associated Press


Martina Navratilova on 'DWTS': 'My nerves just got the best of me'

Martina Navratilova with Tony Dovolani on "Dancing With the Stars"

Martina Navratilova on Monday became a member of another elite group, joining Paulina Porizkova, Shannen Doherty, David Hasselhoff and a handful of others in the ranks of the folks first voted off "Dancing With the Stars."

But you won't hear the tennis legend complaining after the fact about her dip into what she called the "challenging sport" of pro dancing, as seen on the ABC show's 13th season.

"I gave it my all, and if I've inspired even one person, then it was all worth it," she told Sports Now on Wednesday after the "DWTS" results show Tuesday night.

She didn't blame a toe injury for her brain hiccup during Monday night's performance. "I think my nerves just got the best of me, and I just blanked for a second. I think I recovered pretty well too; it's just this season's cast is sooooo talented and the competition was fierce!"

"It allowed me to face down one of my biggest fears, and even though I didn't get the votes this week, I still feel like I really accomplished something," she said. "And not just putting on high heels and getting dressed up.

"I really felt like I learned to dance and I can walk away with my head held high knowing that I worked my tail off."

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Perfect 30s for J.R. Martinez? 'Not bad for a guy with a butt graft'

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— Christie D'Zurilla
Twitter.com/dzurillaville
Christie D'Zurilla on Google+

Photo: Martina Navratilova and partner Tony Dovolani perform on "Dancing With the Stars" on Monday. Credit: Adam Taylor / ABC.



Chaz Bono and Jennifer Elia have called off engagement, split up

Chaz-bono-engagement

Chaz Bono and Jennifer Elia have called off their engagement -- in fact, after six years together, they've called off their whole relationship.

"Thanks for your concern about our separation," the "Dancing With the Stars" contestant and transgender activist wrote Monday on Twitter. "I'm doing fine, and we remain on good terms with nothing but respect and affection 4 each other."

The couple had been engaged for two years, but a spotlight was trained on them recently before the Nov. 28 air date of the documentary "Being Chaz," which included a scene in which Bono, 42, had finally presented Elia with a diamond ring.

PHOTOS: Celebrity splits

"Being Chaz" was a follow-up to "Becoming Chaz," the Emmy-nominated documentary that followed the transgender process of the former Chastity Bono. Bono and Elia -- who has said she's bisexual -- had previously put off getting married until Bono's transgender process was completed.

The only child of Sonny Bono and Cher, who was declared a man in May 2010, lasted six weeks on the most recent "DWTS" cycle.

Though Elia stayed with Bono through "DWTS" and through the "Being Chaz" air date, we can't help but think of Paris Hilton, who confirmed that her relationship with Cy Waits had been kaput for a while, with that detail being kept (strategically?) mum until right after a drama-queen episode of "The World According to Paris" in which she'd slapped her beloved in the face.

Waits was "not used to this lifestyle, the media and being on a show," an E! News source said in explaining the reportedly mutual and amicable split. Elia had to handle those pressures as well, with the added challenge of helping her girlfriend become her boyfriend along the way.

That said, in Waits' defense, Elia wasn't called upon to hold any knife-wielding "fans" at gunpoint until the cops showed up.

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Chaz Bono puts a ring on it, icing his engagement to fiancee Jennifer Elia

-- Christie D'Zurilla
Twitter.com/dzurillaville

Photo: Jennifer Elia and Chaz Bono in September. Credit: Noel Vasquez / Getty Images

 


J.R. Martinez, Diana Gonzalez-Jones are expecting a baby girl

J.R. Martinez

J.R. Martinez, winner of the "Dancing With the Stars" mirror-ball trophy, has another prize on the way: He and girlfriend Diana Gonzalez-Jones are expecting a baby daughter.

"Not everything in life unfolds #traditionally just count your #blessings along the way and keep your #integrity," Martinez said Monday on Twitter. The baby is due in the spring.

The 28-year-old Iraq war veteran told People the news Saturday, revealing, "Diana has a little baby bump now and it's the cutest thing ever."

The two met in 2008, according to the mag, when she was an assistant to the "All My Children" exec producer and he landed a role on the show. They were friends first, then became romantically involved last year. Gonzalez-Jones could be seen weekly in the "DWTS" audience, rooting for her beau.

Martinez, who's been tapped as grand marshal of this January's Tournament of Roses Parade, told People on Monday that he wants to get his daughter into sports -- he played high school football -- and teach her that "she can do anything and be anything she wants to be."

Let's hope dance video games don't count as a sport, because, like soccer star Hope Solo before her, Miss Baby J.R. might one day take Daddy to town.

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-- Christie D'Zurilla
Twitter.com/dzurillaville

Photo: J.R. Martinez onstage at the 2011 Tri-Union Diversity Awards held by SAG, Actors' Equity and AFTRA in L.A. on Nov. 7. Credit: Valerie Macon / Getty Images


Chaz Bono puts a ring on it, icing engagement to Jennifer Elia

Chaz Bono and Jennifer Elia

Chaz Bono and girlfriend Jennifer Elia have been engaged for a while now, but on a clear day recently in Seattle, the "Dancing With the Stars" contestant made it very official with the gift of a sparkling engagement ring.

The big moment will be shown Sunday night in the one-hour special "Being Chaz," a follow-up to "Becoming Chaz," the Emmy-nominated documentary that followed Bono's transgender process.

While calling the ring "gorgeous," "stunning" and "huge," a thankful Elia didn't have to say yes: The couple have been engaged for two years, but put off getting married until Bono's transgender process was complete.

Bono, who lasted six weeks on the most recent "Dancing With the Stars" cycle, revealed on the show's finale last week that since his elimination he'd been backstage each week cheering on the remaining contestants. On the finale, Bono did a number with partner Lacey Schwimmer and her father, Buddy Schwimmer, celebrating dancers of the not-so-slim variety; the routine was set to the tune "Big and Chunky" from "Madagascar 2."

Elia, who has said she's bisexual, told CNN's Piers Morgan in May that she finds her fiance more attractive as a man.

"Being Chaz" airs at 8 p.m. Sunday on OWN. The former Chastity Bono, child of Cher and Sonny Bono, was legally declared a man in May 2010. 

 

ALSO:

Chaz Bono speaks out -- in a much lower voice

Cha-cha-chatting with Chaz Bono after his 'DWTS' debut [Video]

Cher's footprint ceremony is typically low-key, with a busload of Chilean miners and a G-string

-- Christie D'Zurilla
Twitter.com/dzurillaville

Photo: Jennifer Elia and Chaz Bono at the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards in L.A. on Sept. 10. Credit: Chris Pizzello / Associated Press



J.R. Martinez: Perfect 30s? 'Not bad for a guy with a butt graft'

J.R. Martinez on "Dancing With the Stars"

J.R. Martinez racked up the first perfect scores on Season 13 of "Dancing With the Stars" on Monday with his waltz and an "instant jive," and the Ministry of Gossip has one thing to say: "Not bad for a guy with a butt graft."

That's actually how Martinez put it when we spoke to him early in the season, when he was hoping the audience would be able to look past his Army-veteran story and start to think of him as "a really good dancer."

That time, clearly, has come for 28-year-old Jose Rene Martinez.

Martinez's athleticism has been apparent since he jumped into the jive in Week 3. "I just jumped, I had so much energy, I got lost in the energy," he said. Until friends told him to look at the picture ABC was sending around, "I didn't realize I got that high and stretched!"

His war injuries didn't trip him up until the foxtrot, prior to which he'd had no issues with dancing. That week, however, "I found out there is one thing. My right arm, I can't supinate completely with it." He explained that for the vocabulary-impaired: "I broke my arm [in action] and I have a plate there, so I can't turn my palm up all the way ... and when I'm holding Karina [Smirnoff] my thumb has a tendency to be in a bad place, and it hurts her." So they were figuring out a less painful work-around.

That was the only time, however, when @knowjr said he couldn't carry out the full motion as instructed. "Karina told me, 'You could re-break it' -- I said, 'I don't think that's in my contract!'" Supination aside, they scored 26 out of 30 that week.

Despite rehearsing with partner Smirnoff at a different venue than most of the gang, Martinez is in the final five with two contestants he's gotten along with along the way: Hope Solo and Rob Kardashian. He said he has the same sense of humor that Kardashian has, but with Solo, it got personal.

At a promotional event for the Just Dance video game, Solo "actually beat me," he said. "Not once, she beat me twice." Perhaps his pair of 30s Monday night were payback?

But back to that story, which even "a really good dancer" is unlikely to shed: In April 2003 in Iraq, Martinez was burned over 40% of his body when his jeep hit a land mine, requiring 33 surgeries over 34 months.

In addition to taking a few days' work on "All My Children" and turning it into a 169-episode gig, he's done a lot of motivational speaking with burn victims and others, plus the troops, aiming to "be a light, in this difficult process of coming home." As noted on "DWTS," he's also crossed paths with Gary Sinise and his Lt. Dan Band, who have toured with the USO -- an organization Martinez has hooked up with domestically as a speaker.

And now he has the dancing.

"Tell them I want to go on a damned USO tour! Over there, now," said an enthusiastic Martinez. "USO, what's up?! Take me!"

Not bad for a guy with a butt graft. Check out Martinez's Monday night waltz, below.

 

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-- Christie D'Zurilla
Twitter.com/dzurillaville

Photo: J.R. Martinez jumps into his first "Dancing With the Stars" jive on Sept. 26 in Los Angeles. Credit: Adam Taylor / ABC / Associated Press



Chaz Bono: Cha-cha-chatting after 'DWTS' debut [Video]

Chaz Bono and Lacey Schwimmer rehearse for Dancing With the Stars

"Dancing With the Stars" fans who wanted to see Chaz Bono in action with Lacey Schwimmer had to stay up late Monday night: The heavily hyped duo were the final performers on the 12-dance "DWTS" season 13 premiere.

Bono didn't seem too sure of things in the clip leading up the the performance. "Being in your 40s, and overweight, it kills my body," he said. "I really wanna not suck."

Mama Cher, however, was stoked when the music was over, tweeting, "WOW! HOW GREAT WAS MY SON! THE GREATEST THING, GREATEST THING, GREATEST THING NO MATTER WHAT! WHAT! WHAT! HES A WINNER! I Was So Nervous!"

The judges were also receptive, giving the two a score of 17 on a night when the numbers ranged from 14 (Ron Artest, newly renamed Metta World Peace) to a couple of 22s (singer Chynna Phillips, actor-veteran J.R. Martinez). Comments included

The Ministry's vote for contestant most likely to be spotted walking on air in the near future, however, goes to the boyish David Arquette, who appeared to thoroughly enjoy his time on the dance floor -- as well as the presence in the audience of daughter Coco, with estranged but smiling wife Courtney Cox.

Check out Chaz and Lacey's post-game interview with ABC, below.

 

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Cher's Hollywood footprint ceremony typically low-key, with Chilean miners and a turquoise G-string

— Christie D'Zurilla
Twitter.com/dzurillaville

Photo: Chaz Bono and Lacey Schwimmer rehearse on Sept. 7. Credit: Matt Sayles / Associated Press

 


Pia Toscano, Mark Ballas have called it quits

Pia Toscano and Mark Ballas are reportedly too busy to date one another.

Are Pia Toscano and Mark Ballas victims of their own success? The singer and the dancer — matched in prime-time competition-show heaven, or at least in the adjacent trailers that park there — have reportedly broken up because they're too busy with work.

Toscano, who competed on the most recent "American Idol," and Ballas, a pro on "Dancing With the Stars," were first seen out on the town together in April, dining at Gulfstream restaurant in Century City.

"They both decided with everything going on that they couldn't give each other what would be fair," a source told People, adding that it was a mutual decision. E! News first reported the breakup.

Ballas, who finished third last season on "DWTS" with partner Chelsea Kane, is currently rehearsing for the show's 13th season with Kristin Cavallari. Ballas previously hit the floor with Bristol Palin.

The American Idols Live! 2011 Tour, which has had Toscano and the gang on the road since early July, wraps up Tuesday in the Philippines. Toscano has also been busy working on her debut album, her rep told E!

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— Christie D'Zurilla
twitter.com/dzurillaville

Photos: Mark Ballas and Pia Toscano. Credits:  Getty Images.

 


Chaz Bono: Unlike dance fever, gender dysphoria isn't catching

Chaz Bono intends to dance on "Dancing With the Stars."

Chaz Bono is under the impression that "Dancing With the Stars" is a dance show, where, like the other contestants, he intends to dance.

And though to date he's done a lot of interviews and a documentary about transgender issues and his own transition, Bono said he doesn't plan to use his "DWTS" stint as any kind of soapbox.

"I'm going to be dancing. I'm not up there talking about anything other than dancing," Bono said Tuesday on "Good Morning America." "People who don't have gender dysphoria aren't going to catch it by watching me dance on television."

He wants America to see "that I'm just a regular guy. All these ideas of, 'Children shouldn't watch me, I'm going to be confusing,' ... it's crazy." That said, "it would have made all the difference in the world in my life" had he seen a show like this, featuring someone like him, when he was growing up as Chastity Bono.

Chaz, born the daughter of Cher and the late Sonny Bono, started the gender reassignment process in March 2009, legally becoming a man in May 2010.

Bono's inclusion in the cast has sparked criticism from various corners plus calls to boycott "DWTS." It also appears to have distracted folks from the notion that producers considered pairing "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy's" Carson Kressley with a male dancer and the fact that contestant Elisabetta Canalis shacked up out of wedlock with George Clooney for years. Don't even get us started on David Arquette.

Incidentally, Bono will dance with pro Lacey Schwimmer, Kressley with Anna Trebunskaya, Canalis with Val Chmerkovskiy (brother of Maks) and Arquette with Kym Johnson.

"One of the great things about the show is you can go into it with a preconception about a celebrity, and that often changes once you see the show because you see a completely different side to them," exec producer Conrad Green told Show Tracker.

"It's a process of discovery," Green said. And in Bono's case, "We booked him because he's a great guy with an amazing story."

 

RELATED:

Chaz Bono speaks out -- happily, and in a much lower voice

Chaz Bono: Cher applauds her son's upcoming 'Dancing With the Stars' gig

Cher's Hollywood footprint ceremony typically low-key, with Chilean miners and a turquoise G-string

 — Christie D'Zurilla
twitter.com/dzurillaville

Photo: The new "Dancing With the Stars" cast includes, back row from left, Ron Artest, David Arquette, J.R. Martinez, Rob Kardashian and Chaz Bono and, seated from left, Ricki Lake, Kristin Cavallari, Chynna Phillips, Nancy Grace, Hope Solo and Elisabetta Canalis. Credit: Adam Taylor / ABC

 

 


Chaz Bono: Cher applauds her son's 'Dancing With the Stars' gig

Chaz Bono and Cher react to Dancing With the Stars casting

Chaz Bono, the first transgender "Dancing With the Stars" contestant, does have pro Lacey Schwimmer helping with choreography -- but it's nice to know that mama Cher is out there to give him some pointers too.

And how did Cher react to news that her son was climbing aboard ABC's dance show?

"She really thought it was great that I was doing it and wanted to know how I was feeling about it, if I was nervous and how it was going," Bono said Wednesday on Ryan Seacrest's radio show.

Cher also acted like a true mother hen, taking to Twitter to defend Chaz -- born Chastity Bono to the singer and the late Sonny Bono -- against critics.

"Lovelies! Chaz is Being Viciously Attacked on Blogs & Message boards about being on DWTS! This is Still America right ? It took guts 2 do it," she wrote

"I support him no matter what he chooses 2do! God! will there always be haters! It took COURAGE 2 do dwts!...Chaz has an Unlimited [supply]," she added.

That unlimited supply can be seen in action Sept. 19 when "DWTS" premieres. Chaz will take the stage against celebs including David Arquette, Elisabetta Canalis, Ricki Lake and Rob Kardashian. The new cast was announced Monday.

RELATED:

Chaz Bono is now legally a man

Hines Ward: 'Dancing With the Stars' win 'equally important' as Super Bowl victories

Cher's Hollywood footprint ceremony typically low-key, with Chilean miners and a turquoise G-string

-- Matt Donnelly
twitter.com/MattDonnelly

Left photo: Cher at the Westwood premiere of "The Zookeeper" in July. Credit: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Right photo: Chaz Bono in L.A. in April. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times


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