The first night of “Dancing with the Stars” Season 29 was full of tiger stripes and claws. Carole Baskin received the lowest score of the night.


Nikki Bella is opening up about Artem Chigvintsev’s return to “Dancing With the Stars.”

During Wednesday’s episode of “The Bellas Podcast,” the former pro wrestler described to her twin sister, Brie Bella, how her fiancé became depressed after getting cut from the ABC reality dance competition last year.

Chigvintsev appeared on “Dancing With the Stars” from 2014 to 2018, but did not return for the 2019 season. This year, Chigvintsev is back on the show as pro partner to former “Bachelorette” star Kaitlyn Bristowe.

“I’ve just been on cloud nine about it, because he’s been on cloud nine,” Bella said of Chigvintsev’s return, adding he has “his pep back in his step.”

Nikki Bella says fiancé Artem Chigvintsev is happy to be back on “Dancing With the Stars.” (Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer, Getty Images)

Though her fiancé is happy to be back in the ballroom, Bella said 2020 hasn’t been without its challenges.

“This past year was really tough on him, and it was also tough on our relationship, because Artem was fighting depression,” Bella said. “He was really depressed being cut, and it was really hard for him to get past it. And he then finally found a job right before COVID hit, then he lost it, and then it brought that depression back of not being a part of ‘Dancing With the Stars.’  “

When Chigvintsev got the call to return, however, he “immediately changed,” according to Bella. 

“I felt like I had my old Artem back, the man that I fell in love with,” she continued. “To see him perform, his smile could not get any bigger, and you just felt his excitement and his love and his passion and, more than anything, his happiness. He was so happy to be back.”

‘Dancing With the Stars’ drama hits stride; Carole Baskin cries for inner pain, Kaitlyn Bristowe suffers

Bella also described what it was like seeing Chigvintsev get ready to go back on the show, revealing that his return came with some nerves.

“When he left that morning, he was nervous,” she said. “He was like, ‘It’s been a year, and I haven’t danced live, and I haven’t been back in the ballroom, and I just wanna do really well,’ and it was just really, really cute. … I could not stop smiling when I saw him perform.”

Chigvintsev’s return also got a reaction from Lady Gaga, who retweeted a video of him and Bristowe dancing a cha cha to the pop star’s song “Stupid Love.”

“Is it weird that this made me cry…I love watching people happy and dancing!” Gaga wrote.

Bella and Chigvintsev met on Season 25 of “Dancing With the Stars” in 2017, when the wrestler was paired with the Russian dancer. They finished in seventh place. Bella revealed the couple’s engagement in January, and they welcomed their first child, son Matteo Artemovich, on July 31.

Nikki and Brie Bella reveal names of their newborn babies

Contributing: Cydney Henderson


Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

Last SlideNext Slide

Read or Share this story: