Maksim and Val Chmerkovskiy Share How Family Struggles Turned Into "Incredible Opportunities" for Joy

Maks Chmerkovskiy, whose second son is on the way, and first-time dad Val Chmerkovskiy, served E! News some delicious family updates while promoting their new Subway partnership.

By Natalie Finn May 01, 2023 12:00 PMTags
Watch: How Maksim & Val Chmerkovskiy's Growing Families Elevate Their Joy for Life

Maksim and Val Chmerkovskiy aren't twins—as they're quick to point out—but they can't help mirror each other.

Especially when both brothers are smiling so brightly.

"Life is awesome," Val, who welcomed son Rome with wife Jenna Johnson on Jan. 10, told E! News in an exclusive interview. Becoming a dad "definitely elevated my joy for life, my joy for my family, and every day I learn something new being a father."

Even having no choice but to learn how to drain an infant's clogged sinuses didn't dampen his joy in any way.

"I didn't know that love can extend that far," the 37-year-old quipped.

Val politely apologized for sharing that graphic detail while he and Maks, 43, were in the middle of promoting Subway's new menu items, the siblings' enjoyment of the chain dating all the way back to when they were up-and-coming dancers on the go in New York.

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But there was no quashing our appetite for more anecdotes from the doting family men (or for sandwiches, TBH).

Maks' wife Peta Murgatroyd is pregnant with their second child—they enlisted 6-year-old son Shai last week to help reveal they're having another boy—and he is finally letting himself savor what he and Val agree has been an "amazing" time for their young families.

"We really are just settling into enjoying the life and the beautiful things about this," Maks shared. "There's a lot of negativity out there, we are very much in touch with it, but we're keeping it [gesturing toward the side] out there. When I come home I also focus on how gorgeous my wife is, seven-months pregnant, and I have this beautiful puppy and this beautiful 6-year-old."

Their Moyen poodle Hachi just joined the family a few weeks ago, Peta writing on Instagram that they "probably bit off more than we can chew with another actual human arriving soon." But, she noted, their son was "obsessed."


Indeed, asked if Shai even cared anymore that he was about to be a big brother now that he has a dog, Maks divulged during his April 20 Zoom with E!: "He hasn't thought about the baby in the last four days."

Meanwhile, Maks and Val also acknowledged that, with their wives having experienced fertility issues in recent years, they're not taking any of these happy milestones for granted. 

Peta candidly spoke to E! News in January about miscarrying four times since having Shai, while Maks—who was in his native Ukraine when war broke out in 2022, sending his and Peta's stress levels skyrocketing—also told E! a few months ago that they were "very cautious" about celebrating her current pregnancy when they first found out. "We're on pins and needles," he explained then, "whether it's because of the past trauma of this process or because the world is just that type of place."

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Giving an update on how they're feeling now, though, Maks said those dark days, thankfully, feel like a long time ago.

"It seems like sort of the distant past," he said, "and it was a horrible past—but we're going to focus on the now and enjoy today, and that's what we're doing."


Val's wife Jenna also recently shared that they traveled a fraught road to first-time parenthood, telling Good Morning America in March that she suffered a miscarriage in 2021, roughly two years before Rome was born.

But Val, calling his son's arrival a "miracle," told E! that all the challenges they faced along the way turned into "incredible opportunities to find joy. That's what my family has found—and his family," he added, pointing at Maks. "We celebrate loudly but we are very careful about understanding how fortunate we are in this moment in time."

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It's also not lost on either brother how lucky they are to still have such a close bond.

"His adolescence is infinite," Val offered with a smile, his explanation as to why it feels as if Maks isn't all that much older prompting a laugh from his big brother.

Maks joked that Val loved working with him so much the first time—when Val was 12, Maks got him his first paid gig dancing at a Brooklyn restaurant where he performed—that they just kept at it. ("It was the money," Val countered, miming an aside.)

"We're related, but I also have a professional, world-level artist to create and work with," Maks further praised his sibling. "So I think I'm lucky in that sense, too, but it's very unusual, I have to admit."

David Becker/Getty Images for Bandai Namco

Though they competed against each other for years on Dancing With the Stars, it turns out they like teaming up even more—be it to tout the Subway Series menu or to perform, which they'll do next at SAVOR After Hours, a cabaret and wine-tasting event they're putting on June 3 in Napa, Calif.  

Val, who finished in second place with The Bachelorette's Gabby Windey on the most recent season of DWTS, said he plans to return for the show's 32nd season this fall. And while Maks ended his run as a full-time DWTS pro in 2018—"In that department, we're good, I don't need the chance to beat anybody," he said when asked if he ever thought about rejoining—he's enjoyed staying in that orbit as an occasional guest while his wife, brother and sister-in-law continue to compete.

"Now," Maks added, "I'm looking forward to the opportunity to maybe organize a kindergarten visit, a kids-visiting-parents type of thing."

An idea that deserves a mirror-ball trophy all on its own.

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