Fans of "Dancing With the Stars" know that soccer star Hope Solo and pro partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy didn't have the easiest time during season 13 of the ballroom bash. Not only did the two partners get frustrated with each other at times, but they also faced what fans deemed to be unfair and biased judging from the panel.
But according to Hope's new memoir, "Solo: A Memoir of Hope," things were even worse backstage. In a section devoted to "Dancing," the Olympic gold medalist claims that during one particularly tough practice session, Maks got so angry with her that "he slapped me across the face. Hard." She wrote that "he was extremely apologetic," and that her ears rang afterward. Hope also claims that the cameras were rolling during the incident (the footage later disappeared, according to her) and that ABC had offered to take Maks off the show and give her a new partner, but she declined.
And remember when Maks famously slammed the judges for their seemingly unfair scoring of Hope, telling head judge Len Goodman that he should retire? According to the soccer star, Maks had told her after his live blowup that "some secret memo" had gone around earlier saying that the pair was going to be eliminated that week, and that he was creating drama so the producers would keep them around for longer. In other words, "DWTS" fixed its own results, according to her. (The DWTSGossip Twitter account has photos of the "Dancing" section of Hope's book.)
As for that "secret memo," a show insider told us, "There was no memo stating who was going home -- simple as that. There's never been anything like that. No one knows who's going home before they even perform." The insider told us that everyone who works on the show makes guesses about who'll get eliminated based on performances and fan support, and nothing more. "But to suggest that there was an actual memo going around, detailing who would go? That is absolutely incorrect," the show source said.
Kirstie Alley, who was paired with Maks in season 12 and will dance with him again this fall for the "All-Stars" edition, took to Twitter to defend the show. "Just wanted to say..DWTS is THE most REAL show on TV..what u see is what u get.. It's tough and sparkly and 100% The REAL DEAL!!" she tweeted.
As for the accusations against her pal and dance partner? "I shall bite thine tongue, lest I get into a girl fight that I would surely lose without a hammer in my hand...;)... ouch! bloody tongue," Kirstie tweeted.
ABC had no comment.
Despite sometimes butting heads on the show, the two did seem quite friendly otherwise, especially when out of the glare of the stage lights. A source close to the situation told us that Hope even invited Maks to London to watch her play in the Olympics and that the two have had multiple dinners together.
And recently, the "DWTS" pro took to Twitter to support his former ballroom partner in her quest for Olympic gold, and congratulating her with a tweet after Team USA beat Japan.
What does the ballroom bad boy have to say in response to Hope's claims about him in her memoir? "Maks has no comment," his manager, Lizzie Grubman, told The Clicker.
In a cryptic tweet on Thursday afternoon, Maks wrote: "Always hated hypocrites and liars ... but when someone is both AND an opportunist, I just feel bad for them. Can't win at someone's expense ..." He has since stopped following Hope on Twitter.
The source with ties to the situation also branded Hope "a compulsive liar," citing an alleged altercation the goalie had with former coach Greg Ryan. In the new book, Hope says Ryan shoved her in a meeting when the women's soccer team was in China for the 2007 World Cup, an allegation that the coach has refuted.
"This allegation is completely false. I did not shove or push Hope as I’ve been accused in her book," Ryan said in a statement. "I would have been terminated immediately by USA Soccer had this allegation been true. I have openly discussed the contents of the meeting and this is the first time that this accusation has been brought to light."
As for her memoir, Hope told TODAY during an Aug. 14 inteview that the process of writing the book wasn't easy.
"It felt like I was going to counseling sessions every day when I sat down with my author," the goalkeeper told Savannah Guthrie. "But I'm happy, I'm proud of it. It is my life, and I don't shy away from my life."
-- Additional reporting by Ree Hines.
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