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Where is former 'Dance Moms' star Abby Lee Miller now?

Miller's dance studio helped launch the careers of JoJo Siwa and Maddie Ziegler, but her actions drew controversy.
/ Source: TODAY

It's been nearly five years since "Dance Moms" went off the air, but nostalgic fans who want to catch up with the reality show's cast members can tune into the two-hour Lifetime special “Dance Moms: The Reunion" on May 1.

Several of the show's dancers — including JoJo Siwa, Chloe Lukasiak, Kendall Vertes, Kalani Hilliker and sisters Brooke and Paige Hyland — will reunite alongside their moms to share their complicated memories of their years as students at the Abby Lee Dance Company.

The dance school was run by the notoriously strict Abby Lee Miller, arguably one of reality TV's most demanding figures.

Miller became famous for her brusque style, with some former students, including "West Side Story" star Maddie Ziegler, later accusing the teacher of facilitating a “toxic environment" in an interview with Cosmopolitan.

Since then, she's grappled with cancer diagnoses and jail time. Here’s everything we know about what Abby Lee Miller has been up in the lead-up to "Dance Moms's" conclusion, and after.

2017-2018: Miller serves prison time

Miller grappled with legal and medical issues during “Dance Moms” later seasons.

She served eight months in prison from 2017 to 2018 after being convicted of concealing assets from the bankruptcy court, and with one count of failing to report an international currency transaction, according to the Department of Justice.

She had pleaded not guilty in October 2015 to concealing $755,000 in income that U.S. investigators say she earned from “Dance Moms” and spinoffs. 

May 2018: Miller is diagnosed with cancer

In 2018, Miller was diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma, an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, after undergoing an emergency surgery to treat an infection in her spine. Miller has used a wheelchair since the diagnosis.

May 2019: Miller announces she is cancer free

In May 2019, a year after being diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma, Miller told People that her cancer was "completely gone."

Miller explained that she underwent ten rounds of chemotherapy and months of rehabilitation in the hopes that she might one day walk again.

"I’m more than grateful. I’m thankful. I was always grateful but I think I must say ‘Thank you’ a hundred times a day because I have to rely on strangers; someone to open the door, someone to get the hanger off the rack at the department store, someone to pick up my phone if I drop it. How am I supposed to get it? I’m very grateful and thankful to strangers that have been so kind," said Miller.

June 2020: Lifetime axes Miller's series 'Abby’s Virtual Dance Off' following accusations of racism

After "Dance Moms" wrapped in 2019, Miller was set to continue her relationship with Lifetime in the new reality series “Abby’s Virtual Dance Off."

But after Adriana Smith, mother of season eight “Dance Moms” star Kamryn Smith, accused Miller of making racist comments during filming of the show, Lifetime announced it would not air Miller's new 12-part series.

Adriana Smith said in an Instagram post that Miller once told her daughter during filming, ‘I know you grew up in the HOOD with only a box of 8 crayons, but I grew up in the Country Club with a box of 64 — don’t be stupid.’”

Smith, who later pulled her daughter off the program, also recalled Miller telling her daughter that she and her mom were cast on the show to add a “sprinkle of color.”

Miller apologized for her remarks in her own Instagram post, writing, in part, "I realize that racism can come not just from hate, but also from ignorance. No matter the cause, it is harmful and it is my fault."

She did not deny Smith's allegations in her apology.

June 2022: Miller responds after former student Maddie Ziegler says her dance studio was 'toxic'

In June 2022, Miller expressed disbelief after former "Dance Moms" star Maddie Ziegler told Cosmopolitan that Miller created a "toxic environment" in her dance studio.

Ziegler, who later found fame dancing in videos for pop star Sia and appearing in the 2021 remake of "West Side Story," added that she had no plans to ever speak to Miller again.

Miller responded to Ziegler’s comments in a video on her YouTube channel, saying Ziegler was “a kid I loved.”

“What I don’t understand about the pressure, the ‘toxic’ situation — if it was so toxic, why did you keep doing it?” Miller asked, adding, “I tried to quit many a time, and I was forced to come back to set because I signed a contract.”

Miller went on to say that she had no idea that Ziegler was unhappy as her student, noting that the young dancer came into the studio at all hours to train.

“I thought she wanted to be there ... If she said, ‘I don’t want to go, I’m not going,’ kicking and screaming, stomping her feet, I’m sure her mother wouldn’t have brought her — or she would have come and talked to me about it. She never did that,” said Miller.

January 2023: Miller confirms she sold the Abby Lee Dance Studio in Pittsburgh

Miller confirmed in a Jan. 25, 2023 Instagram video that she'd sold the Abby Lee Dance Studio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which was the location for "Dance Moms."

“It is very bittersweet for me,” said Miller, adding, “I sold my property. I didn’t sell my name. I didn’t sell my brand. I didn’t sell my life’s work. I sold brick, mortar, cinder blocks and an amazing dance floor that is still in mint condition.” 

Miller decided to sell the property because she was no longer teaching dance exclusively in Pittsburgh, she said. She also revealed that the building would become a daycare center.

“I loved every moment in that studio — even some of the rough ones and the heartbreaking ones,” she said. “They were important to me. All good things come to an end.”

March 2023: Miller teases a new reality series

Miller shared her plans to return to reality TV while speaking to "Entertainment Tonight" in March 2023. The dance instructor told ET that she was working on a series, which was not yet attached to a network or streaming service, that would be a "dramatic" new version of "Dance Moms."

“It’s not like I’m going back. This is all new,” said Miller. “It’s classic ‘Abby Lee Miller’ but there are little ones and their moms, and the talent is nuts.”

Miller added that the new series would feature older students as well younger ones, promising that viewers would see her go “toe to toe with the older girls themselves.” 

“You don’t go home crying to Mom ... you’re 17, either you’re going to do this for a living ... or quit,” said Miller. “The parents aren’t really involved when they get older, they just send a check in.”

June 2023: Miller launches a podcast

In June 2023, Miller debuted a podcast called “Leave It On The Dance Floor," which features Miller and her guests recapping fan-favorite episodes of "Dance Moms" as well as discussing other moments from Miller's teaching career.

October 2023: Miller appears as a guest on 'House of Villains'

In October 2023, Miller appeared as a guest star on the E! reality series "House of Villains."

The show, which also featured guest appearances by Spencer Pratt, Danielle Staub and Carole Baskin, pitted some of reality TV's most memorable villains against one another to compete for the chance to win a cash prize of $200,000 and the title of America’s Ultimate Supervillain.

She did not win.

December 2023: Miller shares a trailer for the potential new reality series

On Dec. 7, 2023, Miller shared a trailer for a potential new series called “Abby Lee Dance with Me" on her official YouTube channel. The 40-second clip kicked off with throwback footage from "Dance Moms" and a voiceover from Miller telling viewers, "I'm back."

April 2024: Miller's former 'Dance Moms' students say they're grateful she didn't participate in the reunion

On April 30, 2024, Miller shared an updated version of the trailer for her potential new reality series on Instagram.

"I can’t wait to share this incredible talent with the World! A great big hug goes out to all the wonderfully talented kids who were selected to participate in this show! I loved working with each and every one of you!" Miller wrote in her caption.

The same day, TV Insider published an interview with several of Miller's former "Dance Moms" students revealing they were grateful Miller didn't participate in Lifetime's new special "Dance Moms: The Reunion," airing May 1.

“I think it was best having it just be us girls and being able to really open up to each other. I think if she was there, none of us would have been able to," said Kalani Hilliker, noting that she personally wouldn’t have been “as open and vulnerable” had Miller be on the reunion's set.

Paige Hyland, whose mother Kelly was arrested after hitting Miller’s face during an altercation on Season Four of the show, said she would have refused to participate in the reunion if Miller had been present. This marked the end of Paige and Brooke Hyland’s time on the show. 

Charges were dropped against Kelly Hyland in 2015.

“The whole point was for it to be a safe space for us to open up and reflect, and I feel like it would have been the same thing where we would have been scared to say anything,” she explained.