Dancing With the Stars is indirectly responsible for Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd‘s greatest gift.
The longtime dance pros and show rivals welcomed their first child, a boy, on Wednesday in New York City. They named their son Shai Aleksander Chmerkovskiy. His first name means “gift” in Hebrew. His middle name is a tribute to Maks’ father, Aleksandr.
Meeting on Broadway: Maks, a New Yorker born in what was once Soviet-ruled Ukraine, and Peta, an Australian born in New Zealand, met when they both starred with other DWTS pros in the Broadway show Burn the Floor. The show debuted in 2009, three years after Maks made his debut on season two of Dancing With the Stars.
“Arrogant” Maks? Peta’s first impression of Maks, often dubbed the “bad boy” of the ABC show, was not very positive.
“I thought he was arrogant,” Peta told People. “I learned to like him because I found out he wasn’t that arrogant. He was really generous to the entire cast, and our friendship grew and grew.”
Best Sponsor: “He sponsored me for my first visa,” she added. “I came to him as a friend and said, ‘What do I do?’ I didn’t expect he would go that far for me.”
Awkward When he began starring in Burn the Floor, Maks was involved with Dancing With the Stars pro Karina Smirnoff. They got engaged on New Year’s Day 2009 and broke up soon after the show opened. Peta was dating another Burn the Floor dancer and fellow Australian Dancing With the Stars pro, Damian Whitewood.
Maks and Peta’s attraction grew over their years as colleagues. She told People that “there was nothing ever done about it” because he was engaged to Karina and she was dating Damian.
Maks & Peta Start to Date: Peta joined Dancing With the Stars as a member of the dance troupe in 2011. The following year, she became a cast member and she and Maks began dating.
And They’re Back Together: Maks and Peta reconciled in 2015.
Engaged! Maks proposed to Peta onstage in December 2015 at the SWAY: A Dance Trilogy event at the Olympia Theater, in front of fellow pro dancers and past celebrity contestants, including Olympian Meryl Davis, who won season 18 of Dancing With the Stars with him.
“For years I knew Peta is the one for me,” Maks told E! News. “She is the perfect fit with my family and she has made me a very happy man.”
The two also told E! News they plan to wed in July 2017 and that they had already picked a venue.
“We deliberately have it in July so it doesn’t conflict with any of the seasons, so we can bring our past partners and our troupe of dancers and stuff like that,” Peta said.
She also talked about expanding their family.
“Absolutely, we want kids,” she said.
Oh, Baby! Five months later, in May 2016, it was revealed Maks and Peta were expecting their first child. A source told E! News the two had been trying to start a family for a while.
Baby Boy! In July, E! News learned Maks and Peta were expecting a son. The two had also dropped hints about their child’s sex on Instagram.
Pregnancy Journey: Maks and Peta documented their road to parenthood on Instagram, sharing photos of her baby bump and even a funny video of the aftermath of an embarrassing moment: The time they got kicked out of a childbirth class.
“We got kicked out because Peta was misbehaving and not listening to anything,” Maks said, adding jokingly, “That’s what happens. This baby’s gonna be a disaster.”
Back to New York: In late 2016, Maks and Peta traveled to Brooklyn in New York City, where his parents live, to prepare for their son’s birth.
Baby Shower: In December, Maks and Peta celebrated their upcoming arrivals with friends at a baby shower in NYC. Guests included his brother and fellow Dancing With the Stars pro Val Chmerkovskiy and Maks’ recent DWTS partner and model Amber Rose.
“The love in the room was apparent and all the babies made us feel at ease about bringing a kid into this crazy world,” Maks wrote on Instagram. “If our children are half as close as we have been through the years, they will have a large family of loyal friends to fall back on!”
Almost Baby Time: Almost two days before their son’s birth, Maks posted on his Instagram page a photo of Peta lounging on a hospital bed and primping while in the beginning stages of labor.
“But first…a little make up,” he wrote.