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Friendship split: Maks Chmerkovskiy and Kirstie Alley part ways over Scientology

According to Star Magazine on July 30, the long-term friendship between “Dancing With the Stars” pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy and his Season 12 and 15 partner Kirstie Alley has come to an end. Why? It has to do with Leah Remini and the Church of Scientology.

Kirstie Alley has written off her friendship with Maks Chmerkovskiy over his friendship with Leah Remini
Kirstie Alley has written off her friendship with Maks Chmerkovskiy over his friendship with Leah Remini
Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images

Maks has been spending time with Jennifer Lopez (spending time, not dating) and her good friend Leah Remini, who completed on Season 17 with Tony Dovolani. Leah Remini fell under the lash of Kirstie’s tongue last year when she very publicly quit the Church of Scientology. (See video clip at the top of this article.) Kirstie Alley is a member of that church and one of its most vocal advocates.

In an interview on “Watch What Happens Live,” Maks tried to explain what’s going on.

“She just stopped getting along with me. I think the world of her. I’m not judging people by their religion. You know, I’m Jewish, and I don’t really believe in science fiction. We had a great relationship that…I thought we had a great relationship. If it was something else, I don’t know, but I got a message that now that I am associating with other people that she can’t be associated with, I am no longer to be spoken with, sorry, but…it is what it is.”

“I just think it’s sad that we’ve gone through so much together,” he continued. “I feel like I helped her and this is where we’re at now? But…I think the world of her and I wish her all the best.”

Maks and Kirstie almost captured the mirror ball trophy in Season 12, coming in second. She again appeared with him in the All-Star Season, Season 15, coming in seventh.

Maks recently announced that he will not return to “Dancing With the Stars” as a dancer. He didn't rule out coming back as a judge or mentor or in some other capacity, though. He explained his reasoning on “The View.”

“I saw that there were a lot of changes last season. I took a year off, I skipped two seasons and came back. I personally fell in love with the show. And that’s not something I need to say now that I’m not a part of it. It’s definitely amazing entertainment, and I think the cleanest entertainment we have left on TV. I do think it needs to stay on. I’m a big supporter of everything dance related.”

Of course, Maks being Maks, he took a little dig at the show that has paid his bills for the past 16 seasons. “My problem is…I think they’re running out of legitimate celebrities.

Season 19 of “Dancing With the Stars” premiers on Monday night, Sept. 15, at 8 p.m. eastern time on ABC.