The all new cast of this season’s Dancing With the Stars was revealed this morning on Good Morning America. But one name that was missing was longtime DWTS star Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
The 33-year-old Ukrainian, who had been with the show since its second season, will not be returning this season and released a statement regarding his departure after the full cast was revealed this morning.
"I just want to set the record straight to all of my amazing fans that I will unfortunately not be returning for this season of Dancing With the Stars," Chmerkovskiy said. "I've been a pro dancer on the show for about seven years now and am eager to explore other opportunities that have been made possible because of Dancing With the Stars. I'm going to take this time to dive into producing and acting, while fulfilling my sponsorship obligations. A big thank you to all of my fans for your never-ending support. I also want to thank the entire cast and production of Dancing With the Stars."
Chmerkovskiy’s contract with DWTS expires at the end of 2013.
Rumors on whether he would return to season 16 of the show were rife in September when the dancer told the New York Post that he would be moving on from DWTS. "What else do I have to do there after 15 seasons? It makes total sense. The audience can't expect for me to want to stick around, and the producers can't expect for me to want to stick around." He added: "To be honest with you, at 32, I am at what-about-me time.'"
He also revealed to the newspaper that other DWTS dancers, including himself, become frustrated when their celebrity partners end up more in the spotlight than them. "Essentially, 80% of our job is to give somebody another push in their career. Or we make them into likable characters. But at the end of the day, they go off and they better themselves." He continued: "I wish them the next 50 years of success. But I have to do something else. I need to move on for me.”
Other big names that were missing from the list were Anna Trebunskaya, Chelsie Hightower and Louis van Amstel.
Last year, Olympic athlete Hope Solo stated in her memoir that Chmerkovskiy, her former DWTS partner, had “slapped” her “hard” during a dance rehearsal. "He manhandled me in rehearsals from the start, pushing me, whacking my stomach, bending my arms roughly. I thought that was just how it went -- how dancers worked with each other," Solo wrote in her book. "But it kept getting worse. One day, Maks was trying to put me in a certain position and hit my stomach so hard with his open palm that I had a red handprint there for the rest of the day."
The full list of DWTS season 16 cast can be seen below:
Singer Wynonna Judd dancing with Tony Dovolani
Actor D.L. Hughley dancing with Cheryl Burke
NFL wide receiver Jacoby Jones dancing with Karina Smirnoff
Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Lisa Vanderpump dancing with Gleb Savchenko
Actor Andy Dick dancing with Sharna Burgess
Boxer Victor Ortiz dancing with Lindsay Arnold
Shake It Up! star Zendaya Coleman dancing with Val Chmerkovskiy
Gymnast Aly Raisman dancing with Mark Ballas
Actor Ingo Rademacher dancing with Kym Johnson
Singer Kellie Pickler dancing with Derek Hough
Figure skater Dorothy Hamill dancing Tristan MacManus
Watch GMA's announcement of DWTS cast below: