10:15am PT by Erin Carlson
Hope Solo on Former 'DWTS' Partner Maks Chmerkovskiy: 'He Slapped Me Across the Face'
Hope Solo is opening up about her tumultuous relationship with former Dancing With the Stars partner Maks Chmerkovskiy, alleging that he slapped her face and hit her stomach during rehearsals for the ABC dance competition.
In her new book, Solo: A Memoir of Hope, the Olympic gold medalist -- who helped take the U.S. women's soccer team to victory during the London games -- says Chmerkovskiy was physically abusive during her 2011 run on the show.
"He was often nasty, swearing at me and being harshly critical," Solo writes, via USA Today. "I didn't like being treated like that, but I could take it. ... 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."
According to Solo, the other pro dancers were shocked to watch Chmerkovskiy's rough treatment of her during rehearsal, resulting in Derek Hough subbing in to help her with her routine.
At one point, she recalls, he lashed out during practice for the Halloween episode: "He wanted my head in a specific position. To achieve that, he slapped me across the face. Hard."
Chmerkovskiy apologized and she turned down ABC's offer of a new partner, she writes, noting that she "didn't want to end Maks' career" and appear a "prima donna" in the process. Footage of the slap was seen by Chmerkovskiy and never aired, she says.
Reps for Chmerkovskiy and ABC had no comment.
"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," Chmerkovskiy tweeted Thursday, adding: "Life's best lessons are the ones that you smile through.....while they hurt you the most! I'm bullet proof....FIRE AWAY."
His other previous partners have included Erin Andrews and Kirstie Alley. Next month, season-12 duo Alley and Chmerkovskiy reteam for the All-Stars season of Dancing With the Stars.
On Thursday, Alley, who's close with Chmerkovskiy, tweeted: "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."
At one point, Solo and Chmerkovskiy were "good friends" too, and weeks before the Olympics' official kickoff, she invited him to London via Twitter, a source tells THR.