March 16, 2012 7:20am PT by Erin Carlson
Sherri Shepherd Denies 'Dancing With the Stars' Cheating Reports
The new season of Dancing With the Stars has not yet begun, but already there's drama starring new cast member Sherri Shepherd.
Shepherd, a co-host on ABC's The View, used her TV platform to deny allegations she cheated by taking dance classes, thereby giving her an advantage over fellow contestants (even though many star contenders throughout the franchise have had dancing backgrounds).
On Thursday, Shepherd responded to a report on Radar Online claiming she had been taking lessons from pro dance Maksim Chmerkovskiy since December.
"It was incorrectly reported that Maks Chmerkovskiy my dance partner. He's not. His brother Val is my partner. We have never, I say never, danced together," she declared.
But she did 'fess up to taking some classes at Chmerkovskiy's New York dance studio before signing up for ABC competition's 14th season, which kicks off Monday. Shepherd said she was glad she took lessons because "it showed me if I was up for this challenge."
Shepherd joins an eclectic cast roster that includes Jaleel White, Gladys Knight, Maria Menounos and Gavin DeGraw.