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We already knew that season 13 of Dancing with the Stars was an incendiary one for the hot-headed pro, Maksim Chermkovskiy. But now his partner from that season -- outspoken soccer star Hope Solo -- has described his bad behavior in much starker terms. In her new memoir, Solo: A Memoir of Hope, Solo recounts that he physically shoved and even slapped her.
"He manhandled me in rehearsals from the start, pushing me, whacking my stomach, bending my arms roughly," Solo wrote. "I thought that was just how it went -- how dancers worked with each other. I was tough. I could take it…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." Perhaps even more damning, she described an incident during rehearsals when "he slapped me across the face. Hard."
She added that incident was serious enough that even Maks realized the need to apologize, and ABC offered to drop him and get her another partner. She declined the offer. "I didn't want to end Maks' career," she added.
But she's obviously changed her mind now; this aspect of Solo's memoir has attracted enough media interest that Maks had to respond to it on Twitter. "Always hated hypocrites and liars," he tweeted, "but when someone is both AND an opportunist, I just feel bad for them. Can't win at someone's expense..."
And sources close to Maks told TMZ that he was actually shocked by her accusations. They've had dinner several times since the show ended. He claims she even offered him tickets to see her play in the Olympics, where she helped Team U.S.A win gold.
Fact is, neither Solo nor Maks is known for diplomacy. Maks has feuded with several members of the DWTS cast, most notably with judge Len Goodman during season 13, and made no apologies for his nasty comments when interviewed about them on Good Morning America.
But Solo has had her own share of professional tangles. She was kicked off the squad of the 2007 World Cup after openly criticizing the coach, Greg Ryan. And as recently as this month, she caused a stir with some Twitter attacks against her former teammate and current NBC commentator Brandi Chastain.
It seems this is a he-said-she-said quandary that won't be settled any time soon. And that's all the better for Solo's book sales.