The nearly fatal first date of 'Dancing With the Stars' pros Val Chmerkovskiy and Jenna Johnson: 'She almost ran me over'

It wasn’t until a fateful — and nearly fatal — first date between Jenna Johnson Val Chmerkovskiy that the pair realized they could be more than just dance partners.

“Our first official date was pretty spontaneous,” Johnson tells Yahoo Lifestyle. However, Chmerkovskiy says it was maybe more hazardous: “I was crossing the street on Melrose Ave, she almost ran me over.”

Unperturbed, Chmerkovskiy quickly followed the incident up with an invitation for Johnson to come over to his house later that evening for a less treacherous activity. “She came over, I taught her how to play chess, and that was our first date,” he says.


Back on set of the ABC television series, the couple kept their relationship under wraps, sharing that they wanted to be known for their dancing and didn’t want their personal lives to interfere with that.

It took a few years for the on-again, off-again couple to embrace and celebrate their “unconventional” relationship. “We come from very different worlds,” Chmerkovskiy says, having grown up in New York while Jenna was raised in Utah. “For us to both meet in Hollywood is a very very unique coincidence. It’s one that I’m very grateful for.”

Finally, the couple let fans in on their secret in 2017 with photos on Instagram. Nearly one year later in June 2018, Chmerkovskiy and Johnson were engaged.


“I love him so much but he’s pretty incapable of planning anything ahead,” Johnson says of the unforeseen engagement. “We were in Venice, and basically I went through all of his bags and didn’t see [a ring] and so I was like, I’m just gonna enjoy the trip.”

Little did she know that Chmerkovskiy had arranged an extravagant proposal and had the ring tucked away in his backpack.

“We were sitting in this cafe and I had like three undercover cameras,” Chmerkovskiy explains of the moment that has since been seen on Instagram. “I was in Venice 15 years ago and I promised myself that when I meet the love of my life this was where I was going to propose, and here I am proposing.”

Now, the two are looking forward to a 2019 wedding and the rest of their lives together — starting with a Dancing With the Stars: Live! tour that begins in December, and goes into the beginning of the new year. In the meantime, be sure to check the couple out in the Dancing With the Stars season 27 finale on Monday night at 8/7c.


“This will be the first time that we’ll be on tour together officially as a couple, and now we’re engaged!” Johnson says. “He’s like my favorite dance partner.”

Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:

How Fox News’ Dana Perino met her husband by chance on an airplane: ‘He’s cute, and he’s not wearing a wedding ring, and he has a British accent’
‘GMA Day’ co-host Sara Haines met her husband on OkCupid — and he had no idea she was famous
Why ‘Love and Hip Hop Hollywood’ star Ray J proposed to his wife, Princess Love, twice

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