It certainly has been a tumultuous year for ESPN sportscaster turned "Dancing With the Stars" contestant Erin Andrews, who has had to endure death threats and violations of her privacy at the hands of two different stalkers.
But according to her dance partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Andrews has just now broken down the barriers and realized that not everyone is out to invade her privacy.
“Now she's just a lot lighter, a lot happier, (she has) a better outlook on life and knows not everybody is that a**hole who was peeping on her, or the a**hole who threatened her life," Chmerkovskiy told Pop Tarts at the Maxim Hot 100 Party in Hollywood on Wednesday night. "When she got on 'DWTS,' she came in as somebody who got really hurt and who could put up an incredible wall around them. But now people think she is goofy and funny and sexy, and she is a girl and she likes to dress up and show off and everything else.”
And Andrews certainly hasn’t shied away from donning sexy attire on the show.
“F*** what they say, (she) has an amazing body, so she should show it,” her partner continued. “I don't care what Elisabeth (Hasselbeck) says.”
SLIDESHOW: The Lovely and Talented Erin Andrews
Hasselbeck recently came under fire on “The View” when she made comments about Andrews’ skimpy dance outfits and said that if one of her alleged stalkers had just waited twelve weeks, he could have avoided prison time. Andrews was reportedly incredibly upset about the remarks, and Hasselbeck later issued a teary apology on air.
And although Chmerkovskiy says that the incident is now “water under the bridge,” he still got pretty fired up about the TV host’s hurtful comments toward his partner.
“I love her and I think she's amazing and she deserves to be happy and not give a s**t about what people say,” he said of Andrews. “We went from business acquaintances to a partnership and friendship and she's amazing and I just want to be there for her because I've seen what she's been going through. Seeing tears in a woman's eyes is never easy for me. Seeing someone cry for something so unfair has been difficult. I've just tried to make this a fun and exciting season for her and put a smile back on her face.”
And despite his very passionate choice of words, and the fact we’ve been told by a "DWTS" insider that the two are more than just friends, Chmerkovskiy plays it coy when it comes to the dating rumors.
“What day is today? Wednesday? Today, we are separated. Usually on Tuesday's if things go well, we're married with kids. Wednesday, I have to choreograph a new dance so we'll be in the studio from 2-9 and it is like ‘bye, I just want to go’… and then Thursday we rekindle our friendship and our relationship again and then we name our kids on Saturday,” he added. “But it is what it is."
Additional reporting by Deidre Behar.