Maksim Chmerkovskiy is officially back in America and in the arms of his wife after his harrowing experience in Ukraine
Fans breathed a collective sigh of relief when Ukrainian Dancing With the Stars judge Maksim Chmerkovskiy landed on U.S. soil after fleeing his country following the Russian invasion. Cameras, rather intrusively, caught the moment he and his wife Peta Murgatroyd embraced after days of uncertainty and fear.
The two shared an extended embraced in the middle of the LAX airport, Murgatroyd buried in her husband’s shoulder, a bow in her hair sporting the Ukrainian flag colors. As reporters swarmed him, Chmerkovskiy told them firmly he was still processing his whole ordeal.
“I just don’t want to resent peace somewhere else because of what I just saw, that’s the reality,” he emotionally admitted to ET. “I don’t know really what to say right this second.”
Chmerkovskiy was born and grew up in Ukraine when it was part of the Soviet Union and was in his home country as a judge for the new dancing show World of Dance. He began documenting his experience last month.
“There’s ALWAYS another way,” he captioned his first video from on the ground when the bombings began. “WAR is NEVER an answer.”
“P.S. I will never be the same,” he continued. “This is stressful and I’m getting old feelings back, like I’ve done this before. This does feel like the way it was when and why we left in the 90s. Like my old PTSD I’ve finally fixed is coming back. I literally only just forgot about those ‘always on the edge’ feelings and actually started worrying about things like BBQ grills. I’m crying as I’m typing this because all man deserves to worry about ‘BBQ grills’ and not fucking war. Hug your loved ones.”
A few days later, he declared on social media he was ready to come home, and began making his way back to L.A. (as he has dual citizenship) to come home to his wife and child.
His wife offered encouraging words as he began the journey back home.
“I love you. You will be home soon I promise. Think about how many bbq’s we are [g]oing to have,” she wrote.
Of course, not everyone thought that his return home was something to celebrate. Some are criticizing his decision to leave, as last week Ukraine banned males from 18-60 from leaving the country. And some famed Ukrainians, like heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, are returning to their homeland to fight. It’s obviously an extremely hard and personal decision based on a lot a factors — and until you’re in someone’s shoes it’s impossible to know what the experience is like.
Ultimately, Chmerkovskiy is happy to be home and with his family but later expressed to ET that the work is far from done — something we can all agree on.
“If we don’t get involved, this thing is going to go everywhere else. I think that in 2022, following this action, we have to completely rethink the way we do things as a planet. There can never again be one person who can do something like this ever again. We have to have checks and balances globally, not just one country at a time.”