Peta Murgatroyd and Maks Chmerkovskiy are opening up about pregnancy loss as they try to expand their family.
The couple, known for their footwork on Dancing With the Stars, revealed to People magazine that Murgatroyd suffered three miscarriages over the last two years. The most recent was when Chmerkovskiy, her husband since 2017, was abroad in Ukraine.
“I definitely wanted to keep my miscarriages a deep dark secret for the rest of my life,” the Australian pro dancer, 35, admitted. However, in opening up about her struggle, “I feel like I can breathe now. I feel like I’m not carrying this … backpack of trauma. I can let this secret out and have everybody know.” Especially people on social media, who she said ask her “every single day” when she’ll have another child.
Murgatroyd — who shares son Shai, 5, with Chmerkovskiy — said they have been trying to expand their family for years. She’s even traveled across the globe, from their home base in Malibu, Calif., in hopes of conceiving while her husband was abroad shooting the reality competition series World of Dance Ukraine.
She shared her heartbreak after suffering her first miscarriage in a Whole Foods bathroom stall in the fall of 2020.
“It was so shocking,” said Murgatroyd, who was five weeks pregnant at the time. “I had walked” [into the store] And it just all started happening… I was sitting in the bathroom sobbing. I’m surprised nobody walked in because I was crying so heavily and wailing, one of those deep cries. That was something that will probably live with me for the rest of my life, being on that toilet by myself, knowing what was happening and not being able to stop it.”
Murgatroyd said she felt “completely embarrassed, ultimately ashamed” — and Chmerkovskiy called it the lowest point in their relationship. “I think the darkest part is when the person you are in love with calls you and she says that she had a miscarriage in the bathroom, that’s as dark as it can get,” he said.
Murgatroyd said she spent “months and months” crying wondering what she had done wrong. “I’m somebody who prides herself on health wellness. I exercise every single day. But as I came to realize, that doesn’t really go hand-in-hand with the reproductive system.”
Nine months later, Murgatroyd said was pregnant again and things were looking up. She planned to fly to New York, where Chmerkovskiy, 42, was working, to surprise him with the news. Just before she was set to fly out, she miscarried again.
“I had to call him and say, ‘It’s happened again,'” she recalled. “This was the first time that I heard him get really upset, which was hard to hear because I know how it affects him too.”
The couple, with their son, recently attended the baby shower of their DWTS pal Sharna Burgess, who is expecting her first child with Brian Austin Green:
Last October, it happened again. She explained that leading up to it, she had traveled to Ukraine, where Chmerkovskiy was judging the country’s version of DWTS, with the hope of conceiving. Unaware they were successful, she returned home and got COVID. She said her body was apparently unable to fight off the illness and sustain the early stages of her pregnancy.
She recalled calling the paramedics from the floor of her son’s bedroom because she was completely unable to move. At the hospital, Murgatroyd said the doctor asked if she knew she was pregnant. Chmerkovskiy, on speakerphone and unable to hear the entire exchange, began to celebrate — until the doctor clarified that Murgatroyd had already lost the baby.
“To not be there [with her]…” Chmerkovskiy said. “It makes you feel helpless.”
The couple has since been working with a team of fertility doctors and have started in vitro fertilization. Murgatroyd was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal imbalance that can cause ovulation issues, leading to infertility. PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertilityaffecting 6% to 12% (as many as 5 million) of US women of reproductive age.
“I’m in a much happier place. I got answers,” said Murgatroyd, who is optimism they’ll be able to give Shai a sibling. “I don’t have any other words but hope and positivity. I’m crossing my fingers that this is going to work.”
Chmerkovskiy added, “I try to do my best in supporting Peta. I’m a changed man because of this experience. I think that if you look around, you will find that most of your friends have had issues [trying to conceive]. I realized that this is more common and this is not being talked about.”
Earlier this year, Chmerkovskiy was in Ukraine shooting the dance show as Russia invaded and the war broke out. Chmerkovskiy, who was born in the country but immigrated to the US at age 14, documented what he saw and his journey fleeing the country. The couple’s emotional reunion in Los Angeles was captured on camera.
“Those eight to nine days that he was there, was like — I thought he was gonna die for sure because he couldn’t get out of Kyiv,” Murgatroyd said earlier this month. And that was the hardest thing. Those eight days were so long, tedious.”