Photo: ABC/Eric McCandless

The winners of Dancing With The Stars season 23 have been declared, and they are Laurie Hernandez and Val Chmerkovskiy! Here are four interesting facts to know about the winning couple.

After 11 weeks of waiting, the winners of Dancing With The Stars season 23 were finally announced on Tuesday (November 22). After a grueling finale episode with mounting tensions, Laurie Hernandez and Val Chmerkovskiy were declared the winners of Dancing With The Stars. Here are four juicy facts and tidbits to know about the talented dancing duo, including what including their prize, aside from the DWTS Mirrorball trophy.

#1. Laurie Hernandez and Other Finalists Received Fat Paychecks for Their Performances

Since Dancing With The Stars is one of ABC’s most popular reality shows, it comes as no surprise that its contestants are paid well. It was revealed that DWTS season 23 contestants signed contracts of $125,000, with the pay increasing steadily the longer they stick around on the show. Dancing With The Stars contestants can easily walk away from the show with as much as $345,000. Meanwhile, each of the show’s final contestants gets an additional $100,000 for performing in the last two episodes of DWTS season 23. With so much prize money and the Mirrorball trophy, the winners are a lucky bunch!

#2. Laurie Hernandez and Val Chmerkovskiy Have Great On-Stage and Off-Screen Chemistry

It is important for the celebrities and their dance partners to have good chemistry in order for it to translate well on stage. From swapping faces on Snapchat to posting selfies together on Instagram, it is evident that Hernandez and Chmerkovskiy have become close. The friendship between the 30-year-old Ukrainian dancer and the 16-year-old Olympic gymnast is evident to audiences, and has perhaps helped them gain more votes. The popular duo have been front runners since the very beginning of the show because of their stellar careers, and have struck up a lifelong friendship in the bargain. The two dance stars definitely give us friendship goals!


#3. Laurie Hernandez’s Grandmother Passed Away From Alzheimer’s Disease Before the Semi-Finals

Hernandez’s numerous professional achievements in gymnastics include an Olympic gold and a silver medal, making it easy for one to forget that the extraordinary young woman is only 16-years-old. Her maturity and composed demeanor shone through her nuanced dance performances, and captivated millions of hearts all across the globe. However, the long and tedious DWTS journey has not been smooth-sailing for Hernandez, affectionately known as the “human emoji.” America’s sweetheart may have fooled spectators by putting on a brave front, but the teenager was battling a personal tragedy on the inside.

Laurie Hernandez and Val Chmerkovskiy

Photo: ABC/Eric McCandless

Hernandez lost her beloved grandmother who was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, right before the semi-finals. Brunilda Hernandez lived in a nursing home and her granddaughter loved her to pieces. The cameras tailed Hernandez on what would be the last time she saw her grandmother, and brought tears to millions of Americans’ eyes. She taped a segment dedicating her performance to her grandmother and paid tribute saying, “My grandma suffers from Alzheimer’s, so her memory is not that great. I kind of feel bad, I’ve been away from home, so I haven’t been able to see her as much as I used to. She’s not doing very well, but I think I’m going to see her very soon.” Sadly, one day after the interview, Brunilda Hernandez passed away, and a devastated Laurie broke down in tears after her semi-final performance.

#4. Val Chmerkovskiy Owns Six Dance Studios and an English Bulldog with His Brother 

The Ukrainian-American professional dancer and choreographer is a well-known face on the dance circuit. He won his second Mirrorball trophy on Dancing With The Stars season 23. Chmerkovskiy is the proud co-owner of six competitive dance studios under the brand name “Dance With Me,” that are located in New York and California. The 30-year-old Brooklyn native, and his brother Maksim Chmerkovskiy, are both accomplished dancers, and adopted an English Bulldog together in 2010.

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