It sounds like Dancing With the Stars pro Derek Hough was a square peg growing up in Utah, where he was bullied for being a dancer at a young age, and didn’t really find his niche until he left the country. (USA to Derek: Oops! Sorry, buddy!)
"I would get in fights. I broke some kid's nose. Well, he punched me first," Derek recently told the Las Vegas Review-Journal of his childhood in Utah. Derek was expelled from school, but the other kid wasn't. His mom was supportive of the fight, but his dad favored a less aggressive approach. "And that's how I am in general — I'm a diffuser of a situation," Derek said. (That sounds like how Derek handled the tense Team Paso Doble practice during Season 13, when Hope Solo needed some gentle instruction.)
After Derek’s parents divorced, he moved to London — where the situation completely changed. "It was funny, because I went from being bullied in school to moving to England and being one of the more popular kids BECAUSE I did dance." And now he’s celebrated as one of the most popular pro dancers on DWTS, having won a record three times.
England is also where Derek, his sister Julianne and their fellow DWTS pro Mark Ballas became the dynamic trio they are today — living and training with Mark’s dancing parents, Corky and Shirley Ballas. Now Derek does mixed martial arts, training with the same guy who trains Mark. On Wednesday, Derek will join fellow DWTS pro Cheryl Burke as a presenter at Fighters Only World Mixed Martial Arts Awards at the Palms in Vegas. Check out photos from the event below.
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