Things You Might Not Know About DWTS Pro Peta MurgatroydPublished on May 17, 2016. Updated July 7, 2020
Peta Murgatroyd is a professional dancer who is most well recognized for her time on Dancing With the Stars. Peta joined the reality dance competition show for season 13 and won the mirror ball trophy in her second season on the show with partner Donald Driver. Now, Murgatroyd has more than 10 seasons under her belt. The New Zealand born, Australian dancer is definitely a fan favorite and there’s no denying her incredible talent to not only dance, but coach her dancing partners through the series. Here’s a look at 10 things you probably didn’t know about Peta Murgatroyd:
10. She’s Australian
Peta was born in Auckland, New Zealand, but her family moved to Australia when she was only 18-months-old, so she definitely considers herself an Aussie. Her parents moved to Australia because they wanted to give her and her brother more opportunities and her mother has said in the past that she always knew Peta would grow up to be extremely “artsie.” After moving, Peta was raised in Perth, Western Australia and, like many other professional dancers, Peta started at a young age. She began studying classical ballet at age 4 and later trained in Contemporary and Spanish dance. By the age of 10, she was a trained Ballerina and was offered an audition for one of the most prestigious ballet schools in Australia called The Graduate College of Dance.
9. Dancing Injury
When she was only 15-years-old, Peta suffered an extremely bad ankle injury which prevented her from getting up on her toes in her ballerina shoes. After doctor visits and an MRI, it was discovered that she had a bone floating around in her ankle and the only way she would be able to dance again was to have surgery. She recovered from surgery, but she was never 100 percent again. Peta became incredibly frustrated and disappointed in herself, but she found solace in taking salsa classes once a week at the town hall. In an interview she said, “I fell in love with it. I literally just said to my mom one day, I’m done with ballet. I can’t do it knowing I can’t give 100 percent anymore, so I’m going to switch over and do ballroom dancing.” Her new found joy agreed with her because a year later she was winning dance competitions as a ballroom dancer and joined the cast of Burn the Floor.
8. She’s a Competitive Dancer
Peta trained for 12 years with former principal dancer of the Kirov Ballet, Madame Lubov Nikonorenko. Not only did Peta learn to dance, but she started dancing competitively and she was good at it! At 16-years-old she became the Australian State Champion after only three months of ballroom training. Now that’s impressive! Peta was a natural and it wasn’t long before she started taking on the international world of competitive dance. She placed second in the Great World City Championships and was a semi-finalist in the Lion City Championships in Singapore. To top off her competitive credentials, she was also a finalist in the Australian Open Championships and placed third overall in the British Youth Latin Championships in Blackpool back in 2006.
7. She’s Family Oriented
Most of Peta’s family still lives in Australia, so she spends a lot of time away from home and her family. When she isn’t touring for productions on stage, she’s starring on the widely popular dance competition show, Dancing With the Stars, so her schedule is quite hectic. In an interview with Glamour, Peta commented on how hard it is being overseas: “It’s really sad, actually. I saw my dad in February, but before that not for two years prior. It’s a really sad subject for me, but my mom comes over every season when it starts and stays for like three weeks at a time. I get to see her, even though it’s not enough, but at least it’s something. Getting back to Australia, it’s not easy to go back just for a week because the work is out here. I try to see them as much as I can, even though I have to live my life out here. They are just so supportive, but it never gets easy.”
6. She’s on a Strict Diet
A big part of being a professional dancer is being in shape and staying fit. Peta, hands down, has one of the most amazing figures! To keep her body in shape she doesn’t eat any starchy foods, no major carbohydrates, no sugar, and next to no dairy. But when she’s not training or just wants to have a cheat day, her go-to meal is fries and pasta. In an interview she said, “I love spaghetti Bolognese, it’s my favorite dish. Chick-fil-A has amazing waffle fries, but when I want them, I go to McDonald’s. If they’re not salty enough, they’re going back! I kind of like the soggy ones though…the old ones. It’s creepy and disgusting.”
5. Adopted Pet
She adopted a dog named Izzy. The dog lives back home in Australia with her family.
4. She’s a Model
Peta has posed as a swimsuit model in Regard Magazine and she’s also graced the covers of Pilates Style, CV Luxury, and BE! Magazine. She was once in a campaign for the NFL — her job was to advertise NFL fashion apparel. Peta’s co-star on Dancing With the Stars Kym Johnson was in the campaign as well. In addition to her print modeling, she is the face and body of South Seas Tan, a tanning company that works with DWTS. She launched a product line called “Peta Jane” with South Seas Skin Care featuring lipsticks, foundations, moisturizers and tanning lotions.
3. Relationship with Damian Whitewood
Prior to marrying Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Peta was in a relationship with former cast-mate Damian Whitewood. These two professional dancers dated for a whopping five years and even lived together in L.A.! Their history dates back to before DWTS when they worked together on the stage production Burn The Floor. This couple broke up in 2012 and soon after she started dating Maksim.
2. Peta’s Relationship with Maksim
Fans of Dancing With the Stars know that Maksim and Peta are now married. The couple dated for 10 months during 2012 and 2013, briefly broke up, then quickly got back together. Despite their separation, Maksim has known for years that he wanted to propose to Peta — he just waited until the moment was right because he wanted it to be perfect and make sure the surprise wouldn’t be ruined. Peta is extremely close with Maksim’s family, especially since his brother Val also stars on DWTS. In 2017, she and Maks welcomed their son Shai Aleksander and later that year they were married.
1. Professional Dancer
Peta has been successful with her competitive dancing and modeling career, but she’s also had immense success as a professional dancer. When she was only 17-years-old she was asked to join the ballroom dancing show, Burn the Floor. The show sold over 4 million tickets in over 30 countries and 160 cities. She was able to tour around the world and in 2009 when the show hit Broadway, she was pronounced as the female lead dancer. The show ended up on New York Broadway and brought her and former boyfriend, Damian Whitewood a whole new level of fame. At this time she was discovered by DWTS producers, but at first she didn’t accept their offer (but Damian did). She moved to L.A. because she wanted to pursue a career in film and television. However, she missed dancing so she began performing on shows like Dancing With the Stars in Australia and America, as well as So You Think You Can Dance in Australia and Holland. She eventually contacted the DWTS producers and asked to join the show — she was offered a contract for season 13 and she’s been on the show ever since! In addition to her dancing, Peta is a great choreographer. She has worked with huge artists like Heart, Rod Stewart, Taio Cruz, Enrique Iglesias, Jennifer Lopez and New Kids on the Block.