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Why Derek Hough Thought His Friendship With Jennifer Lopez Was Over

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Why Derek Hough Thought His Friendship With Jennifer Lopez Was Over

Derek Hough is recalling the frightful — yet hilarious — incident that made him fear for his friendship with former World of Dance co-star Jennifer Lopez.

On Tuesday’s The Jennifer Hudson Show, the Dancing With the Stars judge recalled a time when resorting to his signature partnered dance move, a dip, went awry and caused some chaos. 

“There’s been times when it hasn’t gone right,” Hough tells host Jennifer Hudson, launching into a story from several years ago. “There was one time I went salsa dancing with Jennifer Lopez. We’re dancing, and we’re having a good night, we’re sweating, the live band’s playing — it’s steamy, it’s going great. I dip her and I step on her hair, and I pull her back up, but her hair didn’t come back up.” 

Standing up to provide visuals for their dance, Hough continues, “But she didn’t miss a beat… she picked it up and I had no idea! I had no idea what happened. Then, later in the night, she goes, ‘Do you know what you did?’ I was like, ‘Show you the time of your life, what’s up?’ And she’s like, ‘No, you pulled out my hair!'”

“She had a chunk of it. I was like, ‘I’m so sorry, oh no!'” Hough recalls. “And then the next day she’s like, ‘Hey, do you want to do a project with me?’ I was like, ‘Fantastic, ’cause I thought our friendship was over!'”

Hough presided as a judge alongside Lopez and Ne-Yo on NBC’s World of Dance. The reality dance competition, which was canceled after four seasons in 2021, was created as a partnership with the World of Dance enterprise, which produces dance competitions in more than 25 countries, spanning four continents.

Back in 2020, ET spoke with Hough after ABC announced that he was returning to the DWTS ballroom as a judge alongside Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli. During the interview, Hough opened up about everything from why he said yes to the role to whether this gig will affect his other job as a judge on World of Dance.

Of returning to DWTS, Hough told ET, “It was something that was talked about, I think maybe last year, but timing, things happening, this is the right time.”

“I’m excited. I’m actually excited about the timing of this in the sense that I don’t really know how they’re going to do this and how the season’s going to happen with protocols and stuff,” the six-time mirrorball champion — recently renamed the Len Goodman Mirrorball Trophy after late judge Len Goodman — said. “But that excites me. I like that uncertainty; I like that unknown.”

“It’s interesting, actually, because being apart of the show for so long, so many seasons, I feel like I’ve been through every possible experience,” he explained. “Embarrassment, bad choices, triumphs, success, all the different experiences you could imagine. I kinda felt like I’ve already done that part. So coming back into a new role … I feel like I have a lot of compassion and empathy, but also a lot of experience.”

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