DWTS’ Louis van Amstel Claims He ‘Never’ Body-Shamed Lacey Schwimmer

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Louis van Amstel is setting the record straight on whether he body-shamed former Dancing With the Stars costar Lacey Schwimmer.

“I never even spoke about Lacey or Cheryl [Burke] or their weight,” van Amstel, 50, claimed via an Instagram video shared on Tuesday, October 31. “I really feel bad for them that they were made to feel so bad by that [TV Guide] journalism [piece], but I am here to tell you on the health of my sons, my family, I never said anything about their weight.”

The Dutch-American dancer — who last appeared on DWTS for season 31 in 2022 — gushed, “I love Cheryl Burke.” While van Amstel confessed that he “never really connected” with Schwimmer, 35, he insisted, “I would never shame her on her body.”

Schwimmer, who appeared on DWTS on and off from seasons 7 through 13, made headlines on Monday, October 30, when she recalled a 2008 TV Guide interview in which van Amstel and Maksim Chmerkovskiy slammed both her and Burke, 39, for their bodies.

“When I’m 19 years old and I’m excited to do this brand new venture, and be celebrated for something I’ve worked my whole life doing, to hear people I’ve looked up to … it literally broke my spirit,” she shared during the episode of Burke’s “Sex, Lies, and Spray Tans” podcast. “Oh, my God, it ruined me. I remember crying and crying and crying.”

Chmerkovskiy, 43, revealed during the 2008 interview, “When I first saw these women this season, I said, ‘Guys, you know the camera adds 10 pounds. You have to do something about this.’”

Van Amstel, for his part, told the outlet, “[People] look at this show to be inspired and think, ‘If I just work hard enough, I can look like that. If they watch someone who’s dancing her butt off and she’s still heavy, they can be discouraged. You have to take that responsibility.”

On Tuesday, van Amstel claimed that the 2008 quotes were taken out of context. He alleged in his video that the TV Guide writer “already apologized” to him in the past because “she twisted my words” back then.

Although he was adamant that he never commented on Schwimmer or Burke’s bodies while working together, van Amstel said he was sorry — especially to Schwimmer — for being involved in something that caused her pain.

“I apologize to you that you were made to feel bad by that piece, it was just not ever coming from my mouth,” van Amstel said to Schwimmer on camera. “I respect you as a dancer and you were great on Dancing With the Stars. I really don’t know what else to say. I never said those words. If I did, I would’ve owned up to it.”

Louis Van Amstel and Lacey Schwimmer, 2010. Chelsea Lauren/WireImage/Getty Images

He added that he would continue to respect any and all dancers’ bodies and feelings moving forward. “And here’s to anyone that feels shamed by their body, I am the No. 1 person that would stand up for you,” he said. “This is what I base my whole entire company on, is helping others, making others feel better about themselves.”

The former reality star concluded: “Again, last time, and I’m never going to talk about it ever again, I never said anything about Lacey or Cheryl’s weight. Thank you.”

Schwimmer, meanwhile, explained on Burke’s podcast that she doesn’t fault Chmerkovskiy or van Amstel for the 2008 remarks. Instead, she pointed to DWTS’ culture as the reason she was insecure about her shape.

“In a weird way, I do feel, and this is my personal opinion, that Dancing With the Stars breeds body image issues for women,” she told Burke. “We are forced to be put in bras and panties with a couple pieces of fringe on the butt. And just, you’re standing next to these girls who are naturally skinny and you have to take extreme measures.”

Schwimmer, who was 19 years old when she first joined DWTS, revealed that she “abused” diet pills while on the series. “I do find, and hear me out again, this is my personal opinion, the thinner you are, the more attention you end up getting on that show,” she said.

That perspective resulted in Schwimmer dropping from a size 6 to a size 2. When she weighed 115 pounds, she claimed she started to appear in photoshoots and special numbers for DWTS, but not beforehand.

Us Weekly previously reached out to ABC for comment.