The 16th season of Dancing With the Stars has just gotten underway, but the chemistry between Lisa Vanderpump and Gleb Savchenko is already generating attention. She’s one of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills; he’s a hunky Russian dancer. Together, they’re one of DWTS’ most sizzling pairings.
We spoke to Lisa and Gleb about their intimate relationship, learning to trust each other, and how to incorporate Giggy the Pomeranian into more routines.
How are you both doing?
Lisa Vanderpump: Well, kind of hurting everywhere and aching everywhere and bruised like a patchwork quilt. But apart from that, I’m doing perfect!
Gleb, do you have any injuries, or are you just used to this?
LV: Oh, he’s a machine. Are you kidding me? You have no idea.
Gleb Savchenko: Actually, I had to use some ultrasounds on my body, on my knee, on my hip, and everything, because—
LV: No, he’s a machine.
GS: I got used to it.
Which dance felt the most natural for you?
LV: Well, we’ve only had two, but the jive was a lot of fun.
GS: Oh, we’ve done some other dancing as well. In the bedroom.
LV: For God’s sake! I’m having enough problems with this as it is, as you can imagine. But I don’t know. They’re all new to me, because I’ve never danced with a partner. The jive was a lot of fun but so quick — I just thought, “Oh my God, how am I going to get through this?” Gleb’s like, “OK, we do this choreography and now you jump into the splits and then you go into my arms and I flip you back on your back and you do this and you kick your legs up and it’s 99 miles an hour, and we’re good to go, yeah?” And I’m like, “Are you kidding me?!”
Gleb, what are the challenges of teaching Lisa Vanderpump to dance?
GS: You know, we laugh all the time, and that’s the most challenging part. We have a very limited time. She’s very busy with work, and when we have three hours a day to rehearse and learn the new choreography, performing after four days, sometimes I have to be very, very, very strict. And naturally, we just have so much fun. We laugh all the time. So that’s a challenge to go from when we’re having a laugh to work, and so be very strict and become like a Russian dictator — without the “tator.”
And Lisa, what are you finding the most challenging about this process? Other than the pain.
LV: Also the time constraints. That’s hard for me, because I can’t just close my businesses down. I have a lot going on — I have another restaurant in development. And I oversee everything, or create everything. But it’s not about that. There are just so many components that make it difficult, just the whole thing. It’s a new space, it’s out of your comfort zone. Imagine if I said to you, “OK, in a week you’re going to go on the dance floor, dance this dance you’ve never heard of, dance with a partner in front of 2,000 people and 20 million people watching. It’s fine, relax.” Relax?! That’s not my idea of relaxation.
You’re obviously very flirtatious with each other. Did that just develop naturally?
GS: It’s Lisa.
LV: No, no, no, no, Gleb, listen. Put your clothes on. Put them on now. Oh, for God’s sake. Put your clothes back on.
GS: OK, is it better now? I’ll keep the towel.
LV: You know what, I think he plays with me, like the more I kind of resist and withdraw and pull back because it’s embarrassing, the more he goes after me. He teases me a lot, which isn’t easy for me.
How’s your comfort level now with each other?
GS: Oh, it’s like 150 percent. We’ve gotten so comfortable with each other.
LV: No, we’re not! I am still — it’s strange for me, all that physicality. But it is what it is. I have to deal with it. As Len said, “Get over it.”
I mean, there are worse things than being so close to one another.
LV: Yeah. I mean, it’s not ugly! It’s easy, right? But it’s sort of out of my comfort zone. I’ve been married for 30 years. I’m not normally pushing my private parts up—
GS: So that’s the important thing! After 30 years of marriage you need to spice it up a little bit.
LV: It’s spiced up! It’s spiced up.
Lisa, have you thought about setting Gleb up with Brandi?
LV: Ooh, I think he’s already taken.
They just sound so similar. I feel like they would really get along.
LV: I know, but I think he’s already taken. But no, I wouldn’t give him to her. Are you kidding me? She would eat him for breakfast.
You obviously get along very well. Would you say there’s less backstabbing on Dancing With the Stars than there is on Real Housewives?
LV: Oh, God, yeah. Everyone here — and I know the competition’s just started, or it’s the third week — but everyone’s incredibly sweet. The whole moment of us up for elimination was superseded by the fact that Dorothy Hamill went. I think it’s camaraderie. It’s been so wonderful. The other dancers, they’re amazing. I love the atmosphere.
If you could dance with anyone else in the cast, who would you pick?
LV: You’ve got to pick Zendaya, right?
GS: Yeah, probably.
LV: I would take — well, I love Derek. I think he’s amazing.
LV: I’m sorry, I do! He’s so cute and I love his character, and he’s a huge fan of Giggy.
Will we see Giggy in any more dance routines?
LV: I know, we’ve got to get his little paws on the dance floor. Maybe I’ll try and integrate him this week.
I mean, Gleb, are you comfortable dancing with a dog?
GS: Oh, yeah, I love Giggy.
LV: He’s talking about me! That’s a low blow.
GS: No, I love Giggy. He’s so cute. I’m looking forward to seeing him in other numbers. We just have to find the proper theme for it. We’re like best friends now. I walk him, so.
LV: No, he doesn’t. But we have to talk to Giggy’s people. You know he’s represented by CAA and has a whole page in Us Magazine this week. He’s not easy to deal with right now.
So maybe we’ll see Giggy as his own contestant on Dancing With the Stars next season.
LV: Yeah, maybe. Absolutely. He’s got four legs, so he’d be twice as good as me!
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