Dancing With The Stars is ABC’s fall staple, but some fans may be disappointed this season, as it’s been announced that a longtime presence won't be on it this year. Will Julianne Hough return to Dancing With The Stars in Season 26? The dancer and then judge may have moved on for good.
Younger sister of fellow Dancing With The Stars alum Derek Hough, Julianne joined the show as a professional dancer in Season 4. She danced through Season 8 and won two back-to-back Mirrorball trophies in between. The first was with Olympic speed skater Apollo Anton Ohno in Season 4, and the second was with race car driver Helio Castroneves in Season 5. Julianne left on top, but the siren call of Dancing With The Stars must have called her back, because she served as a guest judge in Seasons 17 and 18 (and was the first former pro dancer to do so) and came back full time in Season 19.
A staple of the show basically for the past 20 seasons, Hough and ABC have confirmed that she will not be openly weeping over rumbas and contemporary dances in Season 25. "We are thrilled to have Len, Bruno and Carrie Ann back in the ballroom and look forward to welcoming guest judges wherever possible,” a Dancing With The Stars spokesperson told E! News. Hough has not officially offered a reason for her departure from the show, but the fact that she’s had such a busy year may have something to do with it.
The 29-year-old dancer happily got married this year, according to People, tying the knot in Idaho with longtime love and professional hockey star Brooks Laich. She’s a busy dog mom (if you follow her Instagram, you can look at her pups all day long), and prior to getting married, Hough was wrapping up the Move Beyond Live On Tour dance event that she started with Derek. Maybe she just needs a minute or (a couple of seasons) to breathe and enjoy the beginning of her first few years as a newlywed, or maybe she's just ready to move onto more new projects. Doing this performance night after night had to be emotional:
Hough certainly deserves a little bit of time off — this is a woman who can do it all and has been doing it all for a number of years. She’s been dancing her whole life, but Hough decided to try her hand at acting first in the Christina Aguilera camp funfest Burlesque, where she played backup dancer Georgia. Then, she moved onto starring roles in Footloose, Safe Haven, and Rock of Ages, and she also nabbed the role of Sandy Young (originally Olsen) in the FOX production of Grease Live! In between all of those projects, she recorded a country album that spawned singles like “Is That So Wrong,” “That Song In My Head,” and “My Hallelujah Song."
The album wasn’t a chart-buster by any stretch, but it cemented the idea that Hough can really do anything she set her sights on. Oh, and she also has her own collection of workout gear — MPG by Julianne Hough.
And what comes next? As previously mentioned, Julianne is mum about her reasons for stepping down from Dancing With The Stars and about whether or not she'll return next year. But perhaps she has a few things in the works that she’s not ready to reveal yet. Maybe she just wants to travel the world. Maybe she wants to spend time with her new family and her pups. Whatever the reason for her departure, there’s no doubt that Julianne Hough will be sorely missed on Dancing With The Stars for as long as it is that she's gone.