By Ann Oldenburg, USA TODAY
One of Dancing With the Stars' most famous pros -- Bad Boy of the Ballroom Maksim Chmerkovskiy -- says he's exiting the show.
Maks, who is re-teaming with Kirstie Alley for the new All-Stars season starting Monday, plans to hang up his Dancing shoes after his contract expires at the end of next year.
"What else do I have to do there after 15 seasons?" he tells the New York Post. "It makes total sense. The audience can't expect for me to want to stick around, and the producers can't expect for me to want to stick around."
For some of us, it was a surprise that Maks was on the show last season with Melissa Gilbert after a tumultuous time with Hope Solo in 2011. The Olympian recently accused Maks of slapping her during rehearsals. He wouldn't discuss Solo's comments with the Post.
But Maks did say that DWTS pros get frustrated at being in the shadows of their celebrity partners.
"Essentially, 80% of our job is to give somebody another push in their career," he says. "Or we make them into likable characters. But at the end of the day, they go off and they better themselves. I loved doing it. But to be honest with you, at 32, I am at what-about-me time.'"
He adds, "I wish them the next 50 years of success. But I have to do something else. I need to move on for me."
Maks says he plans to pursue acting and possibly a reality show with his brother, Val.