Maksim Chmerkovskiy says he will leave ABC's "Dancing With The Stars" after three more seasons to pursue an acting career after competing on the series as a pro-dancer for more than six years.
The 32-year-old, who famously got into a heated argument with one of the show's judges in 2011, made the announcement on Thursday, September 20, saying on Twitter: "With nothing but love, gratitude and respect to all that played a part in that amazing aspect of my life."
UPDATE:: Chmerkovskiy is set to leave the show after three more seasons, his rep told OTRC.com. The next one, an "All-Stars" edition, premieres on Monday. He will compete with returning celebrity cast member and actress Kirstie Alley. ABC and BBC Worldwide Productions, which produce the series, declined to comment about Chmerkovskiy's future departure.
The dancer and choreographer, who was born in Ukraine when the territory was part of the Soviet Union, Tweeted a link to a New York Post interview that quotes him as saying he plans to leave "Dancing With The Stars" after his current contract expires at the end of 2013.
"What else do I have to do there after 15 seasons?" he told the newspaper, which dubbed him "Mad Max." "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."
Chmerkovskiy told The New York Post that he secured a lead role in a major studio film, which beings production in January, and plans to concentrate on his acting career. He also says he may try to get his own reality show with his brother Val, who is also a "Dancing With The Stars" cast member.
In 2011, Chmerkovskiy starred in the Ukranian version of the reality show "The Bachelor" and currently hosts the game show "The Cube" in his native country. Chmerkovskiy made his U.S. acting debut on an episode of the comedy series "The Exes" in July.
Chmerkovskiy made his debut on "Dancing With The Stars in 2006 during season 2. During season 13 in October 2011, the pro-dancer made headlines after getting into a heated argument with Len Goodman, the most acerbic judge on the panel of three, who had criticized his routine with partner and soccer star Hope Solo. Backstage with co-host Brooke Charvet, Chmerkovskiy said: "With all due respect, this is my show. I help make it what it is."
He later told OTRC.com: "I've had it. I've had it a long time ago. I just kind of kept it cool but, look, she doesn't deserve it. That's all it is. Look, whatever helps the ratings. You're welcome show!"
In a 2012 memoir released in August, Solo accused Chmerkovskiy of being physically aggressive and verbally abusive towards her during their "Dancing With The Stars" rehearsals. She said he slapped her and then apologized and that producers offered her the chance to switch dance partners but that she ultimately declined, adding: "I didn't want to end Maks' career." Chmerkovskiy and reps for the series have not commented directly about her claims.
"I loved doing it," Chmerkovskiy said about his time of the show. "But to be honest with you, at 32, I am at what-about-me time. I am not thinking that with me leaving, the show will go off the air or anything. "Like my dad said, 'There are no irreplaceable people.' I wish them the next 50 years of success. But I have to do something else. I need to move on for me."
He is meanwhile continuing to rehearse for Monday's "Dancing With The Stars: All-Stars" premiere with Alley, who Tweeted on Tuesday: "Our first dance is the Foxtrot..Gonna Trot that Fox all over that dance floor!!!!! Get On it!!!!"