'Dancing with the Stars' married couples living apart for COVID-19 safety protocols

Real life married couples will be living apart during the upcoming season of 'Dancing with the Stars' to follow COVID-19 safety protocols.
Professional dancers Sasha Farber and Emma Slater are returning to "Dancing with the Stars" next month - and because of the pandemic, the producers are having to be very creative with bringing the show on the air.

But the performers can't say much just yet.

"I'd love to tell you but then I'd get in a lot of trouble," said Farber.

The talented real-life married couple can't spill the beans on the upcoming season, but we do know these two will be living apart. It's all in the name of safety.

"They've covered every angle: masks, cleaning the studios, sanitizing, and making sure the husband and wife -- people are not together because if one of us gets it, that's two couples out of the competition," said Farber.

How much had the couple been apart since tying the knot?

"Since we've been married, like next to nothing!" said Slater.

The forced isolation means all 14 of the pro dancers will be spending a lot of time with their celebrity partners. While the details of how, with whom, and even where, this will happen remain under wraps, dancer Brandon Armstrong is ready for anything.

'If I have the opportunity to compete for a mirror ball this season, I would dance on the hood of my car," said Armstrong. "At this point, I'm just excited to be back. I'm excited to give the fans something positive in their life; again, with everything that's going on I'm so excited to be back to the ballroom."

Bottom line: this season, out of necessity, everything is just going to be different.

"With COVID and everything, the show's actually gonna be bigger. That's all we can say. We're gonna up the game," said Farber.

"The changes that we're making are in the interest of giving them the best show and the best product possible," said Armstrong.

There was one big decision Sasha and Emma had to make when committing to this season... and living apart while competing on the show. Who gets custody of their dog, Ruby?

"It was pretty easy," laughed Slater. "If she was with me, she might miss a few meals, because I'm just not as responsible as Sasha."

There are two other married couples who will be dancing, and living apart: mirror ball champs Val Chmerkovskiy and Jenna Johnson, and Pasha Pashkov and Daniella Karagach.

Also competing this season will be last season's champ, Alan Bersten, along with Sharna Burgess, Cheryl Burke, Keo Motsepe, Peta Murgatroyd, Gleb Savchenko and Britt Stewart.

The next season of "Dancing with the Stars" debuts Monday, Sept. 14, on ABC.
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