Abby Lee Miller is shutting down rumors that her studio featured in Dance Moms was a toxic environment, after her former student, Maddie Ziegler insinuated such.
“If it was so toxic, why did you keep doing it?” Miller questioned in a 10-minute YouTube video in which she responded to Ziegler’s latest feature on the cover of Cosmopolitan. Miller went on to note how heartbroken she was that Ziegler no longer wanted a relationship with her.
Abby Lee Miller Speaks Out After Former Student Says She’s No Longer Wants a Relationship With Her
Abby says, “Spending hours, days, weeks, and years together in a crazy reality TV show environment, we became like family.”
The 19-year-old dancer-actor spoke to the publication about her experience with fame, starting with her days on the reality show. And when asked if she considered quitting at any point during the six seasons she was on the show, Ziegler said yes.
“I started to feel like, It’s so peaceful outside of this world. I can’t be in this. My family and I really tried to leave for the last three seasons. But when you’re in a contract, it’s really hard. Eventually, I finally got out,” she explained of her exit in 2016.
Miller claimed that she never knew Ziegler wanted to leave the company.
“Maddie wanted to be back at that dance studio. If she said, ‘I don’t want to go, I’m not going,’ kicking and screaming, stomping her feet, I’m sure her mother wouldn’t have brought her. Or she would’ve come and talked to me about it. She never did that,” Miller said.
“That’s where everybody knew her name. Now, the whole world knows her name, from my studio, of course, the ALDC [Abby Lee Dance Company], as well as a little TV show called Dance Moms. I thought she wanted to be there.”
The 56-year-old spoke to specific quotes from Ziegler in which the teen said she was made to feel “less than” if she didn’t leave a competition with a trophy. She also alleged that Miller wouldn’t allow her dance students to be friends with competitors.
“It carries into other life lessons,” Ziegler explained. “I’ve had to unlearn a lot of those things.”
But Miller said it was nothing but a supportive environment.
“I was fighting for everything for these kids to be the best that they could be on television, and as far as the pressure to win, I was putting my name out there on television. I was risking my studio and the reputation and all the kids that came before those kids, you know,” she said.
“There were lots of great kids before them, and there’s been lots of great kids after them. I have some stars right now out there competing. Do they always win? No. Do I want them to win? Yes. Do they want to win? Yes. And I’m doing everything in my power to help them.”
Miller seemed to be satisfied when Ziegler gave her credit for training her and helping her throughout the start of her dance career.
“I’m glad that there was finally a small tiny smidgen of recognition because I did train her and I did help her. A lot of people in the studio did. And I know that what I did for Maddie, with Maddie, helped her succeed,” Miller said. “I remember hugging that kid close to me, I thought that I had helped her.”
Miller even claims that Ziegler’s acting is partly her doing.
“Maddie was trained to act at my studio, working on all those faces, all those expressions,” Miller explained. “She learned all of those skills in my studio and I don’t think there’s a person involved with the ALDC that is not proud of her.”
And while Ziegler admitted she had mixed feelings about being in the public eye, Miller added how she hopes she can continue to help with her career.
“The article was all about fame. Maddie doesn’t remember when she wasn’t famous. I do, I do. But I knew that little girl could have a better life, a more exciting life with an education at the ALDC,” Miller said. “I hope someday I’m at peace with it all, too…..Sadly, it’s always the ones you do the most for that kick you in the can-can.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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