Derek Hough is an American professional Latin and ballroom dancer, choreographer, actor, and musician, best know for his appearances on the reality television show Dancing With The Stars, which he has won a record six times. He is also the only professional dancer on the the show to have been nominated for an Emmy, for which he as won twice and has been nominated a total of eight times. Multi-talented, Hough has had roles both on television and on the Broadway stage, and is most recently set to play Corny Collins in 2016 NBC live musical TV-production of Hairspray Live! Hough will also be playing the role of Don Lockwood in the 2017 Broadway production of Singin’ In The Rain next January.


Hough was born on May 17, 1985 (current age: 31) in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Marianne and Bruce Hough. He is the fourth of five children of a Mormon household, and the only boy. His sister, Julianne Hough, is also an actress and professional dancer, and has been on Dancing With The Stars alongside her brother. His father was twice chairman of the Utah Republican Party. Both Houghs grew up in a family of dancers; both sets of grandparents were dancers, and his parents met while on a ballroom dance team in college. Hough revealed exclusively to uInterview that despite his families long history with dance, it wasn’t his activity of choice, at least not at first. “I was forced into it. All my sisters went to dance and I just tagged along,” he said. “One day my mom said to go inside and take a class, and I did, and I hated it. But my teacher was really cool, he was a really cool guy and just made it really cool for me, and I ended up loving it. It became a part of my life.” Hough did have dreams of being a performer, which he confessed to Entertainment Weekly. “I always envisioned being on a stage in front of thousands of people and, you know, always daydreamed,” he said. “Especially in London, like on the train; that’s where I’d always dream and have these visions and be like ‘Ok, this is what I want to do.’’

At twelve years old, Hough was sent to live with dance coaches Corky and Shirley Ballas in London, following his parents divorce. Staying in London for ten years, along with his sister—who later joined him for five years—the Ballas family taught the Houghs alongside their own son, Mark Ballas, who is also a professional dancer on Dancing With The Stars and fellow bandmate with Hough. They attended the Italia Conti Academy Of Theatre Arts, where they were trained in song, theater, gymnastics and dance. A skilled musician who can play piano, guitar and drums, Hough formed the music trio 2B1G (“2 Boys, 1 Girl”) with his sister and Ballas. They performed musically while also participating in dance competitions around the United Kingdom and United States.

Hough would later go on to teach at the Italia Conti Academy.

Derek Hough Bio: DANCE CAREER

Hough was formerly an ISDF World Youth Latin Champion in 2002 and has an under-21 title in Latin dance from the Blackpool Dance Festival, the world’s first and most well-known annual ballroom dance competition. He has also won the LA Outstanding Dancer of the Year and the New York Dance Alliance Outstanding Dance awards.

As a choreographer, his abilities and later recognition from appearances on a national television program like Dancing With The Stars would lead him to new artistic opportunities. In 2013, Hough was reported to be working with world champion ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White to create a short dance program for their performance at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. The pair went on to win a gold medal for the routine, a first in United States Olympic history. He later partnered with his sister in 2014 to headline ‘Move Live on Tour,’ a forty-city show that had them singing and dancing along with a group of dancers chosen through rigorous auditions. After numerous sold-out performances and continued runs, the pair held a pop-up fitness event called ‘Move Interactive’ in 2016. According to Hough, the event was designed to, “bring health, love, community and human interaction into our everyday lives.”

His work with his dance partners on the primetime show has also led to frequent collaborations with celebrities post-show. Hough notably appeared in and choreographed the music video for former partner Cheryl Cole’s music video for her song ‘Parachute.’


Hough’s name and face became known to the average American household in 2007 when he appeared on season four of Dancing With The Stars as a guest instructor with his sister and her partner, Apolo Anton Ohno. He then became a professional dancer in season five and was paired with Jennie Garth. The pair ultimately placed fourth on the show.

Hough has appeared on 17 seasons of the hit show and has won the coveted Mirror Ball trophy six times. His winning partners have been Brooke Burke, Nicole Scherzinger, Jennifer Grey, Kellie Pickler, Amber Riley and Bindi Irwin. Hough is also noted for being partnered with Paralympian Amy Purdy, with whom he had to work around various foot prosthetics; the pair placed second. On his initial reaction to being on the show, Hough admitted to Entertainment Weekly that he was somewhat apprehensive about joining the cast. “When you’re a dancer, especially a ballroom and Latin dancer, it’s a very small world you live in and it’s this little bubble,” he shared. “All of a sudden we’re on this national stage with millions of people watching and on top of that we’re working with celebrities. So you have to come in and act like you know what you’re doing and act like you’re in charge and you’re the boss and you’re trying to tell this celebrity that you’re a fan of how to dance. … It was like, fake it until you become it.”

Hough is also the only professional dancer on the show to be nominated eight times for an Emmy for Outstanding Choreography, and to later win two; these are not just for his celebrity partner routines, but also the special performances that occur during the show’s live elimination episodes.

When the announcement of the award winner was moved to the televised portion of the Emmys in 2013, the nominated choreographers were asked to create a routine that incorporated the host, Neil Patrick Harris. Hough choreographed and appeared in the final performance, shortly before winning the Emmy.

It was announced on August 30, 2016, that he will dance on season 23 of Dancing With The Stars, with partner Marilu Henner.


Hough is no stranger to acting and singing, having founded the Ballas Hough Band (formerly Almost Amy) with Mark Ballas, and performed on stage in Footloose: The Musical, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Jesus Christ Superstar. Following his success on Dancing With The Stars, he has frequently returned to this side of performing, making his Broadway debut in 2010 in Burn The Floor. In 2015, it was announced that he would appear in the New York Spring Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall.

The following year, at the Weinstein Company’s annual pre-Oscar dinner, it was revealed that Hough would be the male lead in the upcoming stage adaptation of the musical film classic, Singin’ In The Rain, following the footsteps of Gene Kelly.

Transitioning to the silver screen, the performer most recently made his big screen debut in 2014 as the romantic lead in the Korean dance film, Make Your Move. Starring alongside international K-pop sensation BoA, Hough plays Donny in the Romeo-and-Juliet-inspired flick. He admitted to uInterview that at first he didn’t know who BoA was. “I didn’t know anything really about BoA when I first heard about her,” he confessed. “How I was introduced to her was going to the Staples Center and going to a sold-out concert at the Staples Center, which is kind of mind-blowing, seeing as I haven’t heard of her before and it was just crazy. The fans were wild and it was a pretty cool experience.”

Hough can also be seen acting alongside his sister in the musical television drama Nashville. He has also had guest appearances on Jane The Virgin and Lip Sync Battle and will play Corny Collins in NBC’s live television musical production of Hairspray.

Hough has also recently published a memoir, titled Taking the Lead: Lessons from a Life in Motion, which made the New York Times Best-seller list in August 2014.


Hough is currently single. He is no longer Mormon.

He is somewhat infamous for dating his celebrity partners on Dancing With The Stars, although he is hardly the only one to do, according to his interview in Entertainment Weekly. Past relationships have included model Raquelle Gracie, India de Beaufort, Shannon Elizabeth, Cheryl Cole, Lauren Conrad and Nina Dobrev. He has had rumored flings with Nikki Reed and most recently Kate Hudson. Hough has also been known to play up romantic rumors while on DWTS, most infamously with partner Maria Menounos.


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