Earlier this week, Extra host and TV personality Maria Menounos made headlines by nailing the first perfect score of the season on Dancing With The Stars. She says she owes it all to her dance partner and coach, Derek Hough, but there's a quality about Menounos that leads us to believe if she wants something bad enough, she'll get it. Whether it's 10s across the board on the dance floor or a long-term, loving relationship, this girl makes it happen.
We checked in with the busy 33-year-old to see how she's feeling since her DWTS high, and how her friends, family and boyfriend of over 10 years, producer Keven Undergaro, are supporting her during the grueling (and injury-heavy!) competition.
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Watch the video above to see the highlights from our chat and read the entire interview below:
First I want to say congratulations for having the season's first perfect score this week. How does that feel?
It feels amazing! It's so surreal and unbelievable to me. But I give all the credit to Derek (Hough). I texted him again last night and told him, "You have to know how much it means to me that you taught me how to dance. You took someone who absolutely had no background, no training and really no skill, and you brought me to that place." That's definitely all him. I put in the hard work, but he really knows how to make his partner shine, he's such an incredible choreographer and dancer, so it's amazing.
How have your friends, family and boyfriend been supporting you throughout the show?
I have the most amazing support system anyone could ever ask for. My mom is packing my vitamins and making my protein drinks every day, and my dad is handling everything at the house with my boyfriend and they're taking care of the dogs and packing my car up. My friend Joe came in from Boston to help too. It's amazing! I was actually talking about it last night about how amazing it is to have all these people helping me, loving me and supporting me, because there's no way I could do this without them.
There have been some scandalous moments on the show like when you kissed Derek! What did Keven have to say?
We had talked about it beforehand, and Keven's a director and an artist so he understands that it's a performance. I thought it would be such a fun thing to add to the show. You have to get the crowd going! He was great with it.
Personally, I have the book you published last year, The Everygirl's Guide To Life. It has such great advice in it for everything, especially relationships. What's your number one love tip for everyone?
My number one tip is, we're always looking for something better, and we either forget or miss the beauty in the person we have in front of us. We're always after eye candy, like, "Would he be better?" In life, you need a partner and you need a best friend because everything—like that passion and intensity you have in the beginning—changes and grows in the different forms that your relationship takes. You need to be best friends so you can get through the hard times and I think people forget that. They think it's all romance, gifts, passion and amazing, well there are downs too, and if you're not best friends at the end of the day, you're not going to navigate those waters very well.
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