“He’s doing a lot better, which is so great,” the wrestler, 38, exclusively told Us Weekly on Wednesday, January 26, while promoting her upcoming series, The Real Dirty Dancing. “I know it’s really made him feel good seeing everyone just reaching out and thinking of him and sending their thoughts and prayers his way.”
The DWTS pro, 39, announced earlier this month that he would be leaving the show’s tour because of “unexpected” health issues. “My goal is to recover as quickly as possible so I can rejoin my cast and crew on this incredible tour,” he said in a statement shared via Instagram on January 20.
While Chigvintsev didn’t specify what exactly he was suffering from, Brie provided more insight. “He did have COVID,” she explained, telling Us that it “was hard on him” to get sick mid-tour.
However, according to “The Bellas Podcast” cohost, her future brother-in-law also had “something more than COVID.”
The Russia native got engaged to Nikki, also 38, in January 2020 after one year of dating. The duo share son Matteo, 17 months. Brie, for her part, married fellow wrestler Bryan Danielson in April 2014. The couple share daughter Birdie, 4, and son Buddy, also 17 months.
Though Chigventsev isn’t involved in The Real Dirty Dancing, Brie did enlist his help when she was filming the show last year. The series, which premieres next month on Fox, follows eight celebrities as they compete to become “the real” Baby (Jennifer Grey) and Johnny (Patrick Swayze) from the iconic 1987 film.
“I got about five hours worth with Artem and training, but it was really awkward because we were in his and Nicole’s living room,” she recalled. “I had to, like, jump on him … I mean, like Dirty Dancing! Can you imagine? And my sister walked by and I’m like, ‘Oh, my gosh.’”
Chigventsev, a consummate professional, wasn’t bothered by the setup. “It’s nothing to him,” Brie joked. “But I’m, like, blushing, my whole face is bright red. … It’s just weird for me, but he did give some great tips.”
“He grew up a wrestling fan, which was really cool,” she told Us, noting that she was somewhat surprised by their age difference. “I feel like a mother. I feel like he’s my son.”
The Real Dirty Dancing premieres on Fox Tuesday, February 1, at 9 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Diana Cooper