Abby Lee Miller Responds To Maddie Ziegler Saying ‘Dance Moms’ Was A ‘Toxic Environment’


Abby Lee Miller responds to Maddie Ziegler’s comments on dance moms. (Photo: Getty Images)

Abby Lee Miller responds to claims that her studio was featured in dance moms was a “toxic environment,” according to the show’s former star, Maddie Ziegler.

“If it was so toxic, why did you keep doing it?” Miller interviewed in a 10-minute YouTube video in which she reacted to Ziegler’s latest feature on the cover of Cosmopolitan. “I had to. I tried to quit, several times, and I had to come back to the set because I had signed a contract. News flash, the kids, the original cast, never had a contract. The mothers had a contract, but the kids, well, nobody wanted to pay the money and go through the process, so they were just there for a handshake.”

The 19-year-old dancer and actress spoke to the publication about her experience with stardom, starting with her days on the reality show, where she was first thrust into the public eye. When asked if she considered quitting at some point during the six seasons she was on the show, Ziegler said yes.

“I started to want, It’s so peaceful out of this world. I can’t be in there. My family and I have really tried to leave for the past three seasons. But when you’re under contract, it’s really hard. Eventually, I finally came out,” she explained of her 2016 exit.

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Miller claimed she was never aware of Ziegler’s desire to leave.

Miller and Ziegler making a red carpet appearance together in 2015. (Photo by Caroline McCredie/Getty Images)

Miller and Ziegler making a red carpet appearance together in 2015. (Photo: Caroline McCredie/Getty Images)

“Maddie wanted to be back in that dance studio. If she had said, ‘I don’t want to go, I’m not going’, kicking and screaming, tapping her foot, I’m sure her mother wouldn’t have brought Or she would have come to tell me about it. She never did that,” Miller said. “That’s where everyone knew his name. Now the whole world knows his name, from my studio, of course, the ALDC [Abby Lee Dance Company]as well as a small TV show called dance moms. I thought she wanted to be there.”

The 56-year-old then referred to specific quotes from Ziegler in which the teenager said she felt “less than” if she didn’t leave a competition with a trophy. She also alleged that Miller would not allow her dance students to be friends with competitors.

“That translates into other life lessons,” Ziegler explained. “I had to unlearn a lot of those things.”

Miller, however, painted a picture of girl support.

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“I was fighting for these kids to be the best they could be on TV, and when it came to the pressure to win, I was putting my name on TV. I was risking my studio and reputation and all the kids that came before these kids, you know,” she said. “There were a lot of great kids before them, and there were a lot of great kids after them. I have stars at the moment in competition. Do they always win? No. Do I want them to win? Yes. Do they want to win? Yes. And I do everything in my power to help them.

The choreographer was relieved when Ziegler paid tribute to her for training her and helping her throughout her early career as a dancer. “I’m glad there’s finally been a tiny bit of recognition because I coached her and helped her. A lot of people in the studio did that. And I know what I did for Maddie, with Maddie, helped her succeed,” Miller said. “I remember hugging that kid, I thought I had helped her.”

Even when it came to Ziegler’s acting experiences, Miller claimed some responsibility.

“Maddie was trained to play in my studio, working on all of these faces, all of these expressions,” Miller explained. “She learned all of these skills in my studio and I don’t think there’s anyone involved with ALDC who isn’t proud of her.”

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And while Ziegler expressed mixed feelings about being in the public eye, Miller shared her hopes of contributing to the girl’s famed career.

“The article was about fame. Maddie can’t remember when she wasn’t famous. Me, yes. But I knew this little girl could have a better life, a more exciting life with an education at ALDC” , says Miller. “I hope one day I’ll be at peace with all of this too.”

Critics responded to Miller’s video in YouTube’s comments section, noting, among other things, “Two things can be true at the same time.”

“Of course Maddie knows she’s where she is because of Abby, but if Maddie realized the environment was toxic, she’s absolutely allowed to distance herself. I don’t see the problem here,” wrote one person.

“Let’s all remember that Maddie was only eight years old when her life was turned upside down. We’ll never know what really happened behind the scenes (Abby and the moms tell very different stories), but whatever Either way, all of these girls left through something traumatic. Child learned that she literally couldn’t hurt. This can’t be healthy,” another commented. “I’m just saying, let’s give the girls some grace.”

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