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Artem Chigvintsev Reflects on ‘Pivotal Year’ and Fighting Depression Ahead of ‘DWTS’ Win

Wild ride! Artem Chigvintsev detailed his rocky year and personal struggles ahead of winning Dancing With the Stars with partner Kaitlyn Bristowe earlier this week.

Related: 'Dancing With the Stars' Winners Through the Years

“What a ride, what a Journey,” Chigvintsev, 38, wrote in a heartfelt Instagram post on Wednesday, November 25. “Firstly I want to start with a huge thank you 🙏🏻 to everyone who is a part of DWTS this season was a magic to be a part of all the crew, producers, hair, makeup, costume, security, the people who kept us safe with testing every day.”

He also thanked his fellow DWTS pros for being “incredible at what you do teaching, creating, mentoring” year after year.

Related: 'Dancing With the Stars’ Winners: Where Are They Now?

The Russian dancer revealed that he had many ups and downs over the past year, after being cut from DWTS for season 28 and then returning for season 29, which he won on Monday, November 23.

Chigvintsev said he faced a “pivotal moment in my life” when he had to “face the reality” of not competing on the ABC show.

“It crushed me to the point where a had to fight depression and struggle of finding something else that I would love as much,” he wrote. “At that point the only person who kept me going was my beautiful fiancée, [Nikki Bella], she believed in me when I fail she constantly kept my spirit up and supported me in every way possible and for that I’m forever grateful I truly don’t know where I would be if not for Nicole.”

The professional dancer, who welcomed his first child with Bella, 36, in July, noted how his hardships made the DWTS win that much sweeter.

“Knowing that back story, I guess you know what it meant for me to be back this year and being partnered up with @kaitlynbristowe really made this experience complete,” he continued. “Her dream was for many years to be on DWTS, which almost came true 5 years ago.”

Artem Chigvintsev Reflects Pivotal Year That Led DWTS Win
Kaitlyn Bristowe and Artem Chigvintsev win on ‘Dancing with the Stars. ABC/Eric McCandless

Chigvintsev praised his partner, saying, “no matter how hard it would get you never gave up. I want to say thank you for all your hard work and helping me to make my dream come true.”

He concluded by thanking all of his fans who “supported us through the competition” noting they “absolutely killed it.”

DWTS castmate Val Chmerkovskiy congratulated his pal on the big win as did Bella and Chigvintsev’s son, Matteo.

Related: Every 'Dancing With the Stars' Pro Through the Years: Where Are They Now?

“A year ago felt like a cruel ending to your tenure on #DWTS, a year later you are holding up the trophy. The universe does pay attention, and sometimes it makes things right,” the Ukrainian dancer, 34, wrote via Instagram on Monday, after his wife, Jenna Johnson and her partner Nev Schulman lost to Chigvintsev and Bristowe, 35. “Congrats on finally validating your excellence and years of contribution to this show and to all the pros around you.”

The Total Bellas star, for her part, shared a video of herself and the couple’s baby in excitement over her fiancé’s achievement.

“Wow what an amazing season!! And way to conquer a dream!! Both of you! Love you girly! And Artem love you so much!” she wrote via Instagram at the time. “Beyond proud of you! I know what this truly means to you! And my heart couldn’t be happier for you!!”

Hear the Us Weekly editors break down the most surprising celebrity births during the pandemic in under 2 minutes!

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