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‘DWTS’ Alum Nick Viall Theorizes Mauricio Umansky and Emma Slater Held Hands ‘For Votes’ 

Nick Viall remembers what it was like competing on Dancing With the Stars — and he thinks he knows why Mauricio Umansky and Emma Slater were recently spotted holding hands.

When asked by his cohosts on the Thursday, October 26, episode of the “Viall Files” podcast whether there was “any reason” for DWTS partners to get cozy outside of the ballroom, the 43-year-old former Bachelor had a succinct answer.

“For votes,” Viall quipped. “[On] Dancing With the Stars, they love a good couple romance type of thing, you know? And some people play it up [while] some of it is real. People have gotten married [to their] pro partners in the past. Some people just fake relationships.”

Viall appeared on DWTS season 24, where he danced with Peta Murgatroyd. He was engaged to now-ex Vanessa Grimaldi during his stint on the ballroom competition show. (They ultimately split in August 2017 before Viall moved on with Natalie Joy and Grimaldi, 36, found love with Josh Wolfe.)

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Umansky, 53, was spotted holding hands with Slater, 34, while out to dinner in Beverly Hills on Sunday, October 22 — just days before their “Most Memorable Year” dance on the Tuesday, October 24, live show. Umansky dedicated the contemporary performance to his now-estranged wife, Kyle Richards.

Nick Viall Theorizes Mauricio Umansky and Emma Slater Held Hands For Votes
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While neither Umansky nor Slater have addressed their offscreen connection, Viall said on the podcast that he “could see it being real.”

Umansky and Richards, 54, got married in 1996 and share three daughters. (He is also stepfather to Richards’ eldest daughter, Farrah, from a previous relationship.) Us Weekly confirmed in July that the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills couple hit a rough patch in their marriage, but they asserted in a statement at the time that they had no plans to divorce. Nearly two months later, Umansky told TMZ that he and Richards are separated.

Richards opened up about their marital woes during the Wednesday, October 25, episode of Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, revealing the pair are still living in the same house — just in separate bedrooms. She also reacted to the pics of Umansky and Slater.


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“That was very hard to see. That hurt my feelings,” Richards told host Andy Cohen, citing the photos as the reason she deleted her September Instagram post supporting their DWTS partnership “I just don’t think you hold hands like that with somebody. … I don’t know if anything’s happened yet, but obviously, there’s something there. Listen, I love him very much and we are amicable. That really did hurt me.”

Despite feeling upset by Umansky’s actions, Richards asserted that she still voted for him on Tuesday night — and sent screenshots to their family group chat for proof.

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Umansky and Slater are not the only season 32 partners making waves off camera.

“I mean, Harry [Jowsey], who’s also on Dancing With the Stars? He’s dancing with Rylee [Arnold] and that’s the fakest of the fake relationships, for sure,” Viall quipped on Thursday of the Too Hot to Handle alum, 26, and his dance partner, 18, comparing the pair to Umansky and Slater. “I mean, Harry is — if nothing else — an internet pro and fairly disingenuous when it comes to his relationships. He’ll do anything for a click. Seems like a nice guy, but … well, he’ll do anything for a vote. He remarkably gets away with a lot.”

Jowsey and Rylee, who is the youngest sister of former DWTS pro Lindsay Arnold, have not addressed their relationship status.

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