How a Fight With Abby Ended Brooke & Paige’s Dance Moms Careers

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‘Dance Moms’ Stars Reflect on Their Relationship With Abby Lee Miller

As it turns out, Abby Lee Miller was the one that proved to be replaceable. 

Because after sisters Brooke Hyland and Paige Hyland took their Dance Moms bows, leaving the Lifetime series following a particularly vicious 2013 fight between the acerbic dance teacher and the girls’ mom Kelly Hyland, Brooke had no interest in an encore. 

The now-26-year-old acknowledged that the swift exit was bittersweet. “I started dancing when I was 2 and I had no idea that was going to be my last performance,” Brooke told E! News in an exclusive interview. “So I look back and I’m kind of sad. But I never danced again. And I can confidently say that I don’t really miss it, which is weird.” 

But at 15, “from watching the show, you could tell that I really wasn’t there,” explained Brooke, who also enjoyed a brief stint as a cheerleader during her four-season run. “I wanted to be doing other things. So I finally got to, which I was happy about.” 

Her little sister similarly didn’t feel an Abby-shaped void in her life. 

“I think it’s crazy that that’s the last time I danced,” Paige, 23, acknowledged. But at least, she noted, “I went out with a bang.” 

Because the season four episode featured the duet Paige and close pal Chloé Lukasiak “never shut up about,” joked Brooke. As Paige explained, she and Chloé “begged for years,” to be allowed to share the stage. “I remember writing a note to Abby, like, ‘Please let me dance with her.’ And because I wanted it so bad, she was like, ‘Absolutely not.'”

Photo by Bonnie Biess/Getty Images for Lifetime

So they’ll always have their swan song

And sitting down for the series’ May 1 reunion special, alongside Chloé, JoJo Siwa, Kendall Vertes and Kalani Hilliker, also allowed the sisters to get their mom’s perspective on the years-old showdown. Kelly, also a former pupil at Abby’s Pittsburgh-area studio, admitted during the episode that she’d been harboring guilt that she’d ruined her daughter’s dance careers with the fight that ended in hair-pulling and feigned finger-chomping.

“I feel like that’s not something we ever really discussed with our mom,” explained Paige. “So to see her get so emotional and knowing that she had those feelings, I feel like that’s something we all needed to go through. Because obviously we don’t want her feeling guilty. We are the ones who wanted to sign up for the show. And she was just being a supportive mother. So I think having those feelings come out was definitely very therapeutic for all of our family.”

Echoed Brooke, “I didn’t know she was feeling that way. I was like, ‘Mom, no!'” 

Just the experience of recounting everything they’d been through proved healing as well. For Paige, it was reflecting on all of the insults Abby sent her way. 

“I think I was used to it because growing up I had to deal with it from such a young age, which is sad that I just let it go in one ear and out the other,” she noted. “But as I’ve gotten older and I see clips, I’m like, that is not normal.”

As the slimmest of silver linings, though, it’s given her skin thick enough to handle any Internet troll that may try to intrude on her career as a model and influencer. 

“It definitely made me stronger,” Paige agreed. “As I’ve gotten older you can say whatever you want to me now and I will not cry. Because I cried enough in the past.” 

Paige Hyland/Instagram

Brooke, who helms the Bite-Sized Foodie blog and hosts international trips for some of her 4 million Instagram followers, similarly has few tears left for her pillow. 

“I feel like being on the show and dancing for Abby, I learned so much outside of dance,” she said. “I’m just a lot stronger now. Because of what we went through.” 

Of course, they’re not the only Dance Mom stars to emerge from the show with teflon underneath their tutus. Keep reading to check out how the cast is living off the dance floor. 

Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Maddie Ziegler

In the decade-plus since the Pennsylvania native pirouetted her way into our hearts as the unquestionable star of the Abby Lee Dance Company, she’s jeted her way from electropop star Sia‘s music video darling to film actress with appearances in Sia’s directorial debut Music and the 2021 West Side Story remake. 

She also released a New York Times best-selling memoir, 2017’s The Maddie Diaries, judged a new crop of talent on So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation and teamed with younger sister Kenzie Ziegler for their Take 20 With Maddie and Kenzie podcast. “I think we wanted to let our guards down and show something that wasn’t so heavily produced,” Maddie explained to E! News, “and, rather, just us having a pretty casual conversation.”

For her next act, she’s eyeing her own beauty empire. “I would love to do my own line one day,” she said. “I think that would be so amazing and something that I’ve dreamt of doing forever.”

Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for alice olivia

Kenzie Ziegler

Fully graduated from her acro days, one of the singer‘s latest releases was 2023’s “Anatomy,” a very personal battle detailing her relationship with her estranged father. “I definitely am stepping out of my comfort zone,” she told People of the single, “and being authentic in a different way that’s not just on social media—I’m telling my story.”

And with all due respect to the nearly 15 million Dance Moms fans who follow her on Instagram, she’s looking to dig a little deeper for her forthcoming third album. “I feel like this is just the first time where I can talk about things that have happened with my life and share some important things to me,” she told E! News. “I just want people to take away something from it—whether that be happy, whether that be sad or that they can relate to it.” 

Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Chloe Lukasiak

Nearly a decade after she took her final Dance Moms bow, the trophy-collecting soloist is ready to start living on the dance floor again.

“I missed dance, and I wanted to find a way to get back to something I had loved so much,” the Girl on Pointe: Chloe’s Guide to Taking on the World author explained of launching Elevé National Dance Competition with mom Christi Lukasiak and fellow mother-daughter duo Diane and Brittany Pent. “But I wanted to help create something that was the exact opposite of what I had experienced. Something positive. I challenged myself to develop something to reignite my love of dance.”

Among the other loves of the actress’ life: The Lifetime series’ OG squad. Sharing a May 2023 get-together with Nia Sioux on Instagram, the Pepperdine University grad wrote, “One of my sisters from another mama.”

Photo by Monica Schipper/WireImage

Nia Sioux

The OG company member (and death drop enthusiast) continues to slay in music (she dropped her single “Low Key Love” in 2020) and acting, fronting the web series Sunnyside Up and appearing in 59 episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful

And while her day job is senior at UCLA, she moonlights in Hollywood, recently dropping her single “IMMA CATCH” and landing on Variety‘s 2023 Young Hollywood Impact Report. Next up, following her June graduation, “I’m just so excited to focus on my career and my craft,” she told E! News in May 2024. “Now I can go off and live my life and experiment and try new things and hopefully direct more and act more and sing more and just perform in general.”

Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for CLD PR

Brooke Hyland

Trading in group numbers for group trips, the eldest of the show’s OGs recently led an excursion to Costa Rica, sharing on Instagram in July that “7 days took us from strangers to friends crying in the airport having to say goodbye to each other.”

Next up, she’ll oversee a six-day jaunt through Croatia inspired by the European backpacking trip she enjoyed after graduating from Ohio University. “I explored beautiful places and cultures, while making lifelong friends in the process,” she shared. “It was the trip of a lifetime.”

When stateside, the Pittsburgh resident makes the most of her marketing degree, both with her Bite-Sized Foodie Instagram account and the Hyland Sisters brand she shares with little sib Paige. 

Paige Hyland/Instagram

Paige Hyland

The four-season vet has few tears to save for her pillow as of late. Since earning her degree from West Virginia University in May 2023 (“IM SO PROUD OF YOU!!!! Congratulations,” Christi Lukasiak commented on her graduation ‘gram), the model and influencer has criss-crossed the country with stops in the Hamptons, Colorado and Wyoming

Her No. 1 travel buddy (other than older sis Brooke): Her longtime boyfriend, former college football player Jayvon Thrift. “Adore you in every kind of way,” she wrote of the fitness model in a 2022 post

Kendall Vertes/Instagram

Kendall Vertes

These days, the James Madison University junior is still collecting trophies as part of the Virginia college’s championship-winning dance team. “Younger me would be so proud,” the political science major wrote in a September Instagram. (Naturally, her dance mom Jill Vertes chimed in, “I know I’m so proud of my little kendall.”)

In addition to trying her hand at acting (including the 2019 movie Rapunzel: A Princess Frozen in Time and a live-action version of Anastasia) and singing (as Kendall K, she released several albums), the season two arrival has nabbed more than a few sponsorships, thanks to her 11 million Instagram followers

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

JoJo Siwa

Despite appearing in just two seasons of the OG series (after a stint on Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition) JoJo with a Bow Bow arguably stole the spotlight, going on to nab a massive YouTube following, an exclusive licensing deal with Nickelodeon, endless branded merchandise and a spot on Time‘s 100 most influential people of 2020. 

“One of the biggest things that I ever learned from Dance Moms was either to sink or swim,” she once explained to Kelly Ripa. “Not, like, physically, actually in a swimming pool. But to really just be able to survive and to want it.”

These days, as she pals around with the likes of Miley Cyrus and Kim Kardashian, she’s doing more than treading water. In 2021, the LGBTQ icon partnered with Jenna Johnson to compete as the first same-sex couple on the U.S. version of Dancing With the Stars.

Now she’s eyeing an even bigger stage, telling Raven-Symoné and wife Miranda Pearman-Maday, “My dream, dream, dream, dream is the Super Bowl, to do the halftime performance.” And once she’s scored that gig, she told the duo on an August episode of The Best Podcast Ever, “Then I’ll retire and have babies.”

Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Kalani Hilliker

Back home in Arizona, the dancer, actress and entrepreneur is fully embracing what she calls “my health and wellness era” with the 2023 launch of her beauty line Kare

“I struggle with anxiety,” she explained to E! News of her inspiration. “And I really wanted to create a brand that was inclusive to everyone to be able to just relax and take time for yourself and have a solid self-care routine to help you get through your day.”

And, yes, the season 4 arrival, who also got her start on Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition, is still nailing every last arabesque, having dipped her perfectly arched foot back into dancing and teaching. “I obviously have a very different teaching way than Abby does towards me. Or, honestly, most of my dance teachers,” she shared. “I like to be very kind, but also you’ve got to push them to be the best they can be.”

Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Image

Asia Monet Ray

Consider Asia officially raised. Though the California native stepped away from TV cameras just before her 10th birthday—following one season each on Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition, Dance Moms and her own standalone series Raising Asia—”I genuinely had a great experience on it,” Asia insisted to E! News in 2021, acknowledging that wasn’t necessarily the case for many of her costars. “There was nothing that I would change on my experience whatsoever.” 

Wrapping up her high school career last June as a valedictorian, “I’m extremely proud of myself for achieving a personal goal,” the model and artist wrote on Instagram, “and I can’t wait to see what’s next.” 

Thanks to a plethora of brand deals and invites to every it event, her future seems bright. As for her reality star past, “I really did enjoy the time I had out there and growing up on television,” she told E!. “Even though it seems like a lot, it was something that really set me up for life that I would never take for granted.”

Camryn Bridges/Instagram

Camryn Bridges

Brynn Rumfallo/Instagram

Brynn Rumfallo

When she exited stage left after a three-season stint that saw her trying to fill Maddie’s ballet shoes, the Phoenix native “wanted to go back to high school and I wanted to just be normal and have my friends,” she explained in a 2023 YouTube video with best friend Kelsey Millar. “High school sucked, but I’m glad that I did it. And now that I’ve experienced  both lives, I know what I want. Which, there is a way to balance both of them in the middle.” 

For the 2021 grad, that’s meant launching her and Millar’s Out of Line podcast and documenting her trips to Coachella and Stagecoach for her three million Instagram followers. Plus, experiencing more than a few encounters with fans when she takes her dance students to competitions. 

“It’s really cute,” Brynn, who remains close to Kenzie, said of one recent encounter. “They’re like, ‘Miss Brynn, you’re famous?'” 

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“My mom says this plugin is adorable!!”

“Yes, Dance Moms’ Brooke Hyland and Paige Hyland never danced again after that fight between mom Kelly Hyland and Abby Lee Miller. But the sisters told E! News they have…”

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