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HOME > Dancing with the Stars > Dancing with the Stars 5

'Dancing' champ Helio Castroneves, ex-fiancee disagree on breakup

By Christopher Rocchio and Steve Rogers, 11/29/2007 

After repeatedly lying about the status of his relationship with now former fiancee Aliette Vazquez, Helio Castroneves is apparently having a hard time getting his new story straight.

Only hours after capturing Dancing with the Stars' fifth-season mirror ball trophy with professional partner Julianne Hough on Tuesday night's live finale broadcast, Castroneves surprised the public by confirming that although he had repeated publicly boasted otherwise, he and Vazquez, a Cuban fashion designer, had secretly ended their six-year relationship during his Dancing with the Stars' run.

"I can confirm that Aliette Vazquez and I have called off our engagement and are no longer together," Castroneves said in a Wednesday statement that appears to have been prompted by a prior Wednesday disclosure from Vazquez.

"I haven't talked to him in two months," Vazquez said during a Wednesday interview on Michael Yo's Yo on E! satellite radio show. "I am devastated... I came out for the first episode of Dancing and haven't seen him since."

However despite Vazquez's claim that she and Castroneves hadn't spoken in two months, Castroneves  says their engagement ended only a couple of weeks ago at most.

"Ali is a fantastic person, [we've] had the engagement off for probably one or two weeks and it's a shame," the 32-year-old Brazilian IndyCar Series racer told Access Hollywood on Wednesday afternoon in Times Square.  "You know?  She's a great person.  For sure we're going to be friends."

Then again, it was only last month that Castroneves said that the couple's engagement had been merely delayed.

"We postponed it for a little bit until next year," Castroneves told Entertainment Tonight last month.  "Everything is happening so quick.  The [IndyCar Series] championship is over, the dancing started, and basically, I was like, 'Ali, let's take it easy.  Otherwise, we will be divorced before we get married!'"

Castroneves had boasted further about his wedding plans during an OK! magazine interview and photo shoot conducted just days ago.

"It will be big, like 400 guests," said CastronevesAccording to OK!, Castroneves even offered to give the magazine exclusive access to the ceremony's photos.

During a Wednesday interview with The Associated Press, Howard Bragman, Vazquez's publicist, indicated that a fear that news of the couple's breakup might have led to a viewer backlash that could have damaged Castroneves' Dancing with the Stars chances was why the couple hadn't revealed the breakup whenever it actually occurred.

"I will tell you (that) we wanted to be respectful and wait until the show was over," Bragman told The AP. "We did not want to affect the outcome of the show."

However once Castroneves was crowned the Dancing with the Stars' fifth-season champ on Tuesday night, a presumably increasingly frustrated Vazquez saw no need to go along with Castroneves' charade any further.

"There's been a lot of rumors and a lot of stuff said, and she just wanted confirmed that they are no longer engaged. There's no animosity, there's nothing mean. Just a simple confirmation," Bragman told The AP.

Castroneves' Access Hollywood interview followed a live Wednesday morning appearance on ABC's The View in which he and Hough gave no indication that Castroneves' relationship with Vazquez had ended.

"Does everybody know you're engaged?" asked The View host Barbara Walters.

"Yes," answered Castroneves.

"They do know you're engaged?" Walters followed-up.  "How does [Vazquez] feel about that big kiss [with Hough] at the end [of Tuesday night's routine]?"

"Well she was very upset," answered Castroneves.  "She was very upset, but what can I say?  We got the trophy!  No, just kidding about that.  She's very supportive, let me tell you.  It was great.  We had a... She actually met Julianne, and I'm sure Julianne is going to end up teaching her some moves as well..."

"At the wedding, yeah," said Hough.

After The View broadcast ended, Castroneves attempted to explain why he and Hough had kept the rouse going and hadn't tell Walters his engagement with Vazquez was caput.

"I didn't want to say anything during the show because obviously it's about the show," he told Extra.  "I didn't want to put my personal life into that area.  It is what it is.  Move on, and let's keep enjoying this moment."

Castroneves also said that there were issues with the couple's relationship before his recent onscreen kisses with Hough.

"It was the beginning of something, but ah..." Castroneves told Extra.  "Unfortunately beyond that point it was already time to go.  You know what?  It is what it is."

While Castroneves stated "I would prefer to keep my private life private" in his Wednesday statement confirming the end of his romantic relationship with Vazquez, he continued to talk about it during subsequent media interviews.

"It broke off unfortunately, you know I really like her," Castroneves told Inside Edition in Times Square on Wednesday.  "She's a great person.  I'm sure we're going to be friends and um... Now it's a moment I'm going to enjoy."

Castroneves' October wedding delay announcement came five months after Hough canceled her August 2007 wedding to former dancer Zach Wilson.

While Hough said the wedding was postponed due to her busy rehearsal schedule with her fourth-season partner Apolo Anton Ohno -- whom she also won the mirror ball trophy with -- the wedding cancellation fueled speculation that Hough and the two-time Olympic gold medalist speed skater were a romantic item. 

Ohno subsequently denied there was any romance with Hough, and Castroneves has now found himself in a similar situation.

"No, we were friends!" Castroneves told Access Hollywood about his relationship with Hough, who also denied a romance with him

"There was nothing with Apolo and I last season and there's nothing with Helio now," she told Access Hollywood.

Most recently, Hough has been romantically linked to HBO's Entourage star Kevin Connolly.  Although Connolly has admitted he's "actively pursuing" her, she's maintained they are "just friends." Her denials of a romance with Connolly haven't made any mention of a still-ongoing relationship with Wilson.

"You know what?  I'm young, I'm 19," Hough told Inside Edition.  "I've got hopefully a long career up ahead and I'm really focused on my career."

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