Dance Moms teacher Abby Lee Miller admits she was ‘too harsh’ on kids who ‘just didn’t have talent’

Stars including Jojo Siwa and Maddie Ziegler have previously spoken about difficult conditions they endured

Maira Butt
Thursday 02 May 2024 16:48 BST
Dance Moms teacher Abby Lee Miller addresses treatment of kids on show

Notoriously tough Dance Moms teacher Abby Lee Miller has made a rare comment about her treatment of children who appeared on her show.

Miller shot to fame on the Lifetime reality TV series in which she trained children to go into dance and showbusiness under her exacting tutelage; however, ex-students left the programme to complain about the difficult treatment they endured.

The 58-year-old has now admitted that she was possibly too harsh – but added that she was only remorseful because “they just didn’t have the talent”.

“Do you think that you would take back some of the harshness or any of it when you look back?” Miller was asked in a new interview with ABC News.

“Absolutely, yes I would,” answered the teacher.

“Because no matter how harsh I was on the kid, they weren’t going to get it. They just didn’t have the talent. They didn’t have it.”

The ABC host confronted Miller about the statement, saying, “You’re saying you regret it not because you hurt the kid’s feelings but because it was pointless?”

Miller took a long pause as she replied, “Well… No, I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, I want to get them to be better and to be the best that they can be.”

‘Dance Moms’ teacher Abby Lee Miller
‘Dance Moms’ teacher Abby Lee Miller (ABC News/ Impact x Nightline)

The reality TV star was sued by ex-student Paige Hyland and her family for inflicting emotional distress and physical abuse as they alleged the teacher would pinch them “until they bled”. The claims were later dropped.

“Cheap Thrills” singer Sia’s longtime collaborator and dancer Maddie Ziegler was the breakout star of the show landing multiple appearances in record-breaking hit music videos including “Chandelier”, “Elastic Heart”, and “The Greatest”.

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Ziegler who was known to be Miller’s favourite student on the programme, said she no longer stayed in touch with her teacher and that her family were made to feel uncomfortable for leaving after three seasons.

Meanwhile, Jojo Siwa revealed that Dance Moms had been such a stressful experience it had left her with a “bald spot” through hair loss.

Miller, who spent some time in prison for a bankruptcy fraud charge, has previously said that she treated the children on her show like they were her own.

“I have spent so much time and so much energy making other people’s children stars,” she told Good Morning America ahead of her jail term in 2017. “I didn’t have any children of my own, these were my kids and I raised them like they were my kids.”

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