"Dancing with the Stars" may be one of TV's most popular reality competitions, but two of this season's dancers are taking the show a bit more personally.
Alexa PenaVega and husband Carlos PenaVega are the first married couple to appear on the ABC hit, and Alexa said on Friday's Access Hollywood Live that they approached the opportunity as a chance to explore a different side of their relationship.
"We thought, 'How fun would this journey be to be able to do this together, and learn something that we've never done?'" she said. "We like diving into new things, and this is kind of crazy and nutty, but it's been an amazing experience."
The actress and singer dished on how she and Carlos are handling their new competitive streak now that the season is underway. Balancing their onstage responsibilities with their offstage lives has been perhaps the biggest challenge so far, Alexa said.
"You try to, like, kind of keep it separate, and in the beginning that's all we did, we just talked about dancing all the time," she began.
"But you do have to have somewhat of a normal life," she continued, explaining how her "DWTS" partner, Mark Ballas, has been a helpful sounding board.
"The other day I was talking to Mark and I'm like, 'We went home and just did nothing and it was amazing,'" Alexa laughed.
Mark agreed, saying he advises his "DWTS" partners to always make sure they take advantage of what precious little free time they can.
"I encourage that," he said of taking mental and physical breaks when possible. "When you go home, put a movie on, don't think about dancing. No dancing at all. Just relax and enjoy each other, and don't try to take it home with you."
However, Alexa and Mark said, sometimes "DWTS" literally does go home with you -- whether you like it or not.
The duo joked about the elaborate costumes worn during their routines, and the difficulty every dancer encounters while getting ready to perform.
"They're like chastity belts. It's like, 'Good luck getting in there!'" Alexa laughed, explaining that the show has implemented specific protocol to make the outfits keep everything in place.
"They don't want anything popping out on live television, so you are in it. … They have a pasty check. They make sure you're wearing nipple pasties every night," she said of the pre-show rituals.
"They get in trouble if there's like a nip slip or something, so every night before you go on, they go and check all the girls," she added.
"I'm wearing mine right now," Mark deadpanned.
Potential wardrobe malfunctions aside, Alexa said she finds herself getting most apprehensive while watching Carlos dance. Although he's technically her opponent, she explained why seeing her husband hit the stage without her ignites such a powerful emotional rush.
"I get way more nervous watching him than kind of us going on together," she said. "I finally understand why, you know those parents that watch their kids in recitals and they're like, doing the dance with the children? That's how I feel, watching him. I get so excited, and I'm so proud of him."
"I watch her watch him," Mark agreed, telling his partner, "You're like a dad at a soccer game."
-- Erin Biglow