Melissa Gilbert & Maksim Chmerkovskiy On Their ‘Fiery’ ‘Dancing’ Pairing & Kirstie Alley’s Advice

Melissa Gilbert has been paired with ballroom bad boy Maksim Chmerkovskiy for the upcoming Season 14 of “Dancing with the Stars” and his old partner, her pal Kirstie Alley, offered the former “Little House On The Prairie” star some advice.

“She’s happy for me,” Melissa told Access Hollywood correspondent Tim Vincent. “She said, ‘Hold on to your crucifix, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride!’”

Melissa was prompted to sign on for “DWTS” at the urging from pals Kirstie and Marlee Matlin, who both previously competed, and so far things have been going well, with Maks singing her praises.

“She’s good,” Maks told Tim. “She’s in great shape. She has gone through stuff in the last couple of years – physically — with surgery. I was worried about that, [but] knock on wood, things seem to be fine.”

Melissa had back surgery in July 2010, and she said so far, rehearsals haven’t caused any issues.

“It didn’t hurt my surgical area, it hurts everything else… it hurts my hips, it hurts my feet, it hurts my arm,” she laughed.

“She’s very flexible,” Maks added. “She’ll get stronger, like everybody else does and we’ll get into it.”

Redheads, like Melissa, have a reputation for being passionate, and Maks is known for his fiery personality and they are ready to bring to bring the heat in the ballroom.

“It feels like a good combination,” Maks said.

“It feels like it already. We rehearsed yesterday for a while, and it’s definitely, definitely fiery!” she said.

“Dancing with the Stars” premieres on March 19 at 8/7c on ABC.

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