The road to the DWTS Mirrorball Trophy certainly wasn’t easy, but it’s bonded Hannah and her partner Alan together in a way that’s totally different than the pro has ever experienced. Bersten opened up about his “different” relationship with Hannah Brown to PEOPLE’s Reality Check Tuesday, even addressing the dating rumors that followed them throughout the season to their win.
“Hannah Brown and I built such an amazing relationship during these 11, 12 weeks that it’s nice to look back and reflect on how amazing this experience has been and what a friend I made in Hannah Brown,” he told the outlet.
“Hannah Brown and I, it was a different partnership than I’ve ever experienced before because after rehearsals almost every day we would go and eat and just hang out and that’s very rare when you spend six hours with someone that you want to still see them afterwards,” he continued. “So I’m really lucky that me and Hannah Brown became such good friends.”
Has the relationship become anything other than friendship between the two members of Team Alabama Hannah?
“I don’t think so,” Bersten said, laughing. “I think it’s just friends.”
Part of what made the couple so close was the harsh criticism of the jurors, Bersten noted, which he also fully understood from the perspective of the jurors.
“I feel like Hannah Brown did such a good job and she didn’t get her perfect score until the freestyle, where I feel like she really did some amazing numbers and really gave her heart out there,” Bersten said. “But I can see why the judges were a little more critical of her. I feel like they really wanted to push Hannah because they saw the potential that I don’t think she saw in herself yet. “
With Brown revealing in the final episode that her partnership had allowed her to trust someone again after her broken engagement in her season of The Bachelorette, Bersten explained that they could endure harsh criticism together.
“Hannah and I built such a good relationship throughout the season that we could really trust each other and when we had to work on a note or a critique that the judges gave us, we just went through it and we realized that the more we put in during the rehearsals, the better it’s going to feel on Monday,” the pro noted. “And after every show on Monday, we looked back at the dances and we would feel good if we knew that we gave it our best.”
“Even if the judges didn’t give us the best scores, as long as we tried our hardest, that’s when we knew we did a good job,” he added.