Abby Lee Miller's Biggest Post-Dance Moms Scandals

Abby Lee Miller is an iconic figure in the reality television world. Well-known as the tough yet hilarious dance teacher who led the "Abby Lee Dance Company," Miller taught girls what it took to survive in competitive dance. Lifetime's "Dance Moms" premiered in 2011, introducing audiences to the first iteration of ALDC students and their mothers. What followed were seasons full of drama-filled rehearsals, lawsuits, and berating at the hands of Miller.

In 2013, the Hyland family sued Miller (for the first time) for damages, assault, and emotional distress following an incident that occurred during a televised blowout between the teacher and students Brooke and Paige Hyland's mother, Kelly, per Deadline. Their lawsuit was eventually tossed by the courts, but it wouldn't be the last time Miller was embroiled in scandal.

By the time the original series ended in 2019, Miller had introduced three spin-offs to the "Dance Moms" universe: "Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition," "Dance Moms: Miami" and "Dance Moms: Abby's Studio Rescue." In 2020, Lifetime officially cut ties with the competitive dance figure in light of accusations of racism from the mothers of two former students, Yahoo Entertainment reports. While she regrets everything about "Dance Moms," Miller has been caught in one scandal after the other since her exit from reality television.

Abby's new show was canceled after racism allegations

With several successful spin-offs on Lifetime, Abby Lee Miller was set to introduce one more show to her roster in 2020. The series, "Abby's Virtual Dance Competition," was created in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was scrapped shortly after Adriana Smith, a former "Dance Moms" mother, accused Miller of making racist remarks towards her daughter Kamryn. These statements came after Miller posted a black square on Instagram in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, which Smith considered performative, reports USA Today.

After Smith shared her experience as a Black parent on the show, former dance mom Camille Bridges also spoke out. "​​[Abby] tried to spin Camryn as being the poor one and there on scholarship. I shut that down immediately," Bridges told E! News. "We were so relieved when she was gone especially when we thought she wasn't coming back ... It was a traumatic experience that I wish on no one."

Miller posted a public apology to former students and their mothers on Instagram. "To Kamryn, Adriana, and anyone else I've hurt, I am truly sorry," her post read."I realize that racism can come not just from hate, but also from ignorance. No matter the cause, it is harmful, and it is my fault."

Abby claimed she was abandoned in prison

In 2017, Abby Lee Miller took a brief hiatus from "Dance Moms" to serve time behind bars after being charged with 20 counts of bankruptcy and foreign currency fraud. Miller served eight months of her year-long prison sentence after being indicted for hiding her income. She ended up in prison after withholding over $700,000 in income in hidden accounts in order to illegally file for bankruptcy. Additionally, she failed to report the $120,000 that she brought over from Australia, People reports. 

In April 2022, Miller slammed her "Dance Moms" alums for their lack of support during such a tough time. "Shame on you. Shame on you after what I did for you, for your children — helped make you a lot of money," Miller accused, per Entertainment Tonight. "You couldn't come to visit me for eight and a half months? You couldn't send a card, a letter?"  

Miller's sentence ended early after she was diagnosed with severe spinal cancer. She continued in her rant: "They were very happy customers before Dance Moms and then during it, they were stars... and you're just going to dump me?" The instructor returned to "Dance Moms" in 2019, and remained until her shows were canceled in 2020.

Abby blamed doctors for mishandling her spinal surgery

Upon being released from prison in 2018, Abby Lee Miller underwent emergency spinal cord surgery. She was diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma cancer and has since been restricted to a wheelchair. Despite the life-saving procedure, Miller harshly blamed her doctors for her new handicap status, claiming that they didn't take her complaints seriously. "Why didn't the ER Doctors on duty do their jobs? I came in twice with the same symptoms? Why didn't somebody listen to me, the patient?" she questioned in a lengthy Instagram caption.

In a post written in April 2019 on the one-year anniversary of Miller's emergency surgery, Miller continued: "For those who missed it, misdiagnosed me, and the so called Federal 'Doctor' who took me off medication cold turkey...STOP practicing!" The dance instructor also shared that she braved 10 rounds of chemotherapy and another invasive spinal cord procedure following her cancer diagnosis.

While she is now cancer-free, Miller has faced more health issues in the years since. Now facing the inaccessibility that comes with being handicapped, Miller told Entertainment Tonight that she is determined to walk again.

Abby made inappropriate comments about teen boys

Abby Lee Miller has never been one to bite her tongue. However, she appeared to get a bit too comfortable during a podcast interview with Sofia Franklyn in September 2023. While appearing on "Sofia with an F," Miller made awkward comments about her preference for jocks. When Franklyn and the former dance coach were chatting about Tom Cruise, Miller referenced his 1983 film "All the Right Moves" in which Cruise plays a high school football player — and that seems to be Miller's type.

"Oh, that's my downfall. I like the high school football players. I still like them," Miller explained. "Not one that used to be in high school, but one that is." Miller's inappropriate comments did not bid well on social media once the podcast episode was released.

The backlash led Miller to address her comments in an Instagram video in which she doubled down on her statement while adding in an age requirement. "I do like those hot, athletic, muscular types of guys — the jocks. I always have and I always will," she stated. "And they must be able to go out to a club, gamble in Vegas, rent an ADA-compliant, handicapped-accessible van."

Abby denies traumatizing her students on Dance Moms

As a seemingly beloved dance teacher, it turns out that Abby Lee Miller is aware of the negative impact the series had on her students. However, she doesn't think her harsh instructing style had anything to do with it. "I think if anybody had to do with any traumatizing, it was definitely the producers creating chaos between the moms and myself," Miller told Us Weekly. "And it's a TV show, it's a reality TV show. You know what you sign up for."

Miller has been accused of bullying and emotional abuse by former students and parents on "Dance Moms." Maddie Ziegler, perhaps the most popular "Dance Moms" alum, opened up about the manipulation she faced at the hands of Miller and producers. The reality TV experience was so upsetting that Ziegler admitted she still can't watch a full episode of "Dance Moms."

"I've blocked out so much of my childhood that I actually don't know what my life was like, even just before working," she admitted on the "High Low with Emrata" podcast. She added that Miller's militant teaching style impacted her in a negative way, admitting, "I was such a perfectionist and I was so hard on myself, and now I'm trying to unlearn all those traits, and it's an ongoing battle."