What Maddie Ziegler's Relationship Is Like With Abby Lee Miller Now

The chaos that ensued on Dance Moms — especially between coach Abby Lee Miller and student Maddie Ziegler — was truly unparalleled. Abby Lee's militant approach to coaching her dance students was widely criticized, but she definitely generated some of the best dancers in the business. However, years of keeping such a tight ship with her students ultimately made waves with her students and nearly the entire Dance Moms cast has shunned Abby Lee.

Despite recognizing her demanding ways, Abby Lee doesn't apologize for her teaching methods. She reflected on her "tough love" coaching in a July 2011 interview with TV Guide. "I need to be tough. I can't mince words. I can't sugarcoat it. I want them to be prepared when they get to New York and go to an audition," she said.

She may have a point, but as famous as students like Maddie are today, the coach-student relationship has definitely taken a hit. In case you've been sleeping on the latest Dance Moms drama, here's where Abby Lee and Maddie stand today.

Abby Lee Miller and Madde Ziegler fell out of touch

For five years, Maddie Ziegler appeared on Dance Moms and was not only a standout performer, she was a favorite student of Abby Lee Miller's. The owner of Abby Lee Dance Company held Maddie to seriously high standards, but the pair were incredibly close on the show.

Unfortunately, their relationship didn't exactly stand the test of time. When Us Weekly caught up with Maddie at the Children Mending Hearts' Empathy Rocks fundraiser in June 2018, they asked the former reality star about Abby Lee's health battles. But Maddie didn't have much to say. "We don't keep in contact," the former Dance Moms star admitted.

Abby Lee underwent spinal surgery in June 2018 while also fighting Burkitt lymphoma. And although Maddie isn't tapped in to her former teacher's day-to-day health issues, she did have a few kind words for Abby Lee. "I wish her the best," she told the publication. How did Maddie and Abbe Lee get to the point of having no contact? It was years in the making, as we'll go on to explain.

Maddie Ziegler was feeling "pretty much done" with Dance Moms by the time she left

Sure, Abby Lee Miller sparked controversy with her questionable teaching methods, but the real drama on Dance Moms came from the moms themselves. The vicious battle to raise the best dancer accounted for a lot of the series and looking back, Maddie Ziegler's mom, Melissa Gisoni, realizes just how problematic that was.

Gisoni shared an open letter with Cosmopolitan in June 2016 detailing her experience on the Lifetime reality show. "We were kind of pushed into the contract," Gisoni revealed, before explaining that the show was nothing like her family initially imagined. "So we signed a contract when it was called Just Dance. But then it morphed into Dance Moms and then [came] Abby Miller and all the craziness," she said.

If there was one takeaway from the letter, it was that Gisoni and her two daughters are happy to have the show behind them. "Dance Moms was really a great platform for my kids, but they were pretty much done with it," she explained. She added that Maddie's potential reached far outside the realm of reality television. "It was also holding the kids back ... It was time to move on."

Maddie Ziegler claimed her time on Dance Moms with Abby Lee Miller was "crazy"

Maddie Ziegler isn't the biggest fan of reflecting on her Dance Moms days. In fact, in a March 2017 interview with People she revealed she's never sat down to watch a full episode. "It was just so much drama that I don't want to see it again," she told the interview host. The interviewer then asked Maddie about what it was like training under Abby Lee Miller, who was notoriously tough on Maddie and all the ALDC (Abby Lee Dance Company) girls. "I mean, I learned a lot of lessons. ... I had the craziest time when I was with her and on that team," she admitted, adding that "I'm really glad I moved on from that."

Don't worry, though, Maddie's reality TV days weren't entirely miserable. The star went on to say that she did have some "fun times" as part of the show's cast. But after Maddie up and left the Oxygen series in early 2016, she insists she's happier than ever working independently as a dancer.

Abby Lee Miller was miffed about Maddie Ziegler's clothing line

Abby Lee Miller isn't above throwing shade at her former student. When Maddie Ziegler announced the launch of her fashion line in September 2016, Abby Lee spoke out about the release. Seeing as she and Maddie had previously planned to launch a clothing line together, the former Dance Moms star was salty.

Abby Lee shared three videos to her personal YouTube page, steering the conversation to herself. "Who better to fit kids? I had been designing costumes for years," she told the camera (via International Business Times). "I know fabrics and fit, so I partnered up with a savvy stylist to the stars, some faithful friends that know quality high end fashion, and two of my favorite kids to be the faces of the brand, Maddie and Mackenzie of course ... I'd been picking out cool outfits for them for years," she said, though the videos have since been deleted. It wasn't all shade from Abby Lee, though. The reality star did briefly say she wishes Maddie "all the best."

Abby Lee Miller came for Maddie Ziegler's mom

Abby Lee Miller threw some not-so-subtle shade at Maddie Ziegler's mom in June 2017. Once known for being total BFFs, Abby Lee and Melissa Gisoni had a falling out after Dance Moms went off-air and have neglected to patch things up. When Best Friend Day rolled around, Abby Lee shared an Instagram post directed at her ex-pal, captioning it: "In honor of #bestfriendday I thought I'd post this pic! Who would have ever thought." As if that wasn't telling enough, Abby Lee included the hashtag "#thetruthwillcomeout."

The hashtag may have been alluding to the recent accusations Abby Lee made against Gisoni during an appearance on the Wendy Williams Show (via NBC News). During the interview, Abby Lee dropped hints that she wasn't the only Dance Moms staffer who should have been accused of fraud. "The moms were out in the lobby area, they are selling the merchandise, taking pictures," she told the talk show host. "You can't get a credit card machine in other countries unless you have a bank account in that country, and you rent them from the bank. I can show you all the moms' 1099s for what they made," she said.

Abby Lee Miller believes Madde Ziegler changed after leaving Dance Moms

Not only are Abby Lee Miller and Maddie Ziegler not speaking, they don't quite see eye-to-eye these days. According to Abby Lee, her former student changed as a person since appearing on Dance Moms. Abby Lee got candid about her feelings when appearing on the Lifetime special, Dance Moms: Abby Lee Tells All, which aired in July 2017.

As Us Weekly shared in a recap of the show, Abby Lee said she was "disappointed," in the situation as a whole. "'Cause that's not the kid I raised," she explained. "I don't think had she not been in my studio, she would be where she is today," Abby Lee added. "And I can confidently say that. I'm not gonna say that I 'made' anybody, I didn't make her, her mom and dad created her, but I certainly added my two cents in." While she may not be in touch with Maddie, she was sure to say she hopes the dancer remembers the "good times" they had.

Maddie Ziegler snubbed Abby Lee Miller in her memoir

When Maddie Ziegler released her book, The Maddie Diaries: A Memoir, in March 2017, she took fans on a deep dive into the journey of following her dreams. However, fans quickly noticed that one person who played a pivotal role in her career was not mentioned at all: Abby Lee Miller. After fans realized Maddie's memoir held no attribution to Abby Lee for her success as a dancer, they dubbed the book release the ultimate "snub" towards the coach.

Abby Lee never directly addressed the snub, but she ultimately made her feelings known via an Instagram post in March 2017. At the time, Abby Lee gave a shout out to her dance students at the iHeartRadio Music Awards, including Kendall Vertes, Gianna Martello, Kalani Hilliker, and Nia Sioux, saying they were "[her] beautiful girls."

In the comments section, fans dropped comments about how Abby Lee made a snub of her own. "What about Maddie?" one follower commented (via OK!) while another wrote, "Abby where's Maddie? Why isn't she one of your girls anymore? It's so sad how people [have] changed!"

Abby Lee slammed Maddie Ziegler's sister in 2018

By 2018, Abby Lee Miller made it clear she still wasn't on solid footing with the Ziegler family. While this time she left Maddie alone, she came after her sister, Mackenzie. After a slew of videos surfaced online of 13-year-old Mackenzie allegedly vaping, Abby Lee tossed some major shade her way, Life & Style reported. She took to Twitter, calling out the fact that Mackenzie was still just a child. "@JusticeForGirl do you sell vapes now?" she tweeted, tagging the popular kids clothing store Justice.

Abby Lee might have thought the crack at the teenager was funny, but her followers felt differently. The remark landed Abby Lee in some hot water of her own. "You watched Kenzie grow up and now you're just gonna shame her?" one fan replied on Twitter. "It wasn't vaping ... it was water vapor for anxiety. Know your facts before you throw shade at a 13 year old," another fan demanded.

The entire Ziegler family seems to have cut ties with Abby Lee Miller

Maddie Ziegler hasn't been afraid to air out her dirty laundry with Abby Lee Miller, and eventually, her sister did the same. In her book, Kenzie's Rules for Life: How to be Happy, Healthy and Dance to Your Own Beat, Mackenzie Ziegler exposed the tumultuous childhood she endured as a result of being on Dance Moms, Radar Online reported. The dancer, who was 13 years old at the time of the release, said the show robbed her of a childhood and she was forced to say "no" to normal everyday plans. "It was pretty much my answer to every party, play date, after-school activity, you name it: 'Sorry, I have dance,'" she wrote. "I started to regret not being a 'real kid' with a real life. I felt like I had no childhood, and it made me sad and angry."

The star also unveiled the insecurities of being a dancer at the Abby Lee Dance Academy. "I didn't feel like I was good enough," the former reality star wrote. "I was also really nervous about people watching me on TV. Would they laugh at me? Would I look really stupid up there?" Abby Lee's clear favoritism of Maddie was no doubt also difficult.

Abby Lee Miller kept up the shade-throwing in 2020

Although it had been a while since Dance Moms went on the air, Abby Lee Miller still wasn't over the drama. In a February 2020 appearance on The Dr. Oz Show (via Facebook), Abby Lee addressed her fallout with Maddie Ziegler and the majority of the show's cast.

For starters, she praised JoJo Siwa and the massive success she's seen. "I'm so, so proud. JoJo stays in touch with me. I think everybody else forgot my name," she told the doctor, before adding, "They needed to 'distance' themselves from me. That was the word that was used. Distance themselves when I was indicted by the federal government." Abby Lee was sentenced to one year and one day in prison after being convicted of 20 counts of financial fraud. When Dr. Oz asked if Maddie was one of the students that had distanced themselves from the dance coach, Abby Lee lamented, "Absolutely."

Dance Moms' JoJo Siwa criticized Maddie Ziegler for snubbing Abby Lee Miller

Maddie Ziegler has been open about why she doesn't stay in touch with Abby Lee Miller, but there's one person who completely disagrees with her viewpoint. Fellow Dance Moms star JoJo Siwa has only gotten closer with Abby Lee in time, and thinks Maddie could give her former coach more credit. According to JoJo, the Dance Moms girls wouldn't be where they are today without Abby Lee.

"I actually talk to Abby the most out of anybody from the show," she told Us Weekly in May 2020. The star went on to gush about her former coach and all she's faced post-show. "She's great. I think Abby got hurt by a lot of people and it's really, really, really sad that a lot of the people don't talk to her anymore. The same thing with a lot of the producers from Dance Moms. It's just sad because Abby really is a good person," she insisted, before name-dropping Maddie specifically. "I wouldn't be doing this if it wasn't for her. Maddie and Mackenzie [Ziegler] wouldn't be where they are today without Abby," she told the publication.

No, Abby Lee Miller and Maddie Ziegler didn't start working together again

In January 2020, Abby Lee Miller was approached in West Hollywood by a reporter from The Hollywood Fix who asked her all about whether or not she'd been working with Maddie Ziegler. Right off the bat, Abby Lee made it very clear that she had no working relationship with her former student. "You made a song for Maddie Ziegler?" the cameraman asked. "No. Wrong kid," she quickly said.

"I heard a rumor, someone said that you wrote a song for Maddie Ziegler," the cameraman questioned yet again, prompting Abby Lee to clarify the situation. "I didn't write it, I bought it. I paid for it and produced it ... for her younger sister," she explained. In addition to making sure it was crystal clear she financed the project for Maddie's sister, she boasted about the song's success. "It went to number one [in] Australia, in the U.K. and in the United States," she proudly told the reporter.

Both Abby Lee Miller and Madde Ziegler moved on with new endeavors

After resigning from Dance Moms in March 2016, Maddie Ziegler found herself a new mentor. The dancer received her first big break after the show with Sia, who enlisted Maddie to dance in her 2014 music video for "Chandelier." The video launched a long and fruitful friendship between the two women, and Maddie would go on to star in a number of her videos including "Elastic Heart," "Rainbow," and "Big Girls Cry," as Billboard pointed out.

Similarly, Abby Lee knew when it was time to step back from the reality show. In May 2020, she announced she would be leaving Dance Moms after nine years on the show. She expressed why she made the decision to leave in a lengthy Instagram post, though it's since been deleted. As The Sun reported, in one part of her caption, she wrote, "Satan stuck a pen in my hand insisting that I sign a contract."

With their Dance Moms days far behind them, who knows what could happen between Abby Lee and Maddie in the years to come, but as of this writing, their relationship has certainly hit a standstill.