|May 17, 1985|
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Derek Hough was born on May 17, 1985 in Salt Lake City, UT to a family filled with dancers; all four grandparents and his parents met while on a ballroom dancing team in college. Hough had four sisters, including fellow performer and future "Dancing with the Stars" cast mate Julianne. When he was 12, Hough was sent to London to study with professional dance coaches Corky and Shirley Ballas at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts. His sister Julianne joined him in London several months later, and together with the Ballas' son Mark, they formed the pop group 2B1G ("2 Boys, 1 Girl"). The trio not only sang, but incorporated different forms of dance into the act, including jazz, ballet and tap. He and his sister also appeared as extras playing Hogwarts schoolchildren in the blockbuster family film "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" (2001). Hough remained in London for 10 years, working as a dance instructor and joining various dance competitions. His hard work paid off in 2002 when Hough was named IDSF World Youth Latin Champion along with his dance partner Aneta Piotrowska.
After Hough moved to Los Angeles, he made his television debut on the reality competition series "Dancing with the Stars" ("DWTS"). The hit ABC show paired professional dancers with celebrities from the worlds of entertainment, sports, and pop culture, and had them performing various ballroom and Latin dance styles. Hough first appeared as a guest instructor on the fourth season before joining the cast the following season, where he was paired up with former "Beverly Hills, 90210" (Fox, 1990-2000) star Jennie Garth. While the duo danced their way into the quarterfinals, it was Hough's sister Julianne who ultimately won the competition with her partner, racecar driver Helio Castrovenes. Hough returned to the "DWTS" stage the following season with statuesque actress Shannon Elizabeth. The couple made it through seven weeks of the competition until they were eliminated for their Tango and Mambo performances. Hough and Elizabeth also took their relationship outside the dance studio. The couple dated for a little over a year until announcing their split via Twitter in August 2009. Hough eventually won the show's coveted mirror ball trophy on the seventh season, along with model and television host Brooke Burke. He made "DWTS" history as the first professional dancer on the show to win the title three times; first with Burke, then Season 10 with pop star Nichole Scherzinger, followed by Season 11 with "Dirty Dancing" (1987) actress Jennifer Grey. His work on the show also earned Hough several Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Choreography.
Hough never let his dancing career eclipse his other creative ventures. He made his theatrical debut with a starring role in the 2006 production of "Footloose: The Musical" in London's West End. He played Ren McCormack, a city kid who shakes up a small town with his love of rock-n-roll, which was originated by Kevin Bacon in the 1984 feature film of the same name. Hough also reteamed with Mark Ballas - also a fellow "DWTS" cast mate - to form the Ballas Hough Band. The pop rock music group released its self-titled debut album in March 2009. Hough did not return to "DWTS" during the show's 12th season in 2011 due to landing a starring role in the feature film "Cobu 3-D" (2012). He was cast as a New Orleans street dancer who moves to New York and falls for a drummer (Korean pop artist BoA) who is a member of his rival dance group.