The couple, who were slammed by the judges last week for touting the rules, had a nasty tiff during rehearsals that resulted in Bristol fleeing the studio in tears.
But Ballas insists that what we saw onscreen didn’t truly represent what went down.
“These packages they show before our dances — they’re a minute and a half,” he said. “Our talk was 45 minutes long, on one day. The next day we kind of left the studio, we took a break, came in the next day and we’re like let’s just get over this and move on.”
“We’re like family,” Bristol told us, and Mark agrees.
“We love each other,” he said, “and sometimes people just piss each other off. When you’re in a personal relationship or a working relationship, these things happen…The fact that we’ve made it through a season and a quarter and this is now our first fight is amazing. At some point you fight with your partner, no matter what.”
In the end, he said, “We just kind of swept it under the rug, carried on and she did great tonight.”
In fact, they topped last week’s results by 4.5 points, earning a score of 22.5 and praise from all the judges.
As for Bristol’s comparisons to Ballas’ former All-Star partners, Shawn Johnson and Sabrina Ryan, both of whom turned in spectacular performances tonight, he said:
“Shawn and Sabrina were two different seasons for me…I’m not looking back — I’m not trying to look back. I’m here with Bristol and I’m focused and we’re working together. We get along great; we had one rough day out of however many, many, many days. I love Shawn and Sabrina, but Bristol’s my No. 1 and I’ll always be here 100 percent with her.
“Mark is reassuring — we got through this week,” Bristol said. “I’m thankful we got that fight out of the way and we’re just moving along.”
We’ll find out whether they’re moving along to week four on Tuesday night’s “DWTS” results show, airing at 8 p.m. on ABC.