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DWTS Champ Xochitl Gomez on Val Chmerkovskiy’s ‘Sexy Dad Era,’ Corniest Taylor Swift-Inspired Joke (Exclusive)

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Xochitl Gomez and Val Chmerkovskiy’s time on the “Dancing with the Stars Live” tour was equal parts work and play. When the season 32 DWTS winners weren’t performing their trophy-winning moves, they were bantering backstage like good pals do.

Just because someone’s a little older (sorry Val) doesn’t mean that they don’t know how to crack jokes,” the Marvel actress tells PEOPLE exclusively of the pro dancer.

By that, Gomez is referencing Chmerkovskiy’s “insane” amount of dad jokes, which came along when he welcomed son Rome, 1, with wife Jenna Johnson in January 2023.

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DWTS Champ Xochitl Gomez on Val Chmerkovskiy’s ‘Sexy Dad Era,’ Corniest Taylor Swift-Inspired Joke (Exclusive)
The Marvel star tells PEOPLE about her shared sense of humor with Chmerkovskiy and the life lessons she’s learned from their friendship, despite their 20-year age difference

By Michelle Lee Published on February 29, 2024 10:30AM EST
Xochitl Gomez, Taylor Swift, VAL CHMERKOVSKY
Xochitl Gomez shares her favorite Val Chmerkovskiy dad joke inspired by Taylor Swift. PHOTO: AXELLE/BAUER-GRIFFIN/FILMMAGIC, DIMITRIOS KAMBOURIS/GETTY, ERIC MCCANDLESS/DISNEY VIA GETTY
Xochitl Gomez and Val Chmerkovskiy’s time on the “Dancing with the Stars Live” tour was equal parts work and play. When the season 32 DWTS winners weren’t performing their trophy-winning moves, they were bantering backstage like good pals do.

“Just because someone’s a little older (sorry Val) doesn’t mean that they don’t know how to crack jokes,” the Marvel actress tells PEOPLE exclusively of the pro dancer.

By that, Gomez is referencing Chmerkovskiy’s “insane” amount of dad jokes, which came along when he welcomed son Rome, 1, with wife Jenna Johnson in January 2023.

Naturally, the question of which one of Chmerkovskiy’s quips was most memorable arose. Turns out, Gomez’s favorite one is inspired by Taylor Swift.

“I asked him, ‘What era are you in?’ and he so quickly, while unbuttoning his shirt, [said] ‘I’m currently in my Sexy Dad era,'” Gomez says while impersonating Chmerkovskiy with a cool smirk.

Gomez waits for a beat, letting the line sink in, before slapping her forehead with her hand and smiling in response to the corniness of it all. “It was basically like a Val comedy show,” she says.

Gomez has also learned a couple of life lessons from her friendship with Chmerkovskiy 37, despite their 20-year age gap. The biggest takeaway? “There is no age limit to being friends.”

“When you’re younger, you need an older influence to just be by your side. Sometimes it’s comforting because you know that they’re always there to look out for you,” Gomez shares, adding that Chmerkovskiy is “cool enough” to kick it with her crew too.

I think that’s what he’s taught me the most besides dance, that there’s good people out there that have good intentions,” she says, “and he definitely is one of those people.”

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