Abby Lee Miller Responds to Maddie Ziegler's Dance Moms Digs: 'I Know What I Did for Maddie'

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Abby Lee Miller
Abby Lee Miller

Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Abby Lee Miller was surprised to hear that her former Dance Moms star student Maddie Ziegler is "at peace" now that the pair have lost touch.

Miller, 56, posted a video to her YouTube channel addressing Ziegler's comments in the latest issue of Cosmopolitan.

While crediting Ziegler, now 19, for her hard work, Miller said, "What I don't understand [about] the pressure, the 'toxic' situation — if it was so toxic, why did you keep doing it? I had to, I tried to quit many a time, and I was forced to come back to set because I signed a contract."

And though Ziegler told Cosmo she "really tried to leave for the last three seasons" of her six-season run on the Lifetime show, which aired for eight seasons from 2011 to 2019, Miller said in her video: "Newsflash: the kids in the original cast never had a contract. The moms had a contract, but the kids, well ... they were just kind of there on a handshake."

Miller continued, "I thought she wanted to be there. ... If she said, 'I don't want to go, I'm not going,' kicking and screaming, stomping her feet, I'm sure her mother wouldn't have brought her — or she would have come and talked to me about it. She never did that."

RELATED: Maddie Ziegler Calls Dance Moms 'Toxic' and Feels 'at Peace' with Abby Lee Miller out of Her Life

Maddie Ziegler; Abby Lee Miller
Maddie Ziegler; Abby Lee Miller

Emma McIntyre/Getty; Steven Ferdman/Getty

Saying that Ziegler "was at at home" in her Pennsylvania studio and "that's where everybody knew her name," Miller added, "Now the whole world knows her name."

Miller called Ziegler "a kid that I loved" and said, "I was fighting for everything for these kids to be the best that they could be on television."

She also claimed she pushed for Ziegler to get more opportunities in the business, and specifically says she put own career "on the line" so Ziegler could work with Sia.

"I know that what I did for Maddie, with Maddie, helped her succeed," she said.

Sia Performs At KeyArena
Sia Performs At KeyArena

Mat Hayward/Getty

RELATED: Abby Lee Miller Claims Dance Moms Families Never Visited Her in Prison: 'Shame on You'

After posting the video, Miller also told TMZ she thought she had a closer bond with Ziegler, 19, that the dancer portrayed in the article: "Spending hours, days, weeks and years together in a crazy reality TV show environment, we became like family."

In the video, she questioned whether a teen like Ziegler or her costars could understand what Miller has gone through in the last several years.

"I don't think she realizes what I went through in prison, what I went through in the hospital, what chemo's all about, what being in a wheelchair is like," she said.

The National Film and Television Awards, Los Angeles, USA - 05 Dec 2018
The National Film and Television Awards, Los Angeles, USA - 05 Dec 2018

MediaPunch/REX/Shutterstock

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free weekly newsletter to get the biggest news of the week delivered to your inbox every Friday.

Ziegler told Cosmo she doesn't regret her departure from the show, but at the time, it was difficult for her. "She was distraught [when I left]," she said of Miller. "For the longest time, we felt so guilty. She trained me, she helped me, but also, I knew I would be okay without her and I was sick of being in a toxic environment."

Although Ziegler seems to have put the past behind her, Miller is not ready to move on, telling TMZ: "Sadly, it's always the ones you do the most for that kick you in the can-can."

She added, "I hope someday I'm at peace with it all, too."