The world first met the ultra-talented Maddie Ziegler when she starred alongside her sister Mackenzie Ziegler and mother Melissa Ziegler on Lifetime's Dance Moms. That was back in 2011. Now, Melissa Ziegler (or Melissa Gisoni as she's known after her 2013 marriage to Greg Gisoni) has left personal fame behind to live the life of supportive mother, wife, and dog mom.
What was the hardest part of Dance Moms for Melissa Ziegler?
The Ziegler sisters and their mother participated in the dance reality show for six seasons before leaving in 2016. In an interview with Cosmopolitan, Melissa said she never planned for a life of fame. "I never wanted to be on TV and I never want to be on TV again," she told the magazine. At the time she thought it would be a platform for her daughters' love of dance, but she got more than she bargained for — especially when people attacked her family online or posed as them for attention. "The girls would be like, 'Mom, people hate me.' … that was the hardest part of the fame. There's so many fake accounts of my kids and people pretending to be them."
Melissa told Cosmopolitan she now feels like she needs to keep an even closer eye on her daughters, especially Maddie since she's gained such a following. "I'm more protective than I was before the fame. I watch her more. I always worry about men following her," Melissa said.
But don't mistake careful parenting for her being a stage mom. Despite appearing on the often dramatic reality show, Melissa told the magazine, "I was never a stage mom and my daughter always tells people that. I think a stage mom is someone that pushes their kids, makes them practice, everything has to be perfect. My kids did it on their own. All I did was drive them and pay the bills."
Why did Melissa Ziegler leave Dance Moms?
In the same Cosmopolitan interview, Melissa said her daughters were ready for a new challenge after five years of doing the show. "It's the same thing over and over, week after week. My kids told me they didn't want to do it anymore. When my kids aren't happy anymore, I don't care about anything else," she said.
She added that Maddie wanted to explore opportunities outside the show as well, but Dance Moms was occupying too much of her time.
What are Melissa's daughters Maddie and Mackenzie Ziegler doing now?
Melissa may have stepped away from reality TV and the famous life, but Maddie's star is still burning bright. After leaving Dance Moms, Maddie went on to act in the Naomi Watts film The Book Of Henry, and she is slated to play Velma in the upcoming West Side Story remake. Maddie also continues to collaborate with musician Sia and recently launched a workout gear collection in collaboration with Kate Hudson's Fabletics company.
What's Melissa Ziegler doing now?
No longer being a reality star has allowed Melissa to spend her time focusing on her daughters and her family. "Literally, I'm just a mom from Pittsburgh," she assured Cosmopolitan. "I don't really have much of a life. When I come home, I go to lunch with my girlfriends ... I would be content if it all went away tomorrow, but [Maddie] wouldn't."
These days you can catch Melissa on her Twitter or Instagram usually talking up a storm about Maddie's or Mackenzie's latest accomplishment or just posting photos of her dog Maliboo. "This is my typical Saturday night," Melissa captioned a recent selfie of her and her pooch.
After five years on reality TV, it makes sense that Melissa wants to spend her free time relaxing with her family, friends, and pup. She's already dealt with enough drama for a lifetime.
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