Stephen and Allison. Fans with tears in their eyes scroll through the photo of a beautiful couple
So You Think You Can Dance alums Stephen “tWitch” Boss and Allison Holker had a connection that was anything but routine.
Stephen “tWitch” Boss and Allison Holker just celebrated their ninth wedding anniversary.
“I couldn’t be more grateful to celebrate this perfect magical day!!!” Holker wrote Dec. 10 on Instagram, reflecting on their sun-kissed nuptials. “Saying YES to @sir_twitch_alot has been one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life!! I feel so blessed and loved!! I love you baby and I will never take you or OUR love for granted! I LOVE YOU.”
Boss also marked the occasion, sharing several photos from their reception taken—where else?—on the dance floor.
Three days later, he was gone. The 40-year-old died by suicide on Dec. 13, E! News confirmed.
“It is with the heaviest of hearts that I have to share my husband Stephen has left us,” Holker said in a statement the next morning. “Stephen lit up every room he stepped into. He valued family, friends and community above all else and leading with love and light was everything to him. He was the backbone of our family, the best husband and father, and an inspiration to his fans.”
She and Boss were parents of three—daughter Zaia, 3, son Maddox, 6, and Holker’s daughter Weslie, 14, from a previous relationship—and, as Holker said, “to say he left a legacy would be an understatement.”
Boss first popped and locked his way into the national consciousness in 2008 on the fourth season of So You Think You Can Dance, where he finished as the runner-up but won over millions of fans. (Including Ellen DeGeneres, who later hired the Alabama native to be the resident DJ on her eponymous talk show. He was a co-executive producer on Ellen’s final two seasons.)
“He’s exactly who you see on TV in real life,” Holker told E! News about her husband in March 2020, days before the COVID-19 pandemic shut the world down. “He’s not putting on a fake character, he’s not doing or saying anything if he knows he’s gonna get a laugh. He’s 100 percent the most gentle, nicest, most generous human that I’ve ever met in my entire life, through and through.”
Personally, we amateurs don’t know how the contestants make it through a season of SYTYCD without falling in love, what with all the gazing into each other’s eyes, emotional routines and hours of sweaty rehearsal.
And when they were finally cast as all-stars years after their respective seasons as competitors, that’s exactly what happened to Boss and Holker, though there was a lot of prelude before their off-screen pas de deux could truly begin.
Holker, a contemporary dancer from Minnesota, competed on the Fox series’ second season in 2006, finishing in the top eight. Just as hip-hop specialist Boss, known professionally as “tWitch,” began his run on the show two years later, Holker welcomed Weslie with her then-fiancé.
So at first they were ships in the night, fulfilling their respective dancing dreams separately. But soon enough, the mother ship came calling.
In 2010, SYTYCD introduced all-stars to the mix, and Boss and Holker were two of the past favorites invited back to partner with the new contestants that summer. And though they’d met before, for Holker at least she thought it was crush at first sight.
“I didn’t just make one move—I made, like, 10 moves and he wasn’t seeing them, so I had to put myself out there even more,” Holker told Dance Spirit in 2012. “From the first week of SYTYCD as All-Stars, I thought he was the cutest guy ever. His personality was so fun.”
Boss, however, said he and Holker met years beforehand at a party thrown by season two contestant Ivan Koumaev—and even though she didn’t remember, he sweetly admitted that he was always a fan of hers and had even been brought to tears by her dancing a few times.
“We met again during season 7, but didn’t say a word to each other the whole season,” he recalled. “So that’s why I had no idea, because she wouldn’t talk to me and I thought she wasn’t interested. She did catch me checking her out in the hallway once.”
So, his interest had seemingly been established. But, Holker remembered, she’d make a point of paying him extra attention during rehearsals and her impression was that “he wasn’t feeling me at all.”
“Outside of rehearsals, we avoided each other,” she added. “Both of us are very social and were friends with all the other All-Stars. The whole season, he was legitimately the only person I didn’t speak to.”
Boss, meanwhile, had shot the 2010 movie Step Up 3D, and the SYTYCD cast went to the premiere. Holker, frankly, thought he looked awfully hot in his suit, but was too shy to say much at the screening. At the after-party, though, they danced together a bit and Boss got her number.
And didn’t call.
So Holker took matters into her own hands, acquiring his number and texting “that I was proud of him and that he looked great that night,” she told Dance Spirit.
Boss, who admitted to being “terrible” at reading the signals, said that he still didn’t suspect that she was totally into him.
But finally—finally—the sparks were undeniable at the SYTYCD season seven wrap party.
“I knew it was the last night I would see him,” Holker said. “I was like, ‘Geez, I guess I have to be stronger about my moves.’ I hadn’t planned on going because I’m a mom and don’t really go out and party. But when he texted to see if I was going, I was ready and in the car!”
When she arrived, their eyes met and he motioned for her to come over. She did—”I cut through people, didn’t even stare at anyone, didn’t see anyone else at the party,” she later recalled to Access Hollywood—and they danced for three hours.
And they looked as if they’d never stop dancing, the cool-as-hell couple sharing videos of their routines—often performed on the patio in their backyard—up until this past weekend.
The final clip they both shared on Dec. 11 was made in front of their Christmas tree, the presents already piling up.
“It’s nice to have common ground to connect on, but it’s also nice to have the dichotomy of two different genres,” Boss noted to Dance Spirit in 2012.” We’re very close-knit, but we still have our own things.”
Their common ground included their commitment to paying it forward, Boss telling E! News at the Children’s Miracle Network’s Dance For Kids Holiday Party in 2016, “The overall message is service, helping people, giving back. And that doesn’t always mean in the form of a physical gift. You can give back in many ways. And this is one example today.”
In recent years they used their platform to educate and help inject some love and understanding into the difficult conversations that have been roiling this country about race relations and social justice. On June 12, 2020, Boss paid tribute to Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving, whose landmark 1967 Supreme Court case determined that state laws criminalizing interracial marriage violated the U.S. Constitution.
“Love wins,” he wrote. “53 years ago today, our life together became a possibility. Forever turned into reality. Our family, our legacy. We couldn’t have gotten here without Mr. & Mrs. Loving. And just like their love for each other paved the way for change, I want for our love to do the same. To be a picture of hope. A picture of happiness. A picture that ACTUALLY looks like a really dope puzzle.
“Like, pieces that at one time were apart indefinitely, until someone said ‘nah, there’s a bigger picture here.’ Building that picture takes patience. Humility. Focus. Optimism. Vision. Steadfastness. There’s also another picture that needs that kind of attention.”
Even nurturing their own corner of happiness in this crazy world took plenty of effort, particularly in the beginning.
Holker told Dance Spirit it was refreshing to finally be with someone who understood a professional dancer’s schedule—the long hours, the travel, the attention from the opposite sex. Jealousy could be a thing, sometimes, but their solution was always to just talk it out.
“The first year, we had a Skype relationship,” Holker recalled. “It proved how much we were committed to each other because we’d be on different schedules and we still planned out what hour we’d speak every night. After season seven, I went on tour with SYTYCD for three months, and directly after that, he went on tour with The LXD. Then I moved to Toronto to do Cobu 3D, and he went to Miami to film Step Up Revolution. In our first year of dating we were separated for nine months.”
Added Boss, “Thank God for Skype, email, picture texts, any form of communication. The LXD tour was international, so when I couldn’t call, I would write pages and pages of emails.”
Boss already knew Weslie, having met her on set, before he started dating the child’s mom, but Holker said she cautiously didn’t include her boyfriend in mother-daughter time until about six months into their relationship.
“Eventually it grew to where it is now—it’s like she has a second daddy,” she told Dance Spirit. “Their relationship is so beautiful, it makes me want to cry. She loves him so much, and he is such a good example of what a man should be.”
Boss and Holker got married on Dec. 10, 2013, at SYTYCD co-creator Nigel Lythgoe’s Villa San Juliette Vineyard and Winery in Paso Robles, Calif. They had six former contestants in the wedding party, including Travis Wall as one of two bridesmen on Holker’s side, while Comfort Fedoke was an attendant (a groomaid?) on Boss’ side.
And yes, the newlyweds performed a routine at their reception, to Justin Bieber’s “Somebody to Love”—though their first dance after saying “I do” was to Adele’s “One and Only.”
In the fall of 2014, Holker joined Dancing With the Stars as a pro and stayed for three seasons, up until she got pregnant with Maddox, who was born April 10, 2016.
Holker went back for another season of DWTS six months later, but decided that would be her last. Boss, in addition to his Ellen gig, was a team captain on SYTYCD in 2015, started a clothing line, Boss Empire, and hosted Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings with his wife in 2018.
For Boss’s 37th birthday in 2019, Holker bought a bus bench ad for her husband in North Hollywood, so he would see it on his way to work at Ellen in nearby Burbank, Calif. “You make our family laugh and smile everyday,” she wrote on Instagram, “and I wanted a gift that showed the kind of love our family shares so it only seemed right! A bus stop bench! I hope that every time you pass this your [sic] reminded of our love and giggle a little.”
Unsurprisingly, Boss and Holker were naturals on TikTok during the strange stay-at-home days of 2020 (“My husband and I are professional dancers and we’ve been together for 10 years,” she told E! News of their anti-strategy to going viral. “We don’t plan anything”) and when Ellen resumed taping, he served as guest host from the sparsely populated studio with his wife standing in as DJ.
Before the pandemic led to the silver lining of all that extra time together, juggling three kids and full-time careers did lead to moments where they needed to press pause and reconnect.
“With us both being so busy in our different paths, but then also having to work together parenting-wise, there are times when we fall out of sync with each other,” Holker told E! in March 2020. “But, we are both the biggest advocates for each other, that we’re very quick to catch it. Just to say, ‘Hey! I think something might be a little off. Let’s talk.’ And bring awareness to it.”
But for the most part, she added, they were “constantly working with each other, talking to each other, entertaining each other.”
Ellen ended its 19-season run in May and Boss joined SYTYCD as a judge this past summer, the show’s 17th season and first since 2019.
And while their house was plenty full, adorable shots of Boss and Holker with Weslie, Maddox and Zaia ruling the family’s social media, the pair did play around with the idea of adding another tiny dancer to the mix.
“I miss being pregnant!” Holker wrote on Instagram in March, captioning some throwback glamour shots in all her prior expectant glory. “Babe what do you think baby #4????”
Boss first commented with a few surprised faces and a baby emoji, before adding, “I’m on my way home…”
But now there’s an emptiness in the house.
“I am certain there won’t be a day that goes by that we won’t honor his memory,” Holker said in her statement Dec. 14. “We ask for privacy during this difficult time for myself and especially for our three children.
“Stephen, we love you, we miss you, and I will always save the last dance for you.”