After stepping out with comedian Dane Cook, Hough, 21, is spotted getting cozy all over Los Angeles with American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, 35. "Things have gotten more serious over the last month," a source tells PEOPLE of the couple. "They're perfect for each other."
Before tackling a leading role in Footloose, Hough makes her big screen debut as a backup dancer in Burlesque, starring opposite Christina Aguilera and Cher. "I still had fun and got to take in all the amazing people who were cast and grow from that," she tells USA Today of choosing to play a supporting role for her first film.
Hough steps into her first leading role as Ariel Moore in the remake of 1984's Footloose. "I'm usually so formed for [ballet] barre dancing," she tells Elle of her big screen departure. "But it was more freestyle…in hot, tight jeans and booty shorts."
Hough puts her dancing shoes to work as small town girl turned stripper Sherrie Christian in the big-screen adaptation of Broadway musical Rock of Ages, costarring Tom Cruise. "That was my first scene with him!" she tells Glamour of having to work a stripper pole alongside the actor. "I was nervous as all get-out, but after every take he high-fived me and was like, 'That was awesome.'"
In an interview with Cosmopolitan, Hough reveals she suffered child abuse while studying dance at London's Italia Conti Academy of Arts. "I was 10 years old looking like I was 28, being a very sensual dancer," she tells the publication. "I was a tormented little kid who had to put on this sexy façade because that was my job and my life ... [but] I was this innocent little girl."
Following a two-year romance, Hough and Seacrest split, with sources telling PEOPLE the couple's demanding schedules led to the breakup. In the days afterward, the actress takes to social media to express her emotions, sharing a photo with girlfriends captioned "#friendsarethebesttherapy."
Hough attends a Beverly Hills Halloween party sporting blackface for her costume, Orange Is the New Black character "Crazy Eyes." After her appearance causes controversy, the actress Tweets, "It certainly was never my intention to be disrespectful or demeaning to anyone in any way. I realize my costume hurt and offended people and I truly apologize."
After briefly dating director Ari Sandel, Hough steps out holding hands with hockey player Brooks Laich. "I'm a relationship girl, and I feel so grateful for the ones I've been in," she tells Self. "They've been excellent – I've been hurt but never angry – and they've helped me grow."
She's a perfect 10! Hough announces that she'll be returning home to Dancing with the Stars as the show's fourth judge and makes her debut during the Sept. 15 season 19 premiere. "My role is to encourage and be supportive, and to also be candid and honest and try not to beat around the bush, to be too politically correct," she tells PEOPLE. "I want to give critiques so they can improve."
BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Bauer-Griffin; Stephen Vaughan/Columbia; K.C. Bailey/Paramount Pictures; David James/Warner Bros; Courtesy Cosmopolitan; Lionel Hahn/Abaca; AKM-GSI; Splash News Online; Adam Taylor/ABC