Cheryl Burke is ready to say goodbye to “Dancing with the Stars”.
After 26 seasons on the competition dance show, Burke is leaving after earning two Mirror Ball Trophies, enduring a public divorce and continuing her sober journey.
“This is the worst breakup I’ve ever been through,” she told Fox News Digital of her decision to leave the show.
“There was probably, you know, an option for me to bow out quietly,” she says of the publicity surrounding her decision to leave the ABC program. “However, I know that in my subconscious, if there’s always that option to go back and continue being a professional dancer, and I’m not saying that lightly, then… I’ll never guess, give me that energy. that I’m ready to move on.”
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Burke started during the show’s second season, taking first place in 2006 with fellow celebrity Drew Lachey.
“I moved to Los Angeles because of Dancing with the Stars, for no other reason,” she said, noting how intertwined her life was with the show, making it all the more difficult for her to leave.
“I’m professionally sober, so now when I’m not drinking, I can do other things… Like be busy packing or being productive… And so when it really hit me, it was probably two days later,” he said. about a profound change in his life.
“It just feels weird because I’ve also noticed that I haven’t mourned my competitive life yet. I mean, I went straight from the competitive world of ballroom dancing to, you know, living in Harlem at the time with my pro. partner straight to Dancing with the Stars. So it’s basically a double whammy for me right now because not only have I, you know, hung up my boots, but it’s like I’m not going to compete at all anymore.”
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Although he considers the cast and crew of the show family, Burke admitted that he has stepped up.
“I’ve always been the type of person who just wants to be challenged all the time,” she shared. “From my divorce, feeling that, this feeling of stagnation that I started to develop later in the marriage as well and not growing, whether it’s, you know, in a relationship or a friendship, is something that I’m never comfortable with; unable to grow. So it’s important for me to do other things. And I did 26 seasons in the same job, in the same role, right? Same job title. So for me, you know, it would go against my values and beliefs as a person if I didn’t do that.”
Burke finalized her divorce from ex-husband Matt Lawrence earlier this year.
The 38-year-old football player also noted that the decision to leave “Dancing with the Stars” was not made quickly.
“This was a long time coming… Since it was a farewell dance or retirement… there’s no going back. And I knew for sure it had something to do with it and had to hold myself accountable… This isn’t the first time. time i guess i left… [The show was] gracious enough to give me a moment during the finale,” she admitted of having the chance to dance in the show’s finale this fall.
“I really believe until I can really cut the umbilical cord that’s still very much attached to the show, then I won’t have another chance. And I want to continue to build, you know, mental health and be an advocate for that. mental health. That’s where my passion lies. I am currently developing a dance program that has been 10 years in the making. It’s about movement and the therapeutic benefits of movement because I believe and know in my heart that dance saved my life.”
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As for what’s next for Burke, it’s mostly a surprise.
“I know a lot of people think I’m taking a break because I have to go to the nearest rehab because I was so vulnerable. And I think a lot of people generally believe that vulnerability equals weakness, no matter what. ” he said..
“I truly know that I have helped other people feel that they are not alone. And for me, that’s my life’s purpose right now.
However, the entertainer will not be away from the small screen for long. “There’s another show on TV that I’m not teaching someone how to dance,” she says of a project she’s working on.
“It’s definitely going to show a different side of me and it’s definitely going to veer, because that’s where I’m at in my life, to what I want to continue to spread, which is vulnerability, tenacity, strength and being able to persevere through anything. difficulties and all that also through this platform.