Dancing With the Stars Pro Cheryl Burke

Dancing With The Stars Pro Cheryl Burke Says She “Was A Functioning Drunk For Sure”

Cheryl Burke is one of my favorite pro dancers on Dancing with the Stars. But she has also shared her dancing knowledge on other reality shows. In 2017, Cheryl stepped in to replace Abby Lee Miller on Dance Moms. Cheryl’s concern for the young dancers was evident from the jump. “A lot of the girls I feel have been traumatized by the past and I just want them to know it’s all about positive reinforcement, but I am still strict,” she stated.

Cheryl first lit up the ballroom on Season 2 of DWTS. She is a two-time mirror ball champion, having won with Drew Lachey and later with Emmitt Smith.

Cheryl also found her soul mate on DWTS. She met actor Matthew Lawrence when his brother, Joey Lawrence, was a competitor on the show. The duo split in 2007 after dating for a year. In February of 2017, sparks flew again, and the couple reunited. Cheryl and Matthew waltzed down the aisle on May 23, 2019, in San Diego. There are certainly a lot of love matches on this show, and I’m here for it!

Season 30 of DWTS has been particularly challenging for Cheryl and her partner, Peloton instructor, Cody Rigsby. According to Entertainment Tonight, both Cheryl and Cody were diagnosed with Covid-19. During Britney Spears week, they performed virtually from each of their homes. That was nearly impossible to pull off when dancing side by side.

US Weekly reported that Cheryl reflected on her sobriety journey on Elizabeth Vargas’ Heart of the Matter podcast. (This is ABC News anchor Elizabeth Vargas-not Real Housewives of Orange County alum Elizabeth Lyn Vargas.)


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“I made promises to myself I would never drink alone, then that started to go away. Or I wouldn’t drink before 5 p.m., no drinking on weekdays,” Cheryl explained to Elizabeth, who is also in recovery. “It just never stopped. It became so that my tolerance was just nothing got me drunk. I was a functioning drunk for sure,” the dance pro added.

Cheryl revealed that she was two years sober in September of 2020 on the LadyGang podcast. Cheryl stated, “My father passed away — and then my dad was an alcoholic — so either I was gonna crash and burn and check myself into rehab or I was gonna just quit cold turkey.” She continued, “That’s just my personality. It’s either black or white.”

Cheryl said that she couldn’t nail down one experience that was a “crash and burn” scenario. “To me, crashing and burning is that feeling of just emptiness, of feeling there’s no purpose, I’m not my own best friend. From the inside out, if you were to flip me, I felt disgusting,” Cheryl revealed. “There was nothing there. I had no identity.”


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The dancer shared that she believes that turning 37 years old in May has triggered her to think about drinking again. Cheryl commented, “[It’s] that question mark of just, ‘How long can I live as a dancer?’ Let’s be real here, a lot of women in their early 30s retire.” Cheryl continued, “This is not a sport that you could last forever, and especially as a woman. And nor do I want to be that person who looks old grandma over here barely kicking her leg up.”

The DWTS pro also credits one of her former partners with helping her maintain her sobriety. AJ McLean competed on Season 29 of the show and encouraged Cheryl to go to her first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Cheryl remarked, “When we danced together, I wasn’t part of a program, and nor did AJ shove it down my throat, but he mentioned it quite a bit. I’ve been in therapy consistently three times a week, but there’s nothing like the program,” she added.


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[Photo Credit: ABC/Eric McCandless]