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Cheryl Burke of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ Gets Sobriety Support from AJ McLean

Catherine DiMeglio

Catherine DiMeglio

Cheryl Burke and AJ McCleanKevin Winter/Allen Berezovsky/GettyImages

Cheryl Burke of Dancing with the Stars is taking control of her life back. The 37-year-old attended her first Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting, and opened up about her struggles with sobriety. Support from co-star and friend AJ McLean has been an important part of her road to recovery.


The reality star admits that her social anxiety had kept her from going to AA in the past. Her fear of interacting with new people hindered her progress for a period of time. Burke’s friendship with DWTS co-star and Backstreet Boy AJ McLean provided strong support in her time of need.

The two competed valiantly on Season 29 of the show and became fan favorites. They may have won the dance-off against Johnny Weir and his partner, Britt Stewart, but it wasn’t enough to keep them in the running for the mirror ball.

McLean Encourages Burke’s Sobriety Journey

In his life and career, McLean also struggled with substance abuse issues. Together, Burke and McLean host the Pretty Messed Up podcast, where these topics are discussed. McLean uses the knowledge he has gained through his experiences to encourage his DWTS partner’s journey. Burke has expressed how McLean’s vulnerability has been inspiring to her rehabilitation.


“[He taught me] being vulnerable equals strength,” she said to Showbiz CheatSheet. “I’ve definitely worked through all of this in therapy, but to see somebody actually practice it and to be so vulnerable, especially during his first year of sobriety, is very encouraging.”

Burke believes that sharing your story is important. Even if it helps only one person, it’s worth it. The DWTS star also hopes that McLean has inspired her fans as well, teaching value in holding yourself accountable. Burke has faith that her path crossed with the show for that very reason.  

Burke Shares Her Story on Social Media

This week, Burke took to social media to engage with her fans directly on the subject. She shares a short clip from her YouTube video about her story.


“To say that my sobriety has been easy would be a lie,” she shares in her instagram post. “I’ve decided to make sure I hold myself accountable by sharing with you how hard it has been to maintain my sobriety. When I keep secrets or don’t tell my truth to everyone, including my followers, that’s when it gets scary for me. So, thank you in advance for your encouraging words and love. It’s a blessing to have a platform where I feel safe enough to let you all in on my story of this thing called life.”

Burke continues to participate on Dancing with the Stars as a part of her healing journey. Her efforts and progress have been made possible by her friendship with AJ McLean. Her road to recovery is looking bright and beautiful, and I predict great things ahead for Cheryl Burke’s success.

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About the Author

Catherine DiMeglio
Catherine Di Meglio is a content writer and YouTube host at talent recap. With a love of all things entertainment, she earned her Master’s degree in media management from Wagner College in 2021. Catherine is a New York City girl who has many passions including beauty and fashion, photography, traveling, and making memories with loved ones.

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