‘DWTS’ Pro Cheryl Burke Opens Up About Years of Abuse From Past Relationship

Cheryl Burke at See Us Unite for Change - The Asian American Foundation (TAAF) in service of the AAPI Community Broadcast Special - ShowPhoto by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for See Us Unite

Dancing With The Stars professional dancer Cheryl Burke recalls experience with domestic violence. Burke shocked the fans by opening up about her experience that still affects her relationships today.


Cheryl Burke Recalls Being Whipped with a Belt by Highschool Boyfriend

Having abusive experiences in high school is something that is hard to recall and even harder to talk about in front of other people. Burke did what most cannot do and opened up about the abuse on an episode of Red Table Talk.

“Not to get too graphic but in high school, I’ll never forget the person I was with on and off for four years whipped me with a belt and I had bruises all over my legs.” Burke said. “I remember his parents were watching it and didn’t do anything. And it wasn’t like he was hitting me. He was whipping me.” 

Upon hearing the news, show co-hosts Jada Pinkett Smith and Adrienne Banfield Norris were visibly shocked. A fellow guest of the show, Dr. Alfiee Breland-Noble said that it made her chest hurt due to how sad and shocking Burke’s story was.


Burke tearfully continued to detail the traumatic experience she had and insisted that the experience did not help her with her sobriety at all. Going through challenges in the past years, like filing a divorce from her husband Matthew Lawrence, and her father’s passing, has taken a toll on the dancer, who turned to alcohol as an escape.

The DWTS pro recently celebrated four years of being successfully sober. For those who may not know, Burke’s late father was an alcoholic.

She is Leaving the Professional Dancing Scene

Burke is now ready to say goodbye to the ballroom, because DWTS season 31 is “likely,” her final season as a professional dancer. After finishing at thirteenth place with her dance partner Sam Champion, Burke is looking to hang up her dancing shoes.


The two-time Mirror ball champion made it clear in her podcast that her retirement only applies to being a professional dancer. Burke continued to express her desire to either be a correspondent or a host in DWTS after retiring.

“I’m just saying you can always add another host, you can always add another judge.” Burke said. “It’s a two-hour show with no commercial break.”

Burke seemingly finds difficulty in saying goodbye to DWTS, amid her body telling her to stop after 25 years of dancing. Good news for her fans though, as she assures them that she’ll continue working on the show.

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