American dancer, television host, and model Cheryl Burke’s rise to stardom was largely credited to the dancing competition series “Dancing with the Stars.” She was the first female professional dancer to be declared the winner for two consecutive seasons in 2006, along with her celebrity dance partners. Out of the 30 seasons that the show aired, she competed in 24 of them. Reports of her having contracted the Covid-19 virus made many people in the show nervous; fans were confused as to why she and her dance partner were allowed to compete through a video. She was instructed not to participate in the live telecast, and was ordered to undergo a 10-day quarantine until the time she tested negative for the virus.
- 1 Who is Cheryl Burke?
- 2 Her journey with “Dancing with the Stars”
- 3 Her battle with the Covid-19 virus and being at odds with “DWTS” judges
- 4 Personal Life
- 5 Her battle with alcoholism
- 6 Will Cheryl be part of the 31st season of “Dancing with the Stars?”
Who is Cheryl Burke?
Early life and family
Cheryl Stephanie Burke is a San Francisco, California native, born to parents Stephen Louis Burke and Sherri Burke on 3 May 1984; her roots could be traced to Irish, Filipino and Russian lineage. She grew up in an affluent community in the Bay Area, as her father was a lawyer from New York and her mother was a nurse turned successful entrepreneur. Her parents divorced when she was a toddler and she took it hard – her mother thought she was deaf because she never talked when she was little, but the pediatrician said that it was only because her nanny was from the Philippines and spoke mainly in the Filipino language Tagalog, which caused Cheryl’s confusion.
Celebrating the day my parents got married & two families became one! @sherri0602 @robertwolf11 @nicowolfy @manzwolf pic.twitter.com/2PDEdJIWYX
— Cheryl Burke (@CherylBurke) July 26, 2014
Molested as a child
Her childhood was marred by molestation by a retired mailman who did odd jobs for the family. She was only five years old at the time, and she would distinctly remember that the man would touch her privates in the living room while her nanny was cooking in the kitchen. She kept quiet until the man was sent to prison for assaulting other children, and at the age of six, she found herself testifying during the trial. In one of her interviews, Cheryl shared, ‘I felt disgusted with myself for the longest time.’ It was mainly because she knew what he did was wrong, but she said that she wanted that older man’s affection. She was longing for a father figure in her life.
Mother remarried and she gained sisters
Things became slightly better when her mother remarried in 1993 when Cheryl was nine years old; her stepfather, Bob Wolf, was wonderful and treated her as his own daughter. From that marriage, she gained a stepsister, Mandy, and a half-sister, Nicole. However, her insecurities and shyness made her socially inept, later saying that she just couldn’t connect with anyone. It didn’t help that some mean kids called her monkey due to her mixed-race lineage, and her ears standing out when she was young.
Abused as a teen
Due mainly to Cheryl’s insecurities and abandonment issues, which stemmed from her father leaving her at a very young age, she wasn’t smart enough to choose the right man for herself when she became a teenager. She was in a couple of abusive relationships before she finished at Menlo-Atherton High School. Even if she knew that it was unhealthy for her, she couldn’t leave because she just wanted to feel loved even by the wrong people. Eventually, she shared it with her friends, who encouraged her to see a psychiatrist. With therapy over the years, she gained confidence, but acknowledged that it was a life-long process.
My love for Beauty and the Beast and Halloween go way back. What should I be this year?? #tbt #halloween
Posted by Cheryl Burke on Thursday, October 25, 2018
Her love for dancing
Cheryl belonged to a family who loved dancing, so no one in the family was surprised when it became her profession. At the age of six, she attended dance classes while other kids were playing in the yard. She was initially into ballet and spent time studying the rudiments of it, but her mother saw that she wasn’t really interested in it, and was more fascinated with another type of dance. Her mother said that her daughter’s eyes lit up when she talked about the costumes and the music used in ballroom dancing, so she was enrolled in ballroom classes, and focused on learning all the standards such as Tango, Waltz, Foxtrot and Quickstep. She also perfected the more informal Latin styles.
Joined dance competitions at a young age
It didn’t take long for Cheryl to start competing, and at the age of 13 she started to conquer not only the local dance floors but also the international ballroom dance competitions. By 2005, she’d already won prestigious awards, including San Francisco Open Latin Champion, Ohio Rising Star Champion, and the World Cup Professional Rising Star Latin Champion.
Her journey with “Dancing with the Stars”
Cheryl was already a professional dancer when she was invited to join the dance competition TV series, “Dancing with the Stars.” In 2005, a producer of the show watched one of her performances in a dance competition in Los Angeles and was amazed. After an interview with the executives at ABC, she was given a spot as one of the professional dancers in the show for its second season.
What is “Dancing with the Stars” all about?
“Dancing with the Stars,” wasn’t created by any American TV production company. The ABC TV network bought the license from the British TV hit series called “Strictly Come Dancing”, produced by BBC Studios. The American version debut on 1 June 2005, with six competing pairs. It was hosted mostly by Tom Bergeron with the help of several co-hosts, until Tyra Banks took the helm at the start of its 29th season, and also became one of its executive producers.
CHERYL BURKE, EMMITT SMITH #TeamEmmitt
Posted by Dancing with the Stars on Friday, September 28, 2012
The premise of the show is quite simple. Each season, chosen celebrities are partnered with professional dancers to compete in different styles of dance. In every episode, each couple performed assigned dances. All the performances are judged by renowned ballroom dance experts such as Derek Hough, Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba. The audience is able to vote for their favorite performance – the couple with the lowest points are eliminated each week, and the couple that survive to the final episode are crowned champions, and will be the proud owner of the Mirrorball Trophy.
The success rate in her 24 seasons with “DWTS”
When Cheryl first competed in season two of “Dancing with the Stars” in January 2006, she made a huge splash by winning the finals. She along with her celebrity partner Drew Lachey, a former member of the ‘90s boyband 98 Degrees, didn’t receive any score below eight from the judges in all of their performances, and were just three points shy of getting the perfect score during the finals. She earned the distinction of being the first female professional dancer who won the show’s Mirrorball Trophy.
The viewers were in awe of Cheryl’s performance during her first appearance in the show, but even more so in the following season. Some fans thought that she was in for a much more difficult season, because her celebrity partner was former pro American Footballer Emmitt Smith of the Dallas Cowboys. The XXVIII Super Bowl MVP proved everyone wrong by turning out to be one of the best dancers out there. He was coachable and Cheryl was given credit for the outcome. The viewers loved that Emmitt executed the dance routines without looking less manly. Eventually, the couple was declared the “Dancing with the Stars” 2007 winners, Cheryl becoming the only female professional dancer to win a back-to-back championship.
All in all, Cheryl had a great success rate during her 24 seasons with the show. While she never won a championship trophy again, she almost did it twice, in seasons eight and 13. In 2009, she and French actor Giles Marini were head-to-head with Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson and professional dancer Mark Ballas. The two couples even ended with the same score of 88 in the finals from the judges, but in the end, they were voted to be the runner-up in that season. In 2011, she and reality-TV star Rob Kardashian, almost had it, but their scores weren’t enough and so Cheryl ended up in second place again.
Her battle with the Covid-19 virus and being at odds with “DWTS” judges
In 2021, Cheryl was partnered with celebrity Cody Rigsby, a popular peloton instructor. It was probably one of the most challenging seasons she had won “Dancing with the Stars.” She started the 30th season of the show happy with her new dance partner, but before their next dance performance, she contracted the Covid-19 virus, and so thought it was the end of her stint for that season. She felt bad for Cody because he practiced hard for the show, but the producers decided to let them be judged on their practice video, which was recorded a week before her Covid-19 result. It gave the couple a total score of 24, and so they moved to the next round. Cheryl hoped that she didn’t spread the virus to anyone, and thanked everyone for the support, but she also said, ‘For those of you who don’t think COVID is a real thing, it’s (expletive) real, dude.’
Performed virtually on the show
Cheryl only needed to be quarantined for 10 days, and if her result came back negative then she could go back to the studio. However, then Cody tested positive for the Covid-19 virus, so the producers let them participate through live streaming. Both of them practiced hard separately and turned their living rooms to dance studios. For the first time in “Dancing with the Stars,” a couple participated virtually.
Lowest scores and Cheryl was frustrated with the judges
When it was time for them to perform, they did well as if they were dancing together in one place. When they received a score of 18, which meant that each of the judges gave them a six, they were frustrated, especially Cheryl who said during her podcast with AJ Maclean, that she felt that they were screwed by the judges: ‘He deserved at least a 7. We were in sync as if we were in the band,’ and the judges could have at least taken into consideration the amount of work they had to do just to make it work. Basically, it was like two soloists dancing but pretending as if they were dancing side-by-side.
Ended up in third place
Cody was also annoyed at the scoring of their solo performances, and felt that they did great, even if they weren’t dancing together. He said, ‘I watched it back and I was like ‘Wait, we hit every mark, we hit every line.’ Both were determined to make it work after their bout with the virus, and when it was time for their Disney-themed week performances, they were both present in the studio. They were happy, but felt the lingering effect of the virus when they did the jive dance routine, sharing that they felt that their lungs were about to burst as the movements were difficult to execute. In the end, they had to settle for third place in the finals.
Cheryl married American actor and singer Matthew William Lawrence in May 2019, at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar in San Diego. She first met him back in 2007, and they dated for a year but it didn’t work out since they were both busy trying to make a name in the entertainment industry. They reconnected and continued dating until Matthew proposed to her in May 2018. For whatever reason in 2017 – both decided not to focus on having children, and she was content with having a puppy called Ysabella, which was gifted by her husband in May 2020.
Everyone thought that her marriage was going great, until Cheryl filed for divorce in Los Angeles on 18 February 2022. The last time they were seen together was through her Instagram account, on which she uploaded a photo of them together, celebrating Christmas 2021. The court papers showed that she listed the official date of separation as 7 January 2022, so people wondered what happened between them after Christmas, leading to the week after New Year. It was revealed that they had a prenuptial agreement in place, and that she cited irreconcilable differences as the reason for the break-up. She asked that they both pay their attorney fees individually.
Both Cheryl and Matthew wanted to keep things as private as possible, so she only confirmed filing for a divorce through her Instagram in February 2022, saying that it would be the last time she would speak about it. Matthew, on the other hand, was seen doing interviews about his TV show, “Boy Meets World,” without his wedding band. He submitted a legal request in June 2022 for Cheryl to pay for his attorney fees. Apparently, in his paperwork, he outlined his assets as only having just about $5000 in his bank account and about $200,000 for other real and personal property.
A court date was set for September 2022, as she asked for a trial to determine spousal support, division of property, and attorney fees so they could dissolve of marriage.
Her battle with alcoholism
The two-time “Dancing with the Stars” champion was a huge party girl, and was a constant topic on TMZ entertainment site, because she was out having fun almost every single night. It led to her alcohol addiction – she didn’t know if it was genetic, as her father also struggled with alcoholism most of his life, apparently contributing to his death. However, her decision to quit that lifestyle in 2018 was also partly attributed to her father, as he fought hard to be sober. She went into therapy and daily meditation to help her in her sobriety journey. One of the things she did to stay on track was to surround herself with people with the same values. Cheryl shared that whenever she struggled with it, her family made sure she wasn’t alone. Due to her current situation, her fans were worried that it could lead her to drink again, especially since she claimed in the past that she depended so much on her estranged husband when she had difficulties, calling him her rock.
Will Cheryl be part of the 31st season of “Dancing with the Stars?”
On the 31st season of “Dancing with the Stars” this 2022, there will be a huge change for everyone involved in it. After being on the ABC channel for the past 16 years, the TV show will now have a new home, now being streamed exclusively on the Disney Plus cable network. There were no official statements of judges and the professional dancers to be included in the upcoming season. Since Tyra Banks joined the TV series, not only as its host but also as one of the executive producers, it would be safe to say that she’ll be back.
Cheryl’s busy with her podcast “Burke in the Game” as part of the “iheartradio” podcast network. She already had six episodes, and said that she enjoyed discussing various topics, including controversial ones. There was no mention that she’ll be part of the dance competition TV series again – based on her history with the show, she would sometimes take a season off to focus on her other interests, but she always returned to competition. Expect her to slay the dance floor once again, if not this season then in the future seasons of “Dancing with the Stars.”