Cheryl Burke, a well-renowned figure in the professional dancing sphere and an iconic star of "Dancing with the Stars" (DWTS), has recently opened up about the intense scrutiny and criticism she faced, especially during the show's heyday.
The seasoned performer, who took her final bow on DWTS in 2022 after an incredible 26-season run, shared deeply personal experiences about facing body-shaming remarks. During the zenith of DWTS – likened to the massive viewership akin to "Super Bowl ratings" – Burke became the subject of insensitive remarks concerning her weight.
Disturbingly, such comments were not just from viewers but also from some of her colleagues, notably Maks Chmerkovskiy.
Burke Reflects on Past Apologies
In a candid conversation with the New York Post, Burke recounted, "[Maks] expressed regret years ago, extending apologies to both me and my mother, which was gracious." Yet, the journey to healing is ongoing for Burke.
"I grapple with whether there's full closure. It's not solely about Maks’ comments but roots back to my early dancing days." She further elaborated, "Being a curvaceous woman has always put me under the microscope. It's an intrinsic part of me, my bone structure, my hips.
It's a constant battle of self-acceptance, especially when your career inadvertently revolves around your body image." This scrutiny intensified when Burke first partnered with Drew Lachey during the tumultuous phase of his brother Nick Lachey's divorce with Jessica Simpson.
Joining DWTS at 21, the duo's victory catapulted her into the spotlight, further accentuating public criticism about her appearance. "As I matured on the public stage, I underwent natural body changes, which unfortunately became fodder for insensitive tabloid headlines," she lamented.
But Burke wasn't alone. She highlighted, "Lacey Schwimmer faced a similar plight. The endorsement of such negative views by fellow professionals was even more disheartening." Yet, she remains hopeful about the progression of body positivity, asserting, "The narrative is evolving, albeit gradually.
Actions, more than words, are paramount in representing a healthier perspective." Despite adversities, Cheryl views DWTS as a lifeline. She revealed to Fox News Digital, "Dance has been my sanctuary. DWTS, in particular, has been an emotional anchor, helping me navigate through my personal challenges, be it my sobriety, divorce, or the grueling previous year."