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March 10, 2023 49 mins

Chris is happy to be reunited with his friend Cheryl Burke.  She opens up for the first time about her ex finding someone new.
And, if No Scrubs is still on her playlist. 
And, why leaving DWTS was tougher than her divorce.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
This is the most dramatic podcast ever and I heart
radio podcast. Welcome to the most dramatic podcast ever. I
am Chris Harrison, joined once again by Lauren Ziema from
her home office in Austin, Texas, joining me on the
show today. Dancing with the Stars celeb dancing magnet Cheryl

(00:23):
Burke has stepped away from the show, obviously, we know that,
but there is so much more to talk to Cheryl about.
I've known her for so many years, and there's so
much more to talk about than dancing, and I look
forward to doing that. We're gonna do it just a
little bit. But first, Elsie, we gotta put I don't
think we're gonna put a pin in it, because this
thing's going to continue on. But the vander Pump rule

(00:43):
scandal has since we talked about it just a couple
of days ago, has taken several more big key steps.
It has gotten physical, it has gotten litigious. Well, what
you're referring to is, yes, that Raquel Rachel filed a
restraining order against a cast member against Shena, alleging that

(01:06):
Shena punched her or somehow gave her a black eye.
And what that is apparently from or at least whatever
the incident was, was that in that moment. That was
the moment Shena found out they were together, the two
of them after taping Watch what Happens Live in New
York where they're promoting the show, and Raquel, according to

(01:28):
all the different accounts and reports, goes to take a
phone call. The phone calls from Arianna. Arianna's calling her
saying what you know, something like, what the hell is
this video that I found? Shena comes outside to check
on Raquel, and what alarms me the most about this
is that apparently Raquel sort of casually said to Shena, Oh,

(01:49):
I'm on the phone with Arianna about because I've been
having an affair with Tom. And that's when Shena, who
allegedly who knows some kind of incident happened according to Riquel,
So who knows? I got to tell you. Look, I
don't condone physical violence ever, but I don't think Raquel.
I don't think Raquel should have filed the restraining order.

(02:11):
I don't think there's a real It's completely my opinion,
but I don't think there's a real threat of any
future harm to her, And I think it makes her
look bad. I mean, I don't disagree. I found it
interesting when Raquel released her statement after she had been
on Watch What Happens Live, and she said, beyond my
own actions, I have been physically assaulted, lost friendships, received

(02:31):
death threats and hate emails. Most of that. I was like, Okay,
I understand, but I was like, wait, physically assaulted. That's
not something you just slip in a big statement like that.
So I was interested if Moore was going to come
out about it. And obviously now it has that she
was shoved against a wall, suffered a head injury, and
then was punched, and you can see because she filed
a picture of herself with the court filing. For some

(02:54):
people are like, it's faked, it's dramatic. Who knows, I'm
just playing the Devil's advocate here again. I'm not condoned
physical violence. It's interesting to me, though, that you, because
I think I'm I am so much more entrenched in
it that you than you that like you think that
that's kind of an interesting part of it, because it's
all so much has happened that I'm like the physical violence,
I'm not. Well, that takes it to another level. You

(03:17):
know it's not on the show. This was something that
really did happen, And I agree. Did she need to
file a restraining order? She'd already pulled herself away and left.
I think unfortunately, filing the restraining order makes her look
like petty, like mixed up, like it's just gonna make
everybody hate her more at this point. Well, and I guess,
allegedly is it Shanaina said or has stated that she

(03:44):
doesn't regret it and if she hurts my friend again,
I'll do it again. Um that that was one. That's
what she said in her filing. That's why Raquel filed,
is that that was the kind of common sentiment out there.
And so I just don't believe it. I don't. I
don't know that what's she going to do, like show
up to her house and beat her up. I mean,

(04:05):
I'm just telling you my opinion. I don't think. To me, basically,
here's what's happens. Since we've all left off everybody, I mean,
maybe everyone is now following everything too up to the minute,
like like I am. But since we lasted this episode
on Tuesday, Arianna, I mean, Tom released a statement, a
second statement where he actually addresses Arianna, though he addressed

(04:28):
himself much more. Rackel has released a statement which I
thought was a well written statement for what it is.
I mean, obviously she had a PR team helping her
with it. I've read from Raquel's statement. It made me
think she's distanced herself from Tom. It made me think
she's she's second guessed because all the reports were saying
they're in love and they're going to try to be together,

(04:48):
and there was a report they'd kissed in a scene
on camera. But to me, it made it sound like
she's taken a pause there. Well, and Lisavaner Pump was
on with Ady Cohen the other night and she did
say they have you taped some scenes and they were together,
and so maybe in the moment, because she hadn't stepped away,
maybe they did, maybe they kissed and they were going

(05:09):
to play this as you know, Tom and Raquel were
moving on. But now that she's pulled herself away, hopefully
she will come to her senses and hopefully maybe she
has changed her mind. Seem right to me, that's the
smart thing there is, Raquel, And I'm not like, I
don't know, I've changed my mind on all this A
lot I've been going back and forth a lot. I'm
exhausted and stressed out by it all because I'm so

(05:33):
lost on the why still, like as I find out,
as more and more comes out about it, and as
I actually start to realize because I didn't watch last
season of vander Pump Rules, I think I'm like, I'm
doing a little more research and realizing that Raquel and
Arianna weren't just friends, they were very close friends. And

(05:53):
I can't find the why here. I can't find what
was Tom and Raquel's plan? What were they going to do? Well?
That brings me up because I was going to ask
you the question. This Lisa vander Pump theory, this was
her theory that she talked about on the show, is
that Tom and Rickell, We're gonna wait until after this
reunion that, yeah, that was gonna be the only thing.

(06:13):
I can think, get to the reunion, break up, and
then they had months to kind of let everything, Arianna breakup. Yeah,
he and Arianna would break up, He and Riquel could
be together, announce it, get past that reunion, and then
they have a few months before they start taping again.
Things calm down. They come back on the next season
and Tom and Rickell are now a thing, and Arianna
they have broken up. So that was Lisa Vanderpump's theory

(06:35):
that actually that was my that was what I also
thought that could be the only maybe plan they had,
and that's why I guess that's why they were keeping it.
I don't know why though they'd keep it secret through
this season, like just break up sooner and like break
up before this season started filming. I don't know. I

(06:55):
also can't I can't get it. I think I'm more so,
I mean, I'm lost on the why of why Raquel
would be getting would be entrenching herself even closer with Arianna,
would be I don't know, you had everybody loves guilt.
Maybe you know, she felt so guilty about what she

(07:16):
was doing behind her back that like I'm just going
to try and overly lover. I don't know. It's a weird,
twisted thing to say, but I don't know. It's a
you're right, the putting the why on this, like maybe
Tom was telling her things about Arianna that you know,
maybe Tom's painting Ariana as like because he keeps talking
about her mental health, Maybe he was painting her as
unstable in all that, and so Riquel was thinking, Oh,

(07:37):
we really I'm in love with him and we really
can't tell her yet, and I've got to be there
for as a friend. I don't know. I think also
at this point, this is my opinion, I think Tom's
a narcissist from everything I've seen, from what we've seen
of him over the years, I think Tom's a narcissist.
I think he's incredibly immature. I won't be surprised if
more cheating comes out, that he cheated with more than

(07:58):
Roquel and Arianna. Um. I just think he thinks he's
smarter than everyone, and he thought he could get away
with this. Raquel. I can't. I still don't know what
Raquel is. I don't like why. It's so painful now
to watch I just watch this week's episode and to
watch or hang out with Arianna. It's so painful. Everything

(08:18):
is so cringe now. Everything they do is so cringe.
Do you think they're going to go back and re
edit episodes now, the episodes they had in the can
as as a producer, Yeah, what what you would do
is you would go back and look at your stock footage,
the stuff that probably got left on the cutting room floor,
and you would bring that relationship in those scenes into

(08:40):
more prominence. You would definitely lay into that. What we
would do often is, you know, on any show, on
any reality show, if you're trying to beat a deadline,
you start pre editing pretty early on your basic storylines.
But if you see something resonating with your audience, if
you see something that really pops in the ratings, clearly
you're going to go now and heavily edit yet it.
You will see much more of Ariana, Raquel and Tom.

(09:03):
Now here's another question. A lot of people think that
that Raquel is going to try to avoid the reunion.
The reunion tapes in two weeks. They had not taped
the reunion yet. I think she should go to the
reunion too. Why, I just I think she should own it. Yeah,
you have to face it. Yeah, Yeah. If she comes
in and doesn't play the victim and doesn't and look,

(09:25):
she's going to take a beating. So you're going to
You're going to mentally have to prepare yourself, Raquel, for
what's going to come. Take it. Own it. Just try
and diffuse it by owning everything you did. When I
did reunion shows, The worst thing people would do is
they would come back and they wouldn't own who they were.
It was just so difficult for somebody to admit they

(09:47):
were wrong and to take that stance, and so they
would fight it and it just made it worse, or
pouring gasoline on a fire. So I think she could
come out of this not unscathed, but I think she
could come out of its successful and maybe heal some
of these scars. Tom, I don't think so. I think
he's a dead man walking well. I mean you look
at his statement too, and the things that he said,
like like something like I wish things had happened in

(10:11):
a different order, Tom, the only person controlling the order
that all this happened in was you. You were the person.
So there's no wishing it had happened in a different order.
It happened this way because you didn't known up to it.
I think he's defensive. I mean, there are reports that
he didn't as we said, like filming the scenes because
he was painted in a negative light. That is a
trade of narcissism. They've got to be the good person,

(10:33):
the good guy, and I think he and it's on
everybody else. If you're not, and I think he will
come to that reunion very defensive, and it will only
be better for Raquel. I mean, I'm just strategizing here.
I hope it's genuine, but I think it would only
be better for her to come to the reunion to
not be defensive, to own it completely, to fall on

(10:53):
her knees and apologize, and that to you know, you
want to talk about that. I mean, we've talked about
this before, like when people cheat, the level of guilt
they have matters, right. And according to UM, I listened
to some of Kristen Dody, who's a former cast member
who's still friends with Everybody's podcast, and she said she
was there when Tom was with Arianna after all this.

(11:17):
She said he walked in and they're all there, and
he goes, oh, I know everybody hates me. I'm the
bad guy, and that he wasn't apologetic to Arianna, that
he was just kind of gaslighting her, And I'm like, God,
that just that sounds like narcissism to me. Or you
don't want everybody to think you're the bad guy. You're
not grasping the gravity of it. You should be groveling, apologizing.
I am so sorry I did this to you if

(11:38):
you really loved this person. So I don't think Tom
really loved Arianna. Not in the end here anyway, I
don't know if he's capable of healthy life. I was
just about to say the same thing. I don't think
he's capable of it. I think he sounds like was
he forty one? Forty one year old? Who like? You
are who you are? I'm in a rock band in La.
I'm like, come on, dude, Like we can all evolve

(11:59):
in change, but I think who you are, you are
who you are at forty. I guess that's why I
brought up Raquel's age and got again. I am not
justifying what she did at I mean, what she did
was horrible. No, she's not a child, and what she
did to her friend was horrible. The but I just

(12:21):
hope I think she maybe still has time to look
back and regret all this, if she can mentally get
herself to the place she needs to be, because also, like, wow,
what a choice to I don't know what she was thinking,
or if she was thinking, because doing this meant she
was going to lose this group of incredible women she
has she had as her best friends. Katie and and well,

(12:44):
I mean, she wasn't great friends with Katie, but she
was going to lose this group Shena and Arianna and
Katie and Lala, and she was growing those relationships. And
no matter what when this Tom thing came out, like
you were going to lose that group of women, and
a great group of women in your life is more
important than almost anything A bad narcissistic want to be
rock star. I think that's worth throwing your life away for.

(13:07):
I know. Look is her statement was her statement about
how she's like addicted that she mentioned things like she's
addicted to love and she she gets fulfillment from that.
Was that written with the help of a PR team, Yes,
But I don't think it was all wrong. It still
felt like there was some self awareness. I thought there
was a lot of good self awareness, and I thought,
I rate, Okay, I'm gonna challenge you. I don't know

(13:29):
if she has the self awareness yet. I think the
PR team's helping her, is telling her what to write. Maybe,
But I mean I think I think whoever wrote that
statement and had had some accuracy in their assessment of Raquel.
Look at already on this season, she's like made out
with or or going to be hooking up with like
four guys from the show. I think she's getting her
fulfillment and her confidence in all the wrong the attention. Yeah,

(13:52):
it's which is easy to slip into that in this
reality world. Um, and what she did to her friend
was awful but more but what Tom did to his
partner is awful And the worst part is he doesn't
seem to have any real remorse. Well, I'm all emotional
about this. Now, this isn't a break, This isn't over. Obviously,

(14:15):
this scandal will roll on because now we're obviously going
to watch it play out on Vanderpump Rules. And as
Lauren just alluded to, you watch each episode now and
it's cruneworthy because you just will see things that make
your skin crawl when you see them together. And this
will all lead us up to that just huge reunion.
And again, I am so jealous you are to not

(14:36):
be hosting that show. Andy. If you need help, if
you get you know, laryngitis, call me. I will be
there in a heartbeat. So I do want to say,
you know, Arianna, I can't imagine well, I mean I
can't imagine, but the pain she's going through right now,
they're together almost a decade. She finds out he's sleeping

(14:59):
with her friend. It's been going on, some people now
speculating it was going on even before last summer. So painful,
so shocking to the system. But I do want to
say anybody who's been cheated on, it's like Arianna, I
promise you this, Things will get better from here. It
is only bigger and better from here. You push through

(15:20):
this pain, and you're going to look back and be
so grateful actually that you were able to get out
of this when you did, you are going to be
onto a much better relationship. And when you're in that
better relationship, you're gonna think, oh gosh, I'm so glad
I don't have to put up with Tom's anymore. I
think it's it's I'm glad she's for you. This bullshit

(15:40):
rule number one, This two show pass a lot. You
are full team Arianna Talk Arianna. If you need another
PEP talk, call Elsie. She is here for you. There
is no other team speaking of this team. Thank you, Elsie.
I appreciate you jumping in and putting a pin in this,
but we will continue to follow it and We're going
to take a quick break. We come back Dancing with

(16:01):
the Stars. Cheryl Burke is going to join me. We
have a lot to talk about. Welcome back to the
most dramatic podcast ever. I'm Chris Harrison. She danced her

(16:22):
way into our hearts for over seventeen years on Dancing
with the Stars. But Cheryl Burke is so much more
than just a star from that long running show on ABC.
And Cheryl joins me. Now, first of all, it's so
good to see you again. It has been way too long,
my friend. I know, I mean, how many years has
it been? Well, actually I had to actually do research.

(16:44):
It was half ass internet research where I went back.
I'm like, when did dancing starts? Because I remember I
remember vividly being in New York. We were shooting Bachelor Bacherette,
and I remember one of the executives saying there's going
to be the show where celebrities dance, and I was like,
what are you talking about? But that was like two

(17:04):
thousand and five, right, Yeah, so I started season two,
so that was back in two thousand and six. Yeah,
so two thousand and six, so a good seventeen year. Now,
because me and you did Uh, we didn't Miss USA
together or something. Yeah, America, Miss America America. Yeah, you
were a judge on Miss America as well. Out there
in Vegas, our pasitive crossed many times. That is that's

(17:26):
why we were in Vegas, and that's why we went
out that night and danced our butts off. And that's
what that was when I was drinking. And we will
get to all that as well. Hey, So Laura and
I were just talking about this Vanderpump rules of fair
in this scandal? Have you kept up with that? Do
you watch it at all? Do you know about it? Honestly,
I don't until I had a conversation with one of

(17:47):
your producers last night, and then I listened to your
last episode, and so now I'm caught up. It's pretty bonkers. Yeah, actually,
now that I actually know, maybe the gist of it,
I mean, is it though? Yeah, I guess, I guess
you're right. It's not that bonkers. Is just normal life.
And when you put normal life on TV, it seems
crazy because and that's what I really I didn't want

(18:09):
to talk to you about Vanderpump. I want to talk
to you about our lives in your life, because you
and I have both been through something very similar, and
that is public relationships, public breakups, public divorces, public everything.
And you know from this Vanderpump thing, you know, an
affair is not the craziest thing. Affairs happened all the time,

(18:29):
but when it's public, it's very difficult. And you went
through this, yeah, but you're you know, yes and not.
But but we sign up for it in a way.
I mean for me at least, being on Dancing with
This or was still weird. Still hard to say, very
hard because it's only been a few months really, but yes,
when I was on Dancing with the Stars, it is

(18:51):
not necessarily I don't like think that's a reality show
like Vanderpump for example, because it's more of like the
art form, right, Like my job is to up as
a teacher, is just to get this person or celebrity
how to dance, right. So it's like they're we don't
they're not looking for that type of stuff. But yes,
with the tension and being on primetime television for so

(19:13):
many years, it's bound to happen for sure. Well, especially
you know someone like you who was on so long,
several of you, there was like a small group of you,
I would say that became celebrities, and you were bigger
than the celebrities on Dancing with the Stars, so that
I don't know where you draw that line or if
it's case by case of Okay, how much do I

(19:35):
deserve to know about Cheryl Burke? Well, I mean I
don't know. I mean as a as a viewer, you mean, yeah, Well,
I just mean, you know you're on this show, and
you're right, it's it's not a docu reality follow series.
It was a dancing show. Yet you know, you you
became public fodder and consumption and people wanted to know
and obviously one begets the other, and that means we

(19:58):
love you and we wanted to know, right, I mean,
if nobody cared about you, then no one would care
about your relationship either, So that popularity came with a
price for you. Yeah, I mean it all started like
for me, I think you know, I never signed up
to be famous. I guess it was the case for
me back in two thousand and six and still is.
Like I came here purely for the art form of dance,

(20:18):
and I just happened to be at the right place
at the right time, and in the right situation, right,
So I didn't come here to like I didn't even
ask to audition, like they auditioned me. And I didn't
even know if I could even do it. To be
quite honest, I was like twenty twenty one. I just
had twined professional, didn't know if I could teach anyway.
And then I danced with Drew Lache And this was
at the height of Nick Lache and Jessica Simpson's divorce,

(20:39):
and so I again just fell into this and I
never I mean, I had so much anxiety. I think
that's when my anxiety really and that's really Yeah, the
booze helped during that time, supposedly, but probably not. Yeah.
Then game addiction and trying to cover up the Vanderpute

(21:00):
rules thing though was interesting because of the affair and
how public and how tawdry it was. Have you ever
been cheated on? Absolutely? Yeah, I said, you know, Lauren,
and I said on our podcast, if it's not one
hundred percent, it's ninety nine, I mean, or you're just
completely not wanting to know, right the great point, Yeah,

(21:23):
you're just completely in denial. But being cheated on is
something that it is a wound that that cuts you
deep because it's a different kind of betrayal and this
involved a friend as well. But um, that takes it
to another level, doesn't it. I mean, look, I know
you're kind of not defending her, but yeah, she's young,

(21:46):
but she ain't that young. You're right, You're right. It's
not like she's nineteen, you know what I mean, Like,
she's almost thirty years old. So like, look, at the
end of the day, you either have morals and values
that you follow or you don't, you know, and regardless
whether you're a narcissist or not, or whatever happened, you
just have to take accountability over what happened. Because with accountability,

(22:09):
I find that forgiveness can happen, but not if you
just continue to not hold yourself accountable or blame. That
is the hard part. It's like, you know, I think
with any relationship I was in when there was infidelity involved,
if that person could have just come to the plate,
there would have been there could have been a solution,
you know. And that takes me to your relationship because

(22:32):
you just went through a very public you just want
to through a very public Everyone thinks I've only dated
one person, but nope, there's a bunch of people I've dated,
not but not like that, you know what I mean. Actually,
I'm one of those people that know that you have
dated other people. Thank you, thank you. But you've been married.
You were married with you know, to Matthew Lawrence and
got divorced. It was a very public divorce and if

(22:54):
something you guys kind of kept quiet. But he's now
gone on his podcast and has been very vocal about
how the relationship tested him and how quote, I ended
up getting involved with people that I was trying to
please and it never fricking works. And no, do you

(23:14):
agree with him? There was another thing that he said.
I thought it was very interesting. You can love someone
to death and you can be in a toxic relationship
and it can spiral out of control and ruin both
of your lives. Obviously referring to your relationship, was it
did you think this was a toxic relationship? Look, I
mean out of etiquette, Like I like to speak for

(23:36):
myself only because I am not going to speak for
other people. But look, again, it goes back to accountability.
It's like, if that's what it was for him, that's fine,
but that doesn't mean it was like that for me
in any scenario. Now, as far as toxic, absolutely, there
were moments of it, absolutely, but like the whole pleasing.

(23:57):
By the way, this is the first time I'm hearing
these quotes. I haven't googled myself recently. I've decided to
stop doing that actually, But you know, it's interesting because
it's all a choice. Life is a choice, Yeah, and
you could either choose to people please, but that has
nothing to do with the other person, you know. I

(24:19):
think that no matter what, honesty and transparency and accountability
will always get you further, no matter what. You haven't
googled yourself. But now that he has this podcast, he's
been speaking out and well, it's here's the thing. When
the average Joe or Jane goes through a divorce, goes
through a breakup, especially when there's no kids involved, you go,

(24:40):
you go your separate ways. You're not going to hear
about it. You're not going to see headlines. You know,
Matthew's continuing to make headlines because he's speaking about it
on his podcast. And so is that a kind of
different level of just toughness and just difficulty of already
handling a situation that's hard emotionally, I mean, which you
don't know. It doesn't hurt you, hence the not googling

(25:02):
myself good point and you saying this. Normally I'd be like, oh,
look he did good. More like I really, look, I
have a lot on my plate. This has been a
huge year of transitioning for me, and the biggest break
up for me was with the show, to be quite honest,
and that that continues for me to have. I have
a heavy heart. You know, it's really sad because I

(25:23):
feel like that marriage was definitely a longer one, yeah,
and more intimate, and it was because I grew up
on that show. So look, it is what it is.
He's going to say what he says, and you know,
I wish him well, I really do wish him well.
He's uh, I don't I assume you know he's dating

(25:44):
TLC sing or Chili. I'm a huge fan, by the way,
you're a TLC fan? Really? Oh my god. I had
it on my like six disc spinner at back in
the nineties. Remember those Absolutely you knew you were rich
when you had the five disc changer in your car.
My parents, that's for sure. Yeah exactly. Um so, yeah,
so's he's dating Chili now and that relationship he's been

(26:09):
gushing quite a bit about. And he spoke about wanting
to have kids and and playing you know that that's
the plan as soon as possible. Is that something you
guys were never into? Did you ever approach that subject?
Are you surprised by that? No, I'm not surprised at all.
Like he comes from a huge family, and I think that,

(26:31):
you know, especially his mom. Like, there were definitely, you know, conversations,
but I always had said, you know, as long as
I have to shove my body in a dance costume,
me getting or thinking about being pegged out probably isn't
something I can talk about at the moment. But yes,
there were discussions of like possibly freezing my eggs. But
then you know, I also you know, and I'm working
through it, but I don't plan on suffering from body

(26:52):
dysmorphia in my whole life. But like, yes, with dance
in general, yeah, you know that that comes into play.
And then being outed years ago for being too bad
for TV, you know, so it's like there's all of
this trauma and I hope, I really truly hope he
can actually you know, have a kid with with Chili.
I think that's amazing because I think he's wanted that.
You know. Um, so at least you would still go

(27:14):
to the TLC or reunion concerts. No, I'm not going
to a concert, but I was still sing along to
the song no Scrubs. You know what I'm saying. Fair enough,
that's that you know what we meet in the middle.
That's fair enough. You know. I didn't want. I don't
want to get too much into the divorce. But one
thing I am very happy about. You got custody of Isabella,
your bulldog. And I make light of something that was

(27:36):
pretty silly when you guys were actually battling over this.
This was your dog. That was silly. Yeah, that was silly.
But the fact that you actually got custody of your dog,
I was really happy about that. Thank you. Yeah, that's
a win win for me. You know, like this dog,
I feel bad for her. She has just felt it
all like you know, dogs can actually feel like my energy,
like in general humans energy. Right, So, um, Isabella has

(27:59):
been my row. As crazy as that sounds, if you
would have told me this ten years ago, that a dog,
not a human being, would have been there for me
more than an actually even being I would have been like,
you're crazy. No, yes, it's a hell is actually therapeutic.
It's called unconditional love, right, well, we all need that.
And it's also called they don't talk back, right, that's

(28:19):
maybe that's the definition of unconditional love, as they just
don't talk back. So you mentioned that you were what
twenty one, twenty two years old when you started Dancing
with the Stars. That was your longest relationship and it
was you know, when you're in the arts, when you're
doing a show like you and I both did, it
is personal. It's something that it's a piece of your soul,

(28:39):
and you did that. You know, from the time you're
twenty one to the time you were thirty eight years old,
that is such a impactful time in your life. To
go from your early twenties to almost forty years old.
When you look back, like how much have you changed?
Can you quantify what a different woman you are? First

(29:01):
of all, you should hear my very first audition tape.
I don't I didn't know what my favorite color was.
I had really zero identity whatsoever, coming from the competitive world,
which is very much like a man's world, and the
woman follows the man and it's like that in real life,
unfortunately as well as some times, you know, And so
I guess I never I was really quiet and shy,
and I don't know if it's because of, you know,

(29:23):
the abuse I suffered from as a child or what
it was. But regardless, dance was always my way to move.
Movement in my body was my way to express myself,
not through words. So when I did this audition, they
came to Harlem, where I was living at the time,
and they asked me to spin do a dance move.
This is when my hair was really sure that yeah, yeah,

(29:45):
I only looked good in movement. So I just continued
to move and I was like, my name is Cheryl Burke,
and I like, name one thing about you, and I'm like,
and I'm a tiger on the dance so crazy, And
my voice was so high. I sounded like a little mouse.
I had a partial English accent. Don't know why. I
think because my dance coach was English and coming here.
Long story short, it has helped. I have to give

(30:06):
credit to dancing. It's kind of like they throw you
in the pool of sharks. You gotta do interviews. You
got to speak for yourself. You got to speak up. Also,
I had just turned pro, so I didn't have a
lot of teaching experience under my belt, so it was
really a huge challenge. But it made me grow up
as an individual and as an independent person instead of
living in someone else's shadow quickly. And I'm so grateful

(30:28):
for the show for that, you know, So you'd look
back and fondly remember your time, there a lot to
you totally listen. Of course, there are little things, like
any relationship, there's always going to be this, but the
bigger picture that I will never forget and be grateful
for the show being a part of my life for

(30:49):
such a long time, Like it really has helped like
make me the woman I am today, I guess, you know. Yeah, no,
I mean by the way, I said the same thing
about The Bachelor. You know, I didn't want it to
end the way it did. But still I can't help
but be grateful because it was such a part of
my adult life. And I was a little older when
I started, but went through about the same time frame
as you. And so yeah, it's you can't spend that

(31:10):
much time on something. How do you feel after all
of that? What was your initial reaction. I guess, like,
how long did it hurt for? I guess, well, that
goes There's a lot of layers to that, much like
your divorce. But it was, you know, in the beginning,
there was the shock because it was a band aid
being ripped off. It wasn't something maybe like you did,

(31:31):
where you thought about this for quite some time and
you're like, you know what, dancing and this is taking
a toll on me and my life and it's time
to step away. While I had thought about that, I
hadn't put those wheels in motion yet. So for it
to all happen so quickly in a tumultuous way, it
was a lot. It was a lot to handle, which
is why I kind of stepped away from everything and
didn't do a podcast and didn't do any interviews, did nothing,

(31:53):
just just got healthy. As you know. How long was
that process About a year and a half. I mean, away,
I could have come back sooner, but honestly, I started
enjoying it. I started really enjoying my life again. And
have you gotten to that point yet? I mean, obviously
you said stepping away from dancing was maybe the toughest
decision of your life. Have you come to terms with it?

(32:14):
And do you feel good about it? You know, yes,
it's very empowering, but it's also sad, you know, like
I can't help. But you know, it doesn't not cross
my mind that oh maybe I should have just stuck
it out another five Like physically I could have done it, Chris,
But mentally, you know, it's like I am on such

(32:35):
I'm on a path right now, or I am so
into my mental health and I'm really into sharing my resources.
Right I'm no professional, but I can share my experiences
with people, and that to me that I can't explain
the feeling when I can actually affect somebody else's life
in a way other than me barking at them telling
them to do a Shacha lockstep, you know like that.

(32:57):
You know, it's it's so it fills me up. It's
hard to explain, but you probably understand. And anyone listening
right now, you know, like any relationship, and it's like
I just knew that, you know, either it was going
to be my call or it was gonna be theirs. Right,
So it's like this was just the time, it was time.
I'm thirty eight, I've done twenty six seasons. Yeah, what
else can I What else do I need to prove? Like,

(33:18):
I don't know what else to do other than like
I've already proved it from the first two seasons if
you were to look at it like from the material
side of things. However, you know, it's like it's time
to move on, Like I want to be able to
challenge myself. I hate feeling stagnant with whatever I do.
I hate it that two great points. First of all,
it's very rare that an athlete and I do consider
you guys athletes, and you are competing at the highest

(33:41):
level of what you do, and so to go out
on top is a hard thing to do because, like
you said, you absolutely could have milked it, and you
could have made it through another five years on your popularity,
But would you have been your best? Would it have
been the Cheryl Burke we all knew and loved. And
to have the self awareness to say no and to
step away, that says a lot about you. It takes

(34:02):
a lot. Oh. You know, the last time I felt
like this was moving from Harlem to the Los Angeles.
So I know that there is a good there is
you know, the path is greener, but I just have
to I have to be patient. I'm very impatient. Yeah,
but I definitely need to just like and also, by
the way, I need to stop defining myself by my
outside sources, Like I need to stop thinking that my
job is who Cheryl Burke is or my friends. You know.

(34:25):
It's like, I'm really trying to do that work and
it's not easy. Well, it's not easy. When you are
so popular and you're on, you know, a huge hit
show and you are famous for that, it's easy to
get wrapped up in that identity that you are Cheryl
Burke from Dancing with the Stars. Oh my god. People
still people are like, you made the worst mistake ever.
And I'm like, that's why I don't sprowl on freaking
social media. Yeah, one thing I've I have not heard

(34:50):
you speak of. And now that you're gone, maybe you
can be brutally honest about this. Okay. I'm like, Okay,
Tom bergier on, I love him, I do too. End
and a wonderful host. How did the dynamic change and
what was different when they fired Tom and Aaron Andrews. Look,

(35:10):
this is no dig at Tira, because I think Tyra
is an amazing woman. But honestly, the heart of the show,
it was gone. I can't even say it better than that,
because you know, a lot of people don't know this,
but Tom would like host mid season parties for us,
and it was like casting crew, only we would have

(35:30):
dress rehearsal. He'd come on Sundays during camera blocking and
though he wasn't probably getting paid for it, like he
was still wanting to interact with everybody. I call him
my dance dad, you know, and he was there from
the beginning and he just made light of everything. And
it was a smart casting decision on you know, whoever
was the showrunner or whoever decided to book Tom, because

(35:51):
Tom made Ballroom not so because it's so serious, right,
like we take our freaking this is blood, sweat and tears,
like for what a nasty mirror ball trophy. But with Tom,
it was like, okay, yeah, we can make light of everything,
you know, and it's like it's actually he's so genuine
and he's so authentic, and there was a comfort level

(36:14):
like I don't know if I'm speaking more for the
older demographic, but like at the end of the day,
when you see it's like if you were to recast
the cast of friends like you can't do it. Yeah. Well,
and to your point, I think what he did brilliantly
was walk that line. Yes, he threw in the funny
you know, jabs every now and then, but everything was
out of love. And he also knew how to lean

(36:34):
into the emotional moments when there were those, he paid
he paid attention and he listened and and he's just
a great host on that level. Altely, it wasn't about him,
right well, and that's rule number one of hosting. It's
not about you. You are not the star. And that's
something that's lost by a lot of host and and
you know, obviously the ratings changed and you can see

(36:56):
the numbers changed dramatically after he and Aaron left. We're
not on maybec anymore right for that, So yeah, you
can just look at the scoreboard. But I was just
curious from the inside. I mean that's what I felt
as a host on a show across the network from him,
and he and I had a very special relationship for
a couple of reasons that we always just got along

(37:16):
really well. We're very different, very highly of you. He's
fond of you very much. Well, he's and I'm really
glad to hear that. We from our early days. He
was one of the first that kind of reached out
to me when I took over Miss America, which he
had just hosted something that could have been an awkward
moment he broke. He broke the ice and immediately was like, hey, man, congratulations,
I'm happy for you. Let me know if there's anything

(37:37):
I can do. There was another moment you probably don't
know about. It was with your former partner Drew Lache.
Because of a medical thing that in his family, Bergeron
was maybe not going to make it back to host
the show for the first time ever. So they called
me on a Sunday and said, hey, Harrison, can you
come in. We just need you to be on standby.
You might be hosting Dancing with the Stars tomorrow night

(37:59):
if his father died passed away, right he was. It
was during he was had to do with one of
his kids or something like that, and he ended up
making it in. But I went to the table read
and I was ready to go, and just ever since then,
we just had this and they asked me to keep
that quiet and never tell that story while he was
still going, and so we never spoke of it, but
he just we always had that kind of mutual respect

(38:19):
for each other. He also told me about the Emmy's.
Was it the Emmy's when all the hosts of primetime?
Oh my god, that was hysterical. He actually, he forget
to tell me, so I just let him tell me again.
But like, yeah, it's so funny that that moment was great. Yeah,
there was one year when all the reality show hosts
hosted the Emmy's and it was he was pretty critically panned.

(38:41):
He didn't go great. He's still traumatizing. Yeah, but thanks
for opening up about that. I was just curious what
the thought was because, again, a little selfish as the host,
I noticed these things and it was a it was
a big change at the time, and I think it
I think if he ever talked about it too, it
hurt him to have that taken away. Chris. Yes, it's like, look,

(39:05):
this show is so special, the relationships you make, the
lifelong friends you make. There's some seasons that are the
camaraderies a lot better than others. There's also some showrunners
that are better than others. To be just blunt right
the end of the day, that is where it's coming
from right, like if they're there, you have to in

(39:26):
any business, you have to develop a personal relationship with
these people or else there you're seeing how cold it
is at times, and then you're seeing how warm and
how we love to hang out with each other. It's
about the environment we work in and a lot of
that has to do with the people that you know.
To the executive, it is funny you think though you

(39:47):
are on the inside and you're there on the daily
and you're like, how can they not see it? Like
this seems so obvious to me that this works, This
doesn't How are we how are we messing this up?
But they do, and I they look, they want to
come in, they want to put their fingerprint on it.
I get it. You know it's and it's ego. It's
all ego. And then it's selfish, like when when we

(40:08):
first started this show, we were like no one cared
if you hung out with producer. We were we were
like parting in the green room on the floor, like
smoking cigarettes, like trashing it. And it's like when we
did the very first Dancing with the Stars tour, it
was insanity. The popularity of this show right, and how
we got treated like rock stars, and then it becomes normal,

(40:30):
the new normal. Yeah, then it becomes a machine, and
then it becomes numbers, numbers, numbers, numbers that you're forgetting about.
First of all, what the show was, which was a
ballroom show. Let's stick, let's just start there. You know,
like the dancing has changed, but it's about It's about
the humanity of it though, and you know, it was
never about the day. So that's the reason why ballroom works.
It's not a so you think you can dance like,

(40:52):
we're not gonna be doing hip hop with our partner
because there's no communication through the body. Ballroom works because
of the fact that two people have to work together,
not side by side. Yeah, it was a story. It
was a relationship. And watching that and speaking of relationships,
you are single now and this takes me very much. No,
I'm not dating, Chris, I'm not dating. Well, this takes

(41:13):
me back to a rumor when you and I were
in Las Vegas and we talked at length about this
about you being the bachelorette. Yeah, do you remember that?
So freaking Lily, I even went into that meeting with
I forgot to snake Michael. So you did you had
meetings about being the Bachelorette and talking about Juby Kennell
talked about it. I'm Jimmy kim Alive. I'll never forget it.

(41:36):
So that was real, that was legit. Yeah, I don't
know why why the hell didn't work, especially when during
my drinking days I would have been great. Yeah, you
would have been. After the few days I spent with
you in Vegas. I think maybe I said, that's not
the best idea for her right now. Yeah, probably not.
It's probably a blessing in disguise, So thank you, that's
what really happened. But you are single and you are

(41:59):
not dating. Well, I'm dating myself, which is a great
thing for the moment because I don't think I've ever
actually enjoyed my own company. So this is I am
not even interested at the moment still, and I know
that I had a podcast with iHeart about it. No
wonder it probably didn't work because I'm just genuinely not

(42:19):
into it at the moment. I'm really not. So you're
not open to if you bumped into somebody at a
coffee shop or and they said, hey, yes, but I'm
not so desperate to get on a dating app like,
you know, if that happened, so be it. But that
would mean I'd have to leave this house, right, So
I don't like leaving this house. But if I knew
a great fine mister Joe Schmo and this closet unfortunately,

(42:39):
but if I knew a great guy and I send
him your way, just saying there's a chance, yeah, I
might have to do some get it like a background
check and all that person. Of course, would you get

(43:02):
married again? Absolutely, I love it, So that's that's in
the cards. Yeah, I mean kids, I don't know, I
don't I don't mind even contemplating like that option of adopting,
like I've always I never thought that even as a
little girl, and never was a huge like I want
twelve kids and coming out of me naturally like I'm

(43:22):
not really I don't need that, you know. For me,
a kid is a kid, like whether you're adopted or not,
Like there's so much love regardless. It seems like you're
in a really healthy place right now though, if you're
able to even talk about, Yeah, marriage is a thing,
and maybe I do want kids down the road and
I want that life. And now without dancing with the stars,
you're able to work on that now. Well yeah, but

(43:43):
I'm also not retired from work like I'm a workaholic,
as everyone knows. How do you spend your days? What
are you doing? I am honestly shooting so much social
media content. Just call me an influencer. Okay forgetting the
last twenty something seasons of Dancing with the starts, I'm
starting over from scratch. Then, now you're efficiently Now you
officially are a Bachelorette contestant. You're just an influencer, right.

(44:05):
I mean I was gonna say, if there's a Bachelorette
sober version, I just don't think it would work without
the alcohol unfortunately. So but you know what show I'm
really into is Love Is Blind. I think they should
do a celebrity version. I think that would be fascinating.
We can make that work. You mentioned your sobriety. How
long have you been sobered? I know you have. It's

(44:25):
fallen off the wagon and we've broken it, but you
are back. How long have you been sober? Now? Almost
five years? Congratulations? Thank you, that's awesome. I love that
for you, and I know if I could get through
this whole like year not taking a sip I feel
pretty confident in myself. Thank you. I was going to
ask if that has been a struggle. Oh my god,
every day, Chris, every day. Yeah, No, it's something so

(44:47):
many addict will tell you that every single day, Like
whether it just comes out of you know, nowhere, or
if it's because of what you're going through. But like,
this is why it's so vital for me to really
just date myself, because if I'm not conscious, I could
be on a date and like you know, depending on
my mood and someone's offering me and drink. I'm like, yeah, whatever,
you know, No, I get it, and I mean I've

(45:08):
I've been intimately surrounded by that in my life. So
I understand that every day you are making that choice.
And I'm so proud of you for that because I
know when you go through tumultuous times, like you said,
it's easy, it's so easy to slip. Yeah, it really is.
And I do remember, you know, and not to kind
of bring up an old wound, but as much as

(45:28):
I loved and adored you and you were such a
good friend back in the day, I remember being in
Vegas and those were dark times. It's like you would
go from zero to a thousand, it's like, oh, here's Cheryl,
and then it's like, oh, this is the girl I
don't recognize and it would happen quickly. Yeah, And I
think I also was a functioning drunk, so it was
like that was That's the scariest, you know, was when

(45:49):
people when you're not drinking, people are like are you okay?
Because I'm not as like social or you know, it
is it's a different type of I guess scary when
you're an addict. Because I also, if you were to
look on paper, maybe I'm the most successful of saying
this when I did Red Table talk, like maybe I
was the most successful when I was drinking, which is
my rock bottom, you guys, because like a rock bottom

(46:11):
doesn't necessarily mean being found in a you know, alley
way and then being you know, heading to rehab. Like, no,
this is a rock bottom for me as well, because
you're like, well, then my lazy brain, which sometimes happens,
it'll like go in there, my unconscious brain will be like, oh,
you know what, if you were the most successful, then
you might as well start drinking again. You pulled it off,

(46:33):
you can do it again, right, right? Was there ever
a time that you were drinking, drunk or on anything
while you were working on Dancing with the Stars. I
was always um, well, I used Dancing with the Stars
like a sauna, so it was like I drank hardcore,
then I would sweat it out. My partners would guess
what I was drinking the night before, then I would
do it again. This is the reason why I'm no

(46:53):
joke ging here aside, right, but like seven days a
week I was out And this was before Uber. That
was scary. Yeah. Well, by the grace of God, you
are here, yes, and you're thriving, and you're in such
a good place, and I'm just happy to see the
way you're you're thriving right now and you're growing. You've
always been amazing person, but I'm glad to see you

(47:14):
figuring that out now. Thank you and congratulations on this podcast.
This is amazing. It's been awesome. It's been really fun.
It has been a great platform to have to kind
of speak in this way and then to rekind of
connect with some of my friends and bring some of
these personal stories out. Like you, It's like it's not
just Cheryl Burke from dancing. This is a woman I've
known for quite some time. Our paths of cross and

(47:35):
intertwine many times totally. And I hope to actually hang
out behind the camera because I would love to ask
you some more questions about how you're handling this transition
of yours. It's really must be really challenging at times,
you know it has been. And someday, thank you, by
the way for saying that, And someday I'll be teaching
a master class on this. Yes, yeah, please, thank you, Cheryl.

(47:57):
I appreciate the time and the insight, and I will
talk to you and my friend bye. And that was
Cheryl Burke, an interesting person that I have watched intimately
since she began her journey on Dance with the Stars.
Because our shows were so intertwined, we went to visit
and be on Dancing Obviously a lot of people from

(48:18):
The Bachelor Bachette were on there, and so we saw
them all the time. And then there were ABC events
and they would always put the Reality people together, and
so we got to know, you know, Maxim and the
Huffs and Cheryl, and we spent a lot of time
with these people, and so you to know the struggles
that she went through on so many levels and to

(48:40):
see how she's come out on the other side successfully
is a miracle but also wonderful. So my thanks to
Cheryl Burke and my thanks to you for listening once
again on the Most Dramatic Podcast Ever. And I will
talk to you next time because we have a lot
more to talk about. Thanks for listening. Follow us on
Instagram at the Most Dramatic Pod Ever and make sure

(49:00):
to write us a review and leave us five stars.
I'll talk to you next time.
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