Sheryl Burke says goodbye to DWTS after 26 seasons

Cheryl Burke She hangs up her dancing shoes.

After 17 years and 26 seasons, the professional dancer made the tough decision to walk away. Dancing with the starsAnd the And she’s still dealing with her decision.

“I was crying nonstop The 38-year-old exclusively tells People. “It was very emotional. There [are] So many emotions and there is so much excitement, but there is also a lot of fear. At the end of the day, this may actually be another divorce in a way I’ve been through in one year.”

Burke made a name for herself on the show when she won her first Mirrorball trophy, along with singer Drew Lachey, in Season 2. She then had her second title in Season 3 with a former NFL player Emmett Smith, who she danced with again during All-Star Season 15.

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After finalizing her divorce from ex-husband Matthew Lawrence, whom she met on the show, Burke made this decision with her health in mind. Although she’s taken breaks over the years to work on other projects, she’s always found her way onto the show. But this time, Burke says, things are different.

“I’ve been talking a lot lately about how my body—it just hurts,” Burke shares. For me as a dancer, as a woman, unfortunately, that’s what happens as an athlete, too. There comes a time when – I’m almost 40 years old. I’m 38 years old, and I have some expectations I set for myself. Sometimes if I don’t see what I want to see or think I’m producing, that has a lot to do with it. But then also, it’s a lot about growth in general.”

The show has affected Burke not only physically, but mentally as well, and she’s looking forward to getting on with dealing with herself.

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“At the end of the day, he’s my monitor, too,” Burke in the game podcast host says. “I feel like I’ve really evolved and I’ve just done a lot of work within myself and continue to judge it, continue to worry about my body, continue to worry about whether or not I look good in an outfit that’s not where I am today.”

During Burke’s time on the show, she danced with 25 different celebrities. While it’s hard to pick a favorite, she holds a special place in her heart for a few.

Sam Champion and Cheryl Burke.
Disney +

Jack Osborne It was amazing,” Burke says.Rob Kardashian Emmett Smith, I love Sam is a hero. He is a dear friend. For me, it was never about the mirror ball. It was always about my experience. I thank each and every one of my partners for teaching them a life lesson because everyone else did. Whether you are my favorite or not is irrelevant. I think at the end of the day, the universe puts everyone it wants before us for a reason.”

One moment in particular lingers for Burke, however, when she was paired with the 36-year-old Kardashian, who just wanted to stay on the show longer than his famous sister, Kim.

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“I’ve always loved getting on a dark horse,” Burke says with a laugh. For example, I will never forget Rob Kardashian And I went out for the first dance. He was booed for being sent off. He was just a model, what people thought of him – that spoiled brat. The goal was just to win Kim kardashian, which was only the second week. He came in second place. I loved that. I haven’t spoken to him in a while, but those are the moments when I feel like I’ve impacted someone’s life.”

If Burke has her way, she’ll return to the show one day in a different capacity, as she sets her sights on the future.

“I would just try and challenge myself to do something different,” Burke explains. “I definitely want to be more in the mental health field. I have a dance program that I’ve been wanting to come out with for the past decade and hope to launch next year called Body Language.

“I definitely know as a dancer, I’ve done what I can do, and that’s been 26 seasons Dancing with the stars. This is a great race.”

Dancing with the stars The Season 31 Champion will be crowned live Monday at 8 p.m. ET on Disney+.

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