The long and winding road. Cheryl Burke has been vocal about her highs and lows while dealing with her sobriety, beginning in 2018 when she quit drinking.
The Dancing With the Stars pro revealed she was two years sober in September 2020, pointing to big life changes, including her engagement to Matthew Lawrence and her father’s death as the catalyst for change.
The same year, Burke was partnered with AJ McLean, whose own journey to sobriety has lasted nearly 20 years, on Dancing With the Stars. The Backstreet Boys musician opened up about his partner’s approach to getting clean in an exclusive blog for Us Weekly in October 2020.
“She is a very, very interesting human being. She has been through a lot in her life and has come out the other side gleaming,” he wrote. “Her sobriety is amazing to me, especially in this business that we’re both in, it’s difficult. It’s difficult to get sober, No. 1. It’s even more difficult to stay sober and hats off to her for staying sober for now over two years. I see her staying sober, hopefully, for the rest of her life. It’s a one day at a time thing, or as she says, one step at a time.”
Eight months later, Burke got real about her struggle with staying sober during an episode of her and McLean’s “Pretty Messed Up” podcast. She explained during the June 2021 episode that she’s felt like drinking “a lot lately.” The former Dancing With the Stars: Junior mentor told her cohost and their friend Rene Elizondo Jr. that she’s become “codependent” on the men and their openness.
“I look forward to these conversations of sobriety, of AJ talking about your ups and downs in life, if it’s been rough at times, and you Rene, being that voice of God,” she said. “For some reason, I was thinking, ‘What if this was all over one day?’ And I had so much anxiety.”
Burke noted that her “only real sober friends that are in [an AA] program,” admitting that she “starts to question” her commitment to sobriety when she’s not around them. She eventually asked Elizondo Jr. to be her sponsor, taking another step toward staying accountable for her actions. The dancer also explained why she chose to talk about her fears of relapsing on air, revealing, “I have to say it, otherwise I will drink.”
Us confirmed in February 2022 that Burke filed for divorce from Lawrence after nearly three years of marriage. The DWTS pro listed their date of separation as early January 2022, according to court docs.
Scroll down to see everything Burke has said about her sobriety journey: