Cheryl Burke is leaving Dancing with the Stars after having been featured since the show’s second season.
Cheryl Burke’s tenure on Dancing with the Stars has come to an end. The dancer and host of the popular reality series, which sees celebrities paired with professional partners to compete for the Mirrorball Trophy, announced her departure on social media over the weekend. “Tomorrow night will officially be my final dance as a pro dancer. This has been one of the absolute hardest decisions of my life and I am also confident that it is the right one,” she wrote on Instagram.
The dancer, who joined the show in its second season, said she wants to focus on the next phase of her career. “I am excited about the idea of evolving, about being challenged in new ways, having the ability to expand my commitment to mental health advocacy and focusing on my newfound love for podcasting,” Cheryl Burke said via The Hollywood Reporter. The 38-year-old added that she is also ready for any uncertainty the future may hold.
Cheryl Burke first grabbed the audience’s attention when she won her first Mirrorball Trophy, alongside 98 Degrees singer Drew Lachey during the second season of Dancing with the Stars. She then took home her second trophy with former NFL player Emmitt Smith in season three. After becoming a frequent dancer in the show’s semi-final rounds, the 38-year-old also appeared on one season of its Juniors spin-off series.
Following her contract expiration at the end of season 19, Cheryl Burke left Dancing with the Stars to pursue other projects. But she returned to the show a few years later, appearing in several seasons. For the show’s latest season and her last, the dancer was paired with Good Morning America meteorologist Sam Champion. However, the duo was eliminated from the competition in the third week.
Speaking to Variety, Cheryl Burke went into more detail about what sparked her decision to retire. “If I were to just talk as an athlete, a dancer, and a woman, my time has been up. I’m 38 years old,” she told the publication. After expressing her need to evolve, the podcast host reiterated her hope of becoming a judge on Dancing with the Stars.
The show will soon have a vacancy now that Len Goodman has decided to spend more time with his family in the UK. “They are very well aware that I want that seat,” Cheryl Burke explained. But the dancer said it’s not just a matter of want. She also knows she can add value to the series as an expert in ballroom dancing. “I can say that with confidence,” she said while making her case for the position.
Following Cheryl Burke’s announcement, several stars congratulated her for her time on the show. Well-wishes were sent from celebrities like includes Jewel, Jordan Sparks, Amanda Kloots, and Derek Hough. Meanwhile, the dancer also thanked various members of her Dancing with the Stars family on social media. She also gave special mention to her long list of dance partners such as Ryan Lochte, Rob Kardashian, Ian Ziering, and Drew Carey.