Strength in partnership. Cheryl Burke opened up about her sobriety journey and how it has brought her and Dancing With the Stars partner AJ McLean closer during season 29.
The DWTS pro, 36, revealed that she’s been sober for “two years” in Us Weekly‘s exclusively preview of the Tuesday, September 29, episode of the “LadyGang” podcast. After cohost Keltie Knight spoke about McLean’s road to sobriety, Burke shared her own story.
“That’s why I really wanted AJ, because I’m like, for him to be maybe partnered with someone who is just, like, still fresh in the scene [or] likes to go out, I was a little worried just as a friend in a way,” the dancer explained on the podcast. “But then I’m glad we’re partnered up together.”
Burke, who married actor Matthew Lawrence in 2019, noted that she’s not in the Alcoholics Anonymous program, but she hasn’t drank in two years.
“It was just a decision that I made for myself,” she said. “And it was when Matt and I got engaged and it was during that engagement party that we were just like — or that I was like, he didn’t even know — I was just like, I was done.”
The Dance Moms alum pointed to her father’s experience with alcohol as a catalyst to her own decision to stop drinking.
“My father passed away — and then my dad was an alcoholic — so either I was gonna crash and burn and check myself into rehab or I was gonna just quit cold turkey,” she continued. “That’s just my personality. It’s either black or white.”
Since partnering on the show, the Backstreet Boys member, 42, and Burke have launched the “Pretty Messed Up” podcast, which Burke says has been “great” so far.
McLean, who is blogging exclusively for Us this season of DWTS, previously opened up about his reasoning for joining the cast — and how he planned to stay on track.
“I’m on a very strict diet, grain-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, no sodas of any kind, and completely sober for almost nine months,” McLean told his Instagram followers in August. “I’m doing this for two reasons: one, to get in the best shape of my life, and to be healthy and to be happy, physically, mentally, and emotionally, and there’s something else coming up. Can’t tell you what it is but believe me you’ll know why based on that.”
Burke, on the other hand, has been on the dancing competition since season 2. She became the first female pro to win the mirrorball trophy that year with another boy bander, Drew Lachey, from 98 Degrees.
The full episode of the “LadyGang” podcast airs on Tuesday.
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