Cheryl Burke is confirming that tomorrow night’s edition of “Dancing With the Stars” will be her last.
Burke, who joined the show in its second season back in 2006, took to Instagram to reveal she’s decided to move on from the show.
“I am sitting here full of so many conflicting emotions about the words I am about to write…Tomorrow night will officially be my final dance as a pro dancer on @dancingwiththestars. This has been one of the absolute hardest decisions of my life & I am also confident that it is the right one,” she wrote.
“This show has been my 2nd family since I was 21 years old. The cast, crew & fans have seen me through my highest highs & some of my lowest lows, & I honestly don’t know who I would be today without them. I also know that it is time for me to begin the next phase of my career, although dance will always be a part of me,” she continued.
“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, focusing on my new found love for podcasting, & I’m ready to face the uncertainty (though it’s scary as sh**) of what the future holds – I do have a few things up my sleeves though, so don’t worry 😉,” she added.
Burke opened up about her decision in an interview with People, admitting it’s been hugely emotional for her.
“I have been crying nonstop,” said Burke, who filed for divorce from husband Matthew Lawrence earlier this year.
“It has been very emotional,” she added. “There [are] a lot of emotions and there’s lots of excitement, but there’s also lots of fear. At the end of the day, this is actually maybe another divorce in a way that I’m going through in one year.”
One big reason underlying her decision is the toll that dancing has been taking on her body as she ages.
“Lately I’ve talked a lot about how my body — it just hurts,” Burke explained. “For me as a dancer, as a woman, unfortunately, this is what happens as an athlete as well. There comes a time where — I’m almost 40 years old. I’m 38, and I have certain expectations I set for myself. Sometimes, if I don’t see what I want to see or think that I am producing, that has a lot to do with it. But then also, it has a lot to do with growth in general.”
Burke also sees herself in a very different place in her life than she was when she first joined the show at age 21.
“I feel like I really have evolved and have just done a lot of work within myself and to continue to be judged, to continue to worry about my body, to continue to worry about if I look good or not look good in a costume is not where I am at today,” she shared.
She also opened up about her future plans. “I just would like to try and challenge myself into doing something different. I’m definitely wanting to be more in the mental health space. I have a dance program that I’ve been wanting to come out with for the last decade that I’m hoping to launch next year called Body Language,” she said.
“I definitely know as a dancer, I have done what I can do, and that was 26 seasons of ‘Dancing with the Stars’,” Burke added. “That’s a great run.”