Season 31 of Dancing with the Stars concluded in spectacular fashion. The new mirrorball champions were crowned, but the show also featured an emotional send-off to two longtime staples of the series. It gave me all the feels. Judge Len Goodman announced his retirement, making this his final season. And pro Cheryl Burke also decided to depart the DWTS ballroom. Cheryl and her partner, weatherman Sam Champion, were eliminated during Disney+ night.
The dance pro has been open about her personal struggles. Cheryl previously revealed that she struggled with an addiction to alcohol. She marked four years of sobriety in 2022.
Cheryl filed for divorce from her husband, Matthew Lawrence, in February 2022. In September 2022, their divorce was finalized.
The Dance Moms alum hinted that Season 31 might be her last on the show. Cheryl joined DWTS during its second season and won the mirrorball trophy with partner Drew Lachey. The following season Cheryl clinched the trophy again with NFL star Emmitt Smith.
Page Six reported that Cheryl announced her exit on Instagram. “Tomorrow night will officially be my final dance as a pro dancer on @dancingwiththestars,” 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,” she added.
Cheryl noted that dancing will “always be a part” of her life. She is excited about her future, which includes being an advocate for mental health and working on her podcast, Burke in the Game.
She stated, “I hope that you will tune in to see my farewell dance during tomorrow’s Finale as it is dedicated to all of YOU that have supported me, loved me even if you didn’t know me, & who have been such a huge part of my life, my growth, & my story.”
Cheryl continued, “I’m honestly not sure how I’m going to get through it without tears but even with the heartache & emotions, I am grateful to have the opportunity to perform this dance & do so with two of my favorite male pros to dance with, @pashapashkov & @louisvanamstel.” She danced a fantastic routine to “Copacabana” by Barry Manilow with pros Pasha Pashkov and Louis Van Amstel.
Cheryl concluded her announcement by thanking DWTS. “Thank you for being my rock & foundation for close to two decades during the difficult moments & most of all, thank you for giving ballroom dancing the credit & attention it deserves,” the dance pro remarked.
“You have not only brought joy to millions upon millions of viewers every season, you have brought light & so much love into my heart & soul when I’ve needed it most,” she added.
“This has truly been the experience of a lifetime. I’m looking forward to this next chapter of my career, but man will this one be hard to beat!” Cheryl wrote. “Until next time…Love you all, always & forever.”
Cheryl’s DWTS family flooded the comments with messages of support. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba wrote, “You have inspired so many…. And you are the OG Freestyle winner in my book… Save a Horse with Drew is ICONIC! And once you two did that Freestyle became a whole different thing!”
Pro Val Chmerkovskiy posted, “Way to rep our little dance world on the biggest stage and being one of the pillars that put this show on the map and the ballroom dance world in the process.” He added, “Final bow for a legendary career friend.”
Alan Bersten said, “@cherylburke you are a queen! Such an inspiration, so proud of everything you have done!” And judge Derek Hough posted, “It’s been a wild ride. So proud of all you have achieved and overcome. Forever left your mark on Dwts,” he stated. “It’s been a pleasure. BL.”
DWTS alum Kym Herjavec wrote, “What a ride it’s been, so grateful I got to do it with you! So proud of everything you’ve achieved.” She added, “Love you so much xoxo.”
You will be missed, Cheryl! Congrats on your next chapter!