Cheryl Burke Gets Candid About The Disturbing Moments From Her Past That Skewed Her Views On Love

This article includes discussions of child sexual abuse and intimate partner violence.

Professional dancer Cheryl Burke — who is known for her work on "Dancing with the Stars" and as the replacement for Abby Lee Miller on "Dance Moms" — opened up to the hosts of the Facebook Watch series "Red Table Talk" about her experiences with abuse. Burke revealed it began in early childhood when she was sexually abused by her babysitter, a man in his 60s (via Entertainment Tonight).

Unfortunately, Burke shared, ballroom dancing was not free of abusive situations, nor were her relationships as she grew older. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Burke's situation is not uncommon. The agency states that girls who are sexually abused as children are at a greater risk of being sexually abused as adults.

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

Cheryl Burke's experiences with abuse continued in high school

Cheryl Burke said on "Red Table Talk" that she experienced two separate abusive relationships in high school. She explained, "For me, love equaled abuse. Love equaled infidelity. Love equaled manipulating, narcissistic behaviors." Burke also shared, as discussed in a separate article` from Entertainment Tonight, that one former boyfriend whipped her with a belt while his parents were watching, but they did not intervene. 

Burke clarified in her appearance on "Red Table Talk" that she was not abused by her ex-husband Matthew Lawrence, who she first began dating in 2006 before eventually marrying in 2019. "But also, I think, for me — and it has nothing to do with my ex whatsoever — I wanted to see if I could get married, 'cause there was a lot of this internal 'Am I good enough?'" Along with her divorce from Lawrence, Burke discussed her challenges with sobriety. "You know, my parents got divorced, and I would have loved to not have," she said. "That wasn't the plan going in, for sure. I'm not proud of it, that's for sure. But then there's also a point where I need to put myself first and my sobriety first."

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.