Cheryl Burke is once again opening up about domestic violence. In this exclusive clip from Wednesday’s all-new “Red Table Talk”, the “Dancing With the Stars” pro shares a story from her high school days.
“Not to get too graphic, but in high school — I’ll never forget, the person I was with whipped me with a belt,” Burke says. “And I had bruises all over my legs. I remember his parents were watching it, didn’t do anything.”
Burke continues, “And it wasn’t like he was hitting me, he was whipping me.”
While the alleged incident came as a shock to the women of “RTT”, it’s not the first time Burke has spoken about past abusive relationships.
In a 2020 video shared to the 38-year-old dancer’s YouTube channel, Burke who was married to Matthew Lawrence at the time said her relationship with her now ex-husband, was the only one “that did not fit this abusive pattern.”
In the lengthy video, Burke said she was “addicted” to dating toxic men. Previously revealing that she was sexually abused as a child, Burke shared that she lost her virginity to her first boyfriend at age 13, which set her into “a pattern of moving just way too fast.”
“It was something that I did because I felt like I had to, in a way, just to keep a boyfriend,” Burke said of her idea of sex throughout her teens and early 20s.
In addition to abusive relationships, Burke said she was also abusing herself through alcohol. It wasn’t until she met Lawrence and started dating him around 2007 that these patterns changed, she shared.
“Looking back, I honestly think that the first relationship I ever had that did not fit this abusive pattern was when my now-husband Matt and I dated the first time around back in 2007,” she said. “I honestly think at the time when we first dated, I didn’t clearly love myself enough to think that I deserved to be with someone who was actually nice to me. And I was just wrapped up in this new get-out-of-jail-free card, L.A.-party lifestyle, whereas he had already kind of been there and done that, since he grew up in this industry.”
Burke and Lawrence were on and off for a few years before tying the knot in 2019. The pair split in February, finalizing their divorce last month.
“He is the complete opposite of everything bad about my past relationships,” she said at the time. “I think when I look back on this time in my life, I could sit here and say that I wish these things had never happened to me, but I look at it now as every part of my story has helped me to become the woman I am today.”
As for her motivation for sharing her story of trauma and abuse, Burke said she hoped that it could help others
“I want to share my experience with all of you, because I hope in turn it could help anyone who may have experienced something similar to know there is hope on the other side,” she said.
“I am living proof that where you are in life does not need to be where you are forever,” Burke added.
For more of Burke’s “RTT” interview, check out the full episode on breaking toxic bonds and relationships, streaming Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 9 a.m. PT/12 p.m. ET on Facebook Watch.
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