How 'Dancing With the Stars' Pro Cheryl Burke Manages Her 'Social Phobia'

'What makes me feel sexy every day is loving myself, giving back to me and putting me first.'

Dancing with the Stars' Cheryl Burke recently opened up about her struggles with "social phobia" and how she's learning to be "unapologetic."

"I've been diagnosed with social phobia but it's not to the point where it is debilitating," she said. "I still obviously go to work I can still go out, however, I also know my triggers like staying out past a certain time or certain places or people."

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Burke and her ex-husband, Matthew, separated in January of 2022. While Burke is not ready to date again, she has learned to be clear with what she wants and set boundaries that will help her when she is ready to get back out there. Getting on stage every night with her DWTS family has helped her "take the mind off of the stuff that's been really hard to deal with emotionally," she said, adding, "It makes me get out of bed, it makes me have a purpose in life regardless."

She started her podcast Burke In The Game after her divorce, where she draws parallels between messing up in her personal life and on the dance floor. "A misstep in dancing means shaking it off, getting up on your feet and back onto the dance floor because each struggle is a stepping block to reach your true potential."

Burke joined the show during the second season in 2006; she's now in her 25th season on the show. "If it wasn't for a show like this, a family like this, I probably would be really upset and depressed, but this show is something I've grown up doing. It's been a part of my life forever." She won Season 2 with her partner Drew Lachey and Season 3 with Emmitt Smith.

Cheryl Burke & Drew Lachey <p>Barry Brecheisen/WireImage</p>
Cheryl Burke & Drew Lachey

Barry Brecheisen/WireImage

Burke has been sober for four years and during that time, she has done a lot of "self-reflecting." She said authenticity in herself and those around her is "non-negotiable."

"I'm just learning to be alone instead of lonely," she added. "It's very important for me to establish that relationship with myself."

In this image released on May 21, 2021, Cheryl Burke presents onstage at the “See Us Unite for Change - The Asian American Foundation (TAAF) in service of the AAPI Community” Broadcast Special at the La Palmas in Los Angeles, California.<p>Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for See Us Unite</p>
In this image released on May 21, 2021, Cheryl Burke presents onstage at the “See Us Unite for Change - The Asian American Foundation (TAAF) in service of the AAPI Community” Broadcast Special at the La Palmas in Los Angeles, California.

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for See Us Unite

Burke is candid about knowing that some people think she is "oversharing," but she couldn't care less and invites all the haters to unfollow her anytime

"What makes me feel sexy every day is loving myself, giving back to me and putting me first."

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