Dancing With the Stars' Cheryl Burke discusses abuse in new book
Dancing With the Stars pro Cheryl Burke isn't tap-dancing around a very serious issue from her past, revealing in her new book that she was repeatedly molested by a family friend as child, and was physically abused by two former boyfriends, People reports. How did they get this scoop? People staffer Monica Rizzo was the coauthor.
"I'm telling my story," the 26-year-old says about the tome, Dancing Lessons. "They're not secrets. There's no shame." They really weren't secrets, as Burke testified against her childhood abuser, putting him in prison for almost 20 years. The dirtbag was a retired mailman in Burke's neighborhood who would pick her up from school and help out around her house, since her parents were divorced. The molestation began when Burke was 5.
"I felt guilty for wanting his love and affection," Cheryl says, noting that having to testify against him was "the hardest thing I've ever done ... I saw his face and lawyers were asking me these questions and I was like, 'What am I doing? Did he even do anything wrong?'" After years of thereapy, she finally realized, oh yes, it was very wrong.
"If I can help just one person," Cheryl says, "for me that's all that matters." Expect to see some discussion on that in March, when Stars begins its 12th season.