In March, McLean and his wife announced they were taking some time apart. They told TMZ they had “mutually decided to separate temporarily to work on ourselves, and our marriage with the hope of building a stronger future.”
Despite the separation, the couple explained they were not giving up on their marriage. “The plan is to come back together and continue to nurture our love for one another, and our family.”
McLean shared an update on his marriage during the November 7 episode of Cheryl Burke’s podcast “Sex, Lies, and Spray Tans.” It sounds as if their plan is working well.
Here’s what you need to know:
AJ McLean Gushed Over His Wife
McLean competed on season 29 of “Dancing with the Stars” with Burke as his partner. As People shared, they were eliminated during “Icons Night.” That season, former “The Bachelorette” Kaitlyn Bristowe and her partner, Artem Chigvintsev, went on to win the Mirrorball trophy.
During his chat with his former “Dancing with the Stars” partner, McLean talked about his wife quite a bit.
At one point, McLean said, “My wife, I’m sure she won’t mind me saying this, she has lost 65 pounds.” He added, “She looks un-fing believable. Always beautiful, but… like, mhmmm.”
Burke asked McLean about their separation, noting that was the couple’s status the last time she had talked with him. He explained, “We still live separately but we are in couples therapy, we’re in individual therapy.”
McLean also shared, “We talk every day, we are spending more time together. We just have to rebuild something that was never there from the beginning.”
The former “Dancing with the Stars” contestant detailed a conversation that gave valuable insight into some of the struggles McLean and his wife had with their marriage. He recalled being with “Rene” at “his house,” and it seems likely this is a reference to his long-time best friend, Rene Elizondo.
“Maybe about a year and a half ago I was at his house and he couldn’t have worded it better. Rene said, ‘Look, man, you and Rochelle, when you first got together, the best way I could describe it is… you guys were…handcuffed, ankle cuffed, thrown in the water, and said, be in a relationship. It’s impossible.'”
McLean noted, “I came with baggage, she came with baggage. She had trauma. I had trauma.” He pointed out that early on, “I wasn’t sober or even ready to get sober, she was dealing with her own sh*t. It was just a constant push and pull.”
During difficult times in their marriage before the separation, McLean explained, “She would sweep her feelings under the rug, I would do the same thing, or I’d dive into a bottle.”
Cheryl Burke Noticed AJ McLean’s Significant Growth
The “Dancing with the Stars” alum indicated the work both he and his wife have been doing together and individually has made an enormous difference. “So, now, it’s taken this time apart for us to do some serious growing, and I’m standing and I’m listening.”
McLean shared, “It’s been much, much healthier.” He noted the hard work he has been doing involves listening, understanding, vulnerability, and empathy.
Burke praised her former “Dancing with the Stars” partner and pointed out she can see differences in him. “I can hear that you’ve grown so much… You sound so grounded. You sound so excited about life. It’s so inspiring.”