Burke announced her retirement from DWTS in March 2023. Fan favorite pro dancers Edyta Sliwinska, Kym Johnson, Anna Trebunskaya, Karina Smirnoff, Tony Dovolani, Maks Chmerkovskiy, Mark Ballas, and Louis van Amstel all returned to the ballroom to perform a special waltz in honor of Goodman, who died in April 2023 at age 78.
On the November 13, 2023, episode of the “Sex, Lies & Spray Tans” podcast, Burke revealed that van Amstel was one of the only people who checked in with her after she was shunned by DWTS producers.
Burke’s days as a DWTS pro dancer go all the way back to season 2 in 2006. She won back-to-back mirrorball trophies during her first two seasons, with Drew Lachey and Emmitt Smith, respectively. Burke competed in 25 of the show’s 32 seasons, making her one of the most prolific pro dancers on the show.
Here’s what you need to know:
Cheryl Burke Said She Knows Who Her Friends Are Now
During her podcast interview with van Amstel, Burke shared that he sent her a text message after the announcement was made about the pro dancers returning for the tribute dance.
“I am very grateful for your text message. Because you are one of two people who have reached out to me which I take near and dear to my heart,” Burke told van Amstel.
“What I did know was that it wasn’t my decision,” she said of missing the tribute. “My heart was, I had to take care of my mental health first. And I don’t want to make this about me because it’s about Len Goodman. I don’t want to make this about me, but what we should discuss is that text. I want you to know that I love you so much for reaching out. And you really know who your friends are when this type of stuff happens.”
Van Amstel noted people find out who their friends are when they are no longer in the spotlight. “And I don’t want to be a part of it and that’s why I reached out,” he said.
Days before the tribute aired, Burke posted to the Threads app to let fans know she wasn’t asked to participate in the tribute for Goodman.
“For those of you asking if I’ll be a part of Len Goodman’s tribute next week on DWTS, unfortunately,” she wrote. “I wasn’t invited however, I’ll be there in spirit and can’t wait to cheer my former colleagues on! Sending love and light to everyone. 🤍🙏🏼 #riplen.”
Cheryl Has Talked About DWTS on Her Podcast
In addition to Burke, longtime pro dancer Sharna Burgess was also not included in Goodman’s tribute. Some speculated that both women were overlooked because they talked bluntly about “Dancing With the Stars” on their podcasts. Burgess co-hosts the “Old-ish” podcast with her fiancé Brian Austin Green.
In early October, Burke issued an apology to fans amid backlash over her podcast episode about the season 32 premiere. On her podcast, Burke criticized some of the casting for the show.
“I deeply apologize to anyone taking offense to any of my comments on my podcast,” she said in an Instagram video in October. “My intention is never to be mean. It’s my truth and it’s my opinion and I am so sorry if it hurt or affected anyone.”
In addition, Burke disagreed about season 32 premiering with the Writers Guild Association strike still going on. (An agreement was made the day before DWTS premiered, per Deadline.)
In an interview with The U.S. Sun, returning pro dancer Maks Chmerkovskiy said he didn’t want to speculate on why Burke and Burgess weren’t asked back. But he added, “I think we all have a specific relationship with the show. We have our ups and downs, and we see eye to eye and then we don’t.”