Cheryl’s Mom Has Alzheimer’s
In an interview on the “What’s Her Story” podcast, Cheryl spoke at length about her relationship with her mother and also revealed that they are dealing with the early stages of Alzheimer’s.
“I haven’t really talked about this … my mom is going through early stages of Alzheimer’s at the moment,” Cheryl revealed, “It is really sad because you see this woman who was this boss-b****, freakin’ just an amazing woman and then all of a sudden, you see her be so vulnerable and in a way, as much as I’ve yearned for that [vulnerability] … it’s hard for me to, I guess, take it all in because I don’t know Sherri Burke as being vulnerable yet and I’m trying to figure out how to be there for her and with something like that — it’s out of your control.”
The professional dancer went on to say that her mother is young, she’s only 67 and it’s been “frustrating” but it has also put things into perspective for her.
“It’s patience. It’s just being able to show love and if you have to repeat yourself, so be it, who cares?” said Cheryl. “But then it gets frustrating and [I have] all these different emotions and then all of a sudden maybe she’s too needy and I’m like, ‘Wait a second, this is what I wanted!’, but it just shows you how freakin’ valuable our life is and at any moment, it’s like all of that hard work, you may never remember. It’s all about making the memories and really being with each other while you can. … It really does put everything into perspective.”
Cheryl also said that she has “no idea how to handle” this, so she has been “trying not to talk about it.”
“But selfishly, in a way, it’s part of my therapy being able to voice it and say it as it is because I’m sure a lot of people can relate,” said the dancer.
Cheryl Said She Felt ‘Abandoned as a Little Girl’
When she said “this is what I wanted,” Cheryl obviously doesn’t mean she wanted her mom to have Alzheimer’s — what Cheryl has been yearning for her whole life is for her mother to be vulnerable and let her in.
“My mother is Filipina, she is the ultimate Tiger Mom-slash-wanting the best for me but not knowing how to express it emotionally or physically, right? So there is that barrier of ‘vulnerability equals weakness’ thing,” said Cheryl on the podcast.
She said that her mother came from nothing and helped to bring all 10 of her siblings from the Philippines over to the United States, so Cheryl absolutely admires her mother, but she has also had to come to terms with the fact that she felt “abandoned as a little girl.”
“Just recently have I come to terms with the fact that — in a way, I felt abandoned as a little girl. I felt like ‘where is my mom?’ … going to therapy now consistently for the past 15 years of my life, it has really put the pieces together, but it has made me understand the other side of the story. She didn’t do [work hard] to abandon me, she did it because she was really trying hard to just literally be able to put food on the table and now be able to help me with my dance career,” said Cheryl.
She added, “Do I wish she would have been that stay-at-home mom? One-hundred percent. But I don’t think I would have developed that resilience or that hustle mentality, I guess, if it wasn’t for what my mom showed me.”
Cheryl is currently in the process of getting divorced from her husband, actor Matthew Lawrence, from whom she separated in January 2022. She recently announced a new podcast called “Burke in the Game” in which she is going to explore her therapy and her failed relationships in the hopes of helping people out there who are going through similar things.
“Dancing With the Stars” returns for season 31 in the fall of 2022 on Disney Plus.