Cheryl Burke Reveals She's 2 Years Sober – With A Little Help From DWTS Partner AJ McLean!
Cheryl Burke is bonding with AJ McLean over more than just dance!
The 36-year-old dance pro and boy band member have become fast friends since partnering up for this season of Dancing with the Stars, largely connecting over their shared sobriety.
While chatting with the hosts of the LadyGang podcast during Tuesday’s episode, the DWTS vet, revealed she’s been sober for “two years,” explaining how this has brought them closer:
“That’s why I really wanted AJ, because I’m like, for him to be maybe partnered with someone who is just, like, still fresh in the scene likes to go out, I was a little worried just as a friend in a way. But then I’m glad we’re partnered up together.”
ICYMI, McLean has been open in the past about his struggles with addiction, which have involved several stints in rehab over the past two decades. Cheryl added about her own experience giving up drinking, though she noted she’s not in the Alcoholic Anonymous program:
“It was just a decision that I made for myself. And it was when Matt and I got engaged and it was during that engagement party that we were just like — or that I was like, he didn’t even know — I was just like, I was done.”
One of the major catalysts for the Dance Moms alum to quit drinking was her father’s experience with alcohol:
“My father passed away — and then my dad was an alcoholic — so either I was gonna crash and burn and check myself into rehab or I was gonna just quit cold turkey. That’s just my personality. It’s either black or white.”
Just before season 29 premiered and ahead of Cheryl and AJ’s partnership being announced, the Backstreet Boys member revealed in a sit-down with ET Canada how he and his partner had already bonded over their shared struggles with addiction:
“We’ve talked very candidly. I just surpassed nine months sober and am in a great headspace. I feel fantastic. It’s all about health, happiness and serenity for me right now, and it’s been nice to talk to a complete stranger and create that bond we need on and off the dance floor.”
Today, the father of two is furthering his journey via a new medium – dance:
“I would absolutely embrace that. We’ve talked about it with production. It’s a big part of my life, and will continue to be a big part of my life. It’s a daily struggle and a daily reprieve to take time out for myself, to keep myself right.”
Congrats to both of them as they continue this journey!
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