Taking her final bow. Dancing With the Stars’ Cheryl Burke announced her exit from the competition series after participating on the show for 17 years and 26 seasons.
“I am sitting here full of so many conflicting emotions about the words I am about to write … Tomorrow night will officially be my final dance as a pro dancer on @dancingwiththestars,” Cheryl, 38, captioned a heartfelt Instagram post on Sunday, November 20. “This has been one of the absolute hardest decisions of my life, [and] I am also confident that it is the right one.”
The dancing pro explained how much the Disney+ reality TV series has meant to her and the reason behind her surprising departure.
“This show has been my [second] family since I was 21 years old,” Cheryl continued. “The cast, crew [and] fans have seen me through my highest highs [and] some of my lowest lows, [and] I honestly don’t know who I would be today without them. I also know that it is time for me to begin the next phase of my career, although dance will always be a part of me. I am excited about the idea of evolving, about being challenged in new ways, having the ability to expand my commitment to mental health advocacy, focusing on my new found love for podcasting, [and] I’m ready to face the uncertainty (though it’s scary as s—t) of what the future holds.”
The ABC personality then shared her hope that fans will watch her final performance on the next episode, which airs on Monday, November 21, “as it is dedicated to all of YOU that have supported me, loved me even if you didn’t know me [and] who have been such a huge part of my life, my growth [and] my story.”
“Though there aren’t enough words to express my deep gratitude [and] love to my entire DWTS family, I will end with this: thank you for being my rock [and] foundation for close to two decades during the difficult moments, [and] most of all, thank you for giving ballroom dancing the credit [and] attention it deserves,” the two-time Mirrorball trophy winner added. “You have not only brought joy to millions upon millions of viewers every season, you have brought light [and] so much love into my heart [and] soul when I’ve needed it most. This has truly been the experience of a lifetime. I’m looking forward to this next chapter of my career, but man will this one be hard to beat!”
Cheryl isn’t the only cast member to leave the hit series following the season 31 finale. Lead judge Len Goodman also announced his exit.
“I’ve been with the show since it started in 2005, and it’s been a huge pleasure to be a huge part of such a wonderful show,” Len, 78, said after the November 14 episode. “But I’ve decided I’d like to spend more time with my grandchildren and family back in Britain.”