Cheryl Burke says she's nervous about 'Dancing With the Stars' premiere: 'Since being sober, this has been really scary for me'

Cheryl Burke shared a confession just hours ahead of the season premiere of Dancing With the Stars.

On her drive to the reality show competition's Los Angeles set, Burke — who has danced on more than 300 episodes of the show, beginning in 2006 — revealed in a video post that she was feeling the nerves.

"If I said to you that I was just so excited and not nervous, that would be a lie," Burke said. "Of course I'm nervous. Of course I have my thoughts getting the best of me … hopefully by 5 p.m., when we shoot here in L.A., that’s not the case, but I am nervous. I am feeling insecure, and I am scared."

Much of her anxiety came from the fact that she is doing the dancing sober these days.

Cheryl Burke speaks at a wellness event last month. (Duane Prokop/Getty Images for the Wellness Experience by Kroger)
Cheryl Burke speaks at a wellness event last month. (Duane Prokop/Getty Images for the Wellness Experience by Kroger)

"Since being sober, this has been really scary for me," Burke said. "This whole process has been … Obviously, I'm so clearheaded, and I am really, honestly grateful for this opportunity. But to say that I don't have these insecurities, my body dysmorphia, my feeling of wanting to throw up and finding the nearest exit is definitely a lie."

Burke said in September 2020 that she had been sober for two years, having made the decision to stop drinking in the middle of her engagement party. (She married actor Matthew Lawrence in May 2019.) Drinking had become a daily habit, which caused concern because her father was an alcoholic. "So either I was gonna crash and burn and check myself into rehab or I was gonna just quit cold turkey," Burke said on the LadyGang podcast in September 2020. "That's just my personality. It's either black or white."

In the new video, Burke also explained that her nervousness about competing on the ABC show is no longer about taking home the prized mirror ball trophy. After all, she already emerged as the winner of the show's top prize twice in 2006: once with musician Drew Lachey as her partner and again with former NFL star Emmitt Smith by her side.

"And it's not about winning. Honestly, it's not about me. It's not about my celebrity," Burke said. "But the pressure that I put on myself sometimes is so intense, and it's just not realistic. So I just wanted to let you guys know that I'm human."

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Last week, Burke said on the Tamron Hall Show that the show had taken a physical toll too.

"You know, as a dancer, especially as a woman, our career, it doesn't last very long," she said. "The fact that I'm 37 and still samba-ing out there and shimmying is pretty unheard of. I'm not in the competitive level anymore, but still I also have to understand that I have arthritis in my body, you know, like, the pounding and pounding and pounding. [I'm] technically leading our sports players or whoever we're dancing with, right?"

The person Burke will dance with in the new season will be announced on the DWTS premiere at 8 p.m.