Cheryl Burke and Matthew Lawrence spent nearly a decade apart before realizing that they were a perfect match.
It was 2006 when the actor’s older brother, Joey Lawrence, was a contestant on the third season of Dancing With the Stars. But the fateful pair tells Yahoo Lifestyle that it wasn’t until February the following year that they got to know each other when the cast went on tour.
“I’ll never forget it actually,” Lawrence says, explaining that Burke was the shortest person to get onto the bus after the performances since she was the only dancer to have already taken her heels off. “I just saw this little head popping out from the crowd and I was like, ‘Who is that?’ I was captivated.”
He wasn’t alone. Burke immediately noticed the younger Lawrence brother as well and pulled Joey over to introduce her.
“I just thought he was very handsome,” Burke says. “Good-looking dude.”
The initial attraction certainly sparked something deeper, as the two began talking on a regular basis. Speaking every night while Burke was on tour, the couple ended up dating for the next year. But in February 2008 things took a turn.
“We broke up and we didn’t even run into each other once, which is crazy because we used to live very close,” Burke says.
They managed not to speak to each other until just over nine years later when Burke’s family persuaded the dancer to reach out to Lawrence over Christmas in 2016.
“My sister and my family used to love Matt,” she says. “My sister basically took my phone and started the text message. I didn’t think he was going to respond at all.”
Soon after, however, she got a response, and the couple quickly picked up where they left off.
Just a year and a half later, Lawrence gave Burke the birthday gift of a lifetime when he asked her to be his wife.
“Cheryl had this gathering with just a few friends and family here at the house the night before her birthday. I didn’t know which way to go, like either do it in front of everybody,” Lawrence says, ultimately deciding that he should wait for a private moment on Burke’s actual birthday the following day. “I know she was born around sunset. I just waited for the sun to be right at that perfect spot over the water.”
While waiting for that ideal sunset, though, Burke admits that she had come to the conclusion she wasn’t getting anything at all from her boyfriend at the time.
“No flowers, I got nothing from him. Not even like a Happy Birthday card,” she says. Instead, she even thought he was going to break up with her. “On our patio was a candle with a letter, and I was like, Oh great, this is like a breakup letter.”
When Burke turned around, Lawrence was proposing.
The couple are nearing their wedding after a nearly two-year-long engagement — although the planning admittedly feels impossible. When it comes to the guest list even, Burke says that the couple has three.
“Of course there’s Matt’s list, there’s my list, but then there’s my mom’s list,” she says. “It’s all really happening. I think once I send out this guest list, it’s all really happening.”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
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• Alfonso Ribeiro’s wife had no idea about his ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ past when they first met
• How Fox News’ Dana Perino met her husband by chance on an airplane: ‘He’s cute, and he’s not wearing a wedding ring, and he has a British accent’