A 'Dancing with the Stars' Shocker! Cheryl Burke Reveals She Won't Be Returning

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The 'DWTS' pro staple announced her podcast that season 31 would be her last after appearing in 26 seasons.

It feels like Dancing with the Stars has almost always been synonymous with Cheryl Burke. The dancing pro made a name for herself immediately when she appeared back on season 2 in 2006. And in the years since, she's become a mainstay of the show, appearing in 26 out of 31 seasons. But that streak ends now, as Burke has declared this past season will be her last on DWTS.

The announcement came during the October 16 episode of her podcast Burke in the Game. Titled "Bent But Not Burken," she discusses her short-lived time on season 31, including her elimination alongside meteorologist Sam Champion. Now out of the game, she used the opportunity to extend that to her DWTS career.

"Yes, this is my last season as a dancer," she outright said on the podcast.

"It is hard for me to leave," she went on to explain. "I always come back, because, I guess, it's really hard to say goodbye to a show and to a family, that I've only known here in Los Angeles. I moved here when I was 21. I'm 38 now." She also pointed out all the up-and-coming dancers who would be excited to be given an opportunity like DWTS, and how wrong she would feel to take that slot away as someone who is not all-in on staying.

Related: Everything to Know About Dancing with the Stars Season 31

As mentioned before, Burke made her DWTS debut on the second season and came through with the gold alongside 98 Degrees member Drew Lachey. But she catapulted her stock even more the very next season, when she claimed back-to-back victories with NFL star Emmett Smith. She has made it to six finales since then, most recently finishing in third place last season with notable Peloton instructor Cody Rigsby.

Knowing what's happened to Burke both on and off screen, it makes sense to see her take a break from the pursuit of the Mirror Ball trophy. The past two DWTS seasons have seen her take a nasty hit to the head during rehearsal, as well as test positive for COVID and have to resort to archival and at-home performances for judging. Her life has also been fairly tumultuous off-screen, considering her recently filing for divorce from Matthew Lawrence after almost three years of marriage.

However, don't think a farewell to being a pro means that Burke wants to stay away from DWTS altogether. In the podcast, she does express interest in taking her talents off the dance floor, to take a more front-and-center role.

"I do believe, though, that I have proven myself enough to where I could either be a correspondent or host," she said. "Not saying I'm trying to take anybody's job, you guys. I'm just saying you can always add another host. You can always add another judge. It's a two-hour show with no commercial breaks."

Whether we see Cheryl Burke next as another DWTS host, or simply taking time to focus on herself, one thing is clear: Her contributions to the Emmy-winning series speak for themselves.

Next, find out how Cheryl Burke manages her "social phobia."