Cheryl Burke kept her head down and her smile up back in 2008 when a tabloid published a photo of her shapelier bikini body on its cover and took aim at her weight, but she admits now, it was a deeply painful time.
“Urgh, I can’t even look at that thing,” the “Dancing with the Stars” pro said of the photo on Friday’s Access Hollywood Live with Billy Bush and Kit Hoover. “It was on the cover of a magazine saying, you know, ‘She’s too fat for television, too fat to be a dancer.’ That’s just something that a girl should never have to read about herself.”
The 26-year-old, who talks about the incident in her new book, “Dancing Lessons: How I Found Passion and Potential on the Dance Floor and in Life,” told Billy and Kit that when the weight criticism came, she had to just get through it.
“Well, at the end of the day, it was towards the middle of a season where I had to put a smile on my face and pretend it didn’t affect me, but it really did,” she said. “I mean, when you’re on blast like that and people are calling you fat, it’s just humiliating.”
The pretty pro, a two-time “DWTS” champ, said her family and friends supported her through the tough time.
Cheryl said her curvier figure — at the time — was due to a little time off from her rigorous dancing schedule.
“When I do gain weight, you can see it, ‘cause I am 5’ 4” and I did gain a few pounds. I was on hiatus, I had fun for once,” she said. “I let my hair down and just… people were cruel, cruel.”
More than weight issues, Cheryl’s been criticized over the years for her closeness to her “Dancing” partners, including the man she won her first mirrorball with – Drew Lachey.
“Absolutely, it is hurtful,” she said of the affair rumors during Season 2, which they both previously denied. “I mean with everything, I feel like I’ve been in the spotlight with the media whether it’s my weight or having an affair or being a party girl. I mean they’ve just… You can never win. You just have to ignore it.”