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Cheryl Burke Blames Her Dad's Infidelity & Her 'Grooming Experience' For Her Twisted View On Love

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Nov. 3 2022, Published 2:30 a.m. ET

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Cheryl Burke is getting real about how her past traumas warped her view of love.

Sitting down with the Red Table Talk hosts in an episode that aired on Wednesday, November 2, the Dancing with the Stars pro reflected on how her dad's infidelity and a "grooming experience" she went through as a child affected her.

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Burke explained that her "first memory as a kid was seeing [her] father with another woman," with her parents divorcing when she was only 2.

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And while her mom ended up marrying her stepfather, whom she described as “an amazing guy," he put his trust in the wrong hands — resulting in Burke experiencing indescribable childhood trauma.

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Her stepdad hired a family friend to babysit her when she was 5 years old. However, the retired mailman, who was in his 60s, began molesting her, as she told the hosts, "It was more of a grooming experience."

Sitting down with hosts Jada Pinkett Smith and Adrienne Banfield-Norris, as well as an expert psychologist, Burke explained that while there were "sexual acts" that took place, "it wasn’t intercourse."

"I never physically felt hurt," she admitted. "Like, there was moments — and I’m gonna say it now — like, it didn’t feel bad? It was actually intimate."

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“He was grooming me,” the professional dancer reiterated. "And he was my definition of love. This is what love equaled, right? Seeing my father’s infidelity, being abused by this old, retired mailman — I didn’t really know what a healthy relationship is or was. There wasn’t a stable father figure in my life."

The grooming went on for several years, with the 38-year-old noting it was so "brainwashing" that it didn't end until her older sister's friend “did the right thing, ran home to her parents and told them." The friend's parents immediately called the police and Burke "actually testified against [the babysitter] at 9 [years old]."

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Her sexual abuser was sentenced to 24 years behind bars.

CHERYL BURKE SPILLS HAUNTING CONFESSION ABOUT HIGH SCHOOL BOYFRIEND WHO 'WHIPPED ME WITH A BELT': 'I REMEMBER HIS PARENTS WERE WATCHING IT'

Burke experienced abuse once again when she was in high school with two separate boyfriends. Remembering how she "dated two men that were very physically and emotionally abusive” — one of whom she claimed whipped her with a belt in front of his parents while they did noting — she explained why she didn't leave the men who would hurt her.

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“I would see these welts, and I would be like, ‘That’s not really there,'” Burke remembered, explaining that she didn't end her relationship with this "controlling" man because she would hold out hope that "everything’s gonna be OK."

Burke went on to marry Matthew Lawrence — she previously gushed that their relationship was the only one that "did not fit this abusive pattern" she once experienced — in 2019, but the former flames called it quits three years later. Their divorce was finalized in September, and Burke hinted that infidelity may have played a part in their split.

Page Six reported on Burke's Red Table Talk appearance.

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