“You know as a dancer, especially as a woman, our career — it doesn’t last very long. The fact that I’m 37 and still sambaing out there and shimmying is pretty unheard of,” Burke said on Tuesday’s “Tamron Hall” when asked if this season will be her last (watch below). “I’m not in the competitive level anymore, but still, I also have to understand that I have arthritis in my body, you know? The pounding and pounding and pounding.”
The pro added that she also wants to start a family with her husband of two years, Matthew Lawrence. “I have to think about, ‘OK, it’s not just me now. It’s me and my husband, and what do we want for our future?'” she said.
The longest tenured pro, Burke joined “Dancing” in Season 2 in 2006 and won it right out of the gate with Drew Lachey. She became the first pro to win multiple and back-to-back Mirrorball trophies when she and Emmitt Smith prevailed in the third season. Burke competed in 18 consecutive seasons before missing the 20th, 21st and 22nd installments to pursue other opportunities. She also skipped Seasons 24 and 26. Last season, she finished seventh with AJ McLean, with whom she started a podcast, “Pretty Messed Up,” in which they discuss their battles with addiction and roads to sobriety.
Burke also opened up about her struggles, including the childhood sexual abuse she suffered, to Tamron Hall, and the mental toll that and the show have taken on her. “I’m 37 years old and I’m starting to see, like, ‘OK, what’s the next chapter?'” she explained. “As much as I’m so grateful, as I’ve said, for the show and being a part of it, there’s a mental capacity to the show where you’re just like, ‘Oh, gosh, does this define me? Is the validity that important when I really need to find it within?'”
This is not the first time Burke, whose celebrity partner will be revealed on Monday’s premiere, has discussed calling it quits. While she and McLean were still on last season, Burke made no secret that her “Dancing” days are numbered. “My hips don’t lie, and I’m starting to get tendonitis. For a woman, as far as ballroom dancing competitively goes, normally in their 30s [they retire],” Burke said in November. “I’m 36, so it’s like, ‘OK, time to hang up those shoes.'”
“Dancing with the Stars” premieres Monday, Sept. 20 at 8/7c on ABC.
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