Why ‘DWTS’ Star Cheryl Burke and Matthew Lawrence Broke Up in 2008: ‘It Just Kept Getting Worse’

Dancing With the Stars champ Cheryl Burke celebrated her first wedding anniversary with husband Matthew Lawrence in May this year. The two met when Lawrence’s brother was a contestant on the ABC competition in 2006.

After dating for a year, Lawrence and the DWTS pro split. Reconciling almost a decade later, the couple tied the knot in 2019. They recently discussed what prompted their breakup the first time around.

Matthew Lawrence and 'DWTS' star Cheryl Burke
Matthew Lawrence and ‘DWTS’ star Cheryl Burke | Charley Gallay/Getty Images

Cheryl Burke and Matthew Lawrence had an instant attraction

Lawrence’s brother competed on DWTS in 2006, yet it wasn’t until the following year the Mrs. Doubtfire actor got to know Burke. Though getting acquainted took some time, Lawrence was immediately smitten when he set eyes on the pro dancer.

“I’ll never forget it actually,” Lawrence recalled of seeing Burke getting on a bus following a performance, according to Yahoo! Lifestyle. “I just saw this little head popping out from the crowd and I was like, ‘Who is that?’ I was captivated.”

The attraction was mutual, where Burke prompted Joey to introduce her to his brother. “I just thought he was very handsome,” Burke said. “Good-looking dude.”

RELATED: ‘DWTS’: Cheryl Burke Almost Fell for Her Former Partner but ‘Knew I Would Never Be the Only Girl in His Life’

Things took a romantic turn in 2007, yet the couple split the following year. “We broke up and we didn’t even run into each other once,” Burke recalled, “which is crazy because we used to live very close.” 

‘DWTS’ star’s habits impacted Matthew Lawrence

Speaking on Burke’s podcast Pretty Messed Up with her former DWTS partner AJ McLean and Rene Elizondo, Lawrence talked about avoiding the lure of partying for years until he went on location to film a movie.

“I went all the way to 20 years old without experiencing anything,” Lawrence shared. “I didn’t drink, I didn’t smoke, I didn’t try anything. And then I booked a movie out of the country and I tried everything for the first time, all in about 3 months. I had a huge freakout about it – I thought I was gonna die. I called my mom crying.”

Explaining that he cut down to going out just one night a week upon returning to Hollywood, his party schedule increased when he started dating Burke. “Then he met me and it was 7 nights a week,” she revealed.

Cheryl Burke and Matthew Lawrence split … then marry

Burke has been open about her previous addiction to alcohol after joining the cast of Dancing with the Stars, which took its toll on her relationship with Lawrence.

“After about a year, it just kept getting worse,” the Boy Meets World star revealed. “It was now 4-5 in the morning she was coming home. It was just too much, and so I ended it.”

Reconnecting in December 2016, the two rekindled their romance. Burke committed to a path of sobriety after their engagement in May 2018, and credits Lawrence for his unwavering support.

“He is just my rock,” she told Good Morning America in October 2020 of her husband. “I don’t know where I would be without him.”

RELATED: ‘DWTS’ Star Cheryl Burke Felt ‘Hurt’ After 2 of Her Fellow Dancers Made Negative Comments on Her Weight

Burke also formed a bond with McLean, and places a priority on surrounding herself people who are on the same wavelength.

“AJ also has influenced me in a positive way with him being sober, and we can talk therapy talk,” Burke told Us Weekly. “We go pretty deep to where I almost sometimes feel like the producers, they’re probably like, ‘These people! Therapy 101!’ Really, it’s great because I like to spend time with people who I can really talk to on that deep, deep level.”