Cheryl Burke She's well-known as a "Dancing With the Stars" champ, but now Cheryl Burke is opening up about her struggles off the dance floor.
The championship hoofer is speaking about her past sexual abuse at the hands of a family friend in her book "Dancing Lessons." According to People magazine, Burke was molested by a retired mailman in her Bay Area neighborhood who would occasionally pick her up from school and handle odd jobs around the house and started to abuse her when she was 5. "I'm telling my story," Burke told People. "They're not secrets. There's no shame."
Burke later testified against her abuser once revelations of possible assaults on other children surfaced and also spoke candidly of her ambivalence about taking the stand against him.
"I felt guilty for wanting his love and affection," she explained, adding that taking the stand was "the hardest thing I've ever done ... I saw his face and lawyers were asking me these questions and I was like, 'What am I doing? Did he even do anything wrong?' "
Burke also opens up in the book about the physical abuse she endured from two different ex-boyfriends, and said, "If I can help just one person, for me that's all that matters."
The revealing book, which is co-written by People senior writer Monica Rizzo, also focuses on her "Dancing" tenure and will include lessons she has learned from celebrity dance partners like Drew Lachey and Chad Ochocinco. "Lessons" will also touch on Burke's issues with her weight and media scrutiny.
After the release of her book in February, Burke is slated to return to the 12th season of "Dancing" in March.