Cheryl Burke
Cheryl Burke pictured at the People’s Choice Awards 2017 in Los Angeles on Jan. 18, 2017. Reuters/Danny Moloshok


  • Cheryl Burke has officially announced her exit from "Dancing with the Stars"
  • The TV star has been part of the competition series for 26 seasons
  • She said she'll focus on podcasting and her mental health advocacy

Cheryl Burke is officially leaving "Dancing with the Stars" after 26 seasons.

The 38-year-old pro dancer announced her retirement from the hit reality dance competition on Sunday via Instagram.

Burke shared a photo of herself sporting a fiery red costume and accompanied it with a lengthy message explaining her decision to move on from the ballroom competition.

"I am sitting here full of so many conflicting emotions about the words I am about to write... Tomorrow night will officially be my final dance as a pro dancer on 'DWTS.' This has been one of the absolute hardest decisions of my life, [and] I am also confident that it is the right one," Burke wrote.

She continued, "This show has been my 2nd family since I was 21 years old. The cast, crew [and] fans have seen me through my highest highs [and] some of my lowest lows, [and] I honestly don't know who I would be today without them."

According to the reality star, it's time for her to move on to the next phase of her career. She noted that she would be focusing on her commitment to mental health advocacy and her newfound love for podcasting.

Burke first appeared on the hit show in 2005, and she's since bagged the championship title twice. She first won the mirrorball trophy with partner Drew Lachey during her inaugural season. She emerged triumphant once again in 2006 with her partner Emmitt Smith, according to Us Weekly.

Many of her co-stars expressed sadness upon learning about her decision to retire. Most of them expressed their sentiments in the comments section.

Peta Murgatroyd wrote, "I'm already tearing up." Daniella Karagach Pashkova commented, "I'm not ready. I love you so much."

"[Cheryl], you are a queen! Such an inspiration, so proud of everything you have done," Alan Bersten stated.

"It's been a wild ride. So proud of all you have achieved and overcome. Forever left your mark on 'DWTS.' It's been a pleasure," Derek Hough added.

Last month, Burke dropped hints that Season 31 could be her last as a pro dancer in one of the episodes of her "Burke in the Game" podcast.

"A lot of people have asked me if this is my last season. The answer to that question is likely yes, this is my last season — as a dancer that is," she said.

The professional dancer continued, "I know a lot of people are saying it's because I want kids, that is not the reason... The reason is because I want to be OK with the uncertainty of what life is about to throw at me. Until I close a chapter, how do I expect another one to open?"

Dancing with the Stars
AJ McLean and Cheryl Burke are pictured dancing during a Season 29 episode of “Dancing With the Stars.” Eric McCandless/ABC