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Cheryl Burke Reveals the "Curse" That Plagues Celeb "DWTS" Contestants

She says that fans and pros alike know which stars are most in danger.

A number of real relationships—and plenty of dating rumors—have come out of Dancing With the Stars pairing professional dancers with celebrities for the competition. But, on the other side of the coin, there are those relationships that have ended during the show. In a new interview, former pro Cheryl Burke opened up about the "Dancing With the Stars curse" that puts newly engaged couples specifically in danger. As she explains it, both fans and pros know that one half of a couple taking part in the show can doom their romance for good.

Read on to see what Burke had to say and to learn more about the so-called curse.

RELATED: The Most Hated TV Couples of All Time.

Burke said newly engaged Bachelor Nation stars often break up during their season.

Cheryl Burke at the 2021 Jingle Ball
Tinseltown / Shutterstock

In an interview with Fox News Digital, Burke said that relationship-ending jealousy that arises in celebrity competitors' love lives has become known as the "Dancing With the Stars curse."

"We call this the Dancing With the Stars curse. I think it started because of the Bachelor or Bachelorette franchise, where they would have these bachelorettes or bachelors come on after being newly engaged, and most of them didn't make it through," the pro said.

"And so … fans labeled it the DWTS curse, which is hysterical but not funny, obviously," the 39-year-old dancer continued. "But, look, if your relationship can't stand just a few months of Dancing With the Stars, then you had problems before."

RELATED: "DWTS" Pro Sharna Burgess Says She "Couldn't Be Alone With" One Star.

Burke explained why stars fall for their pros.

Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Kirstie Alley at the "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" premiere in 2011
s_bukley / Shutterstock

Celebrity competitors developing real feelings for their pros is something that Burke discussed in the new interview and with fellow DWTS pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy on a recent episode of her podcast, Sex, Lies, and Spray Tans. From the dancers' side, exhibiting sexual chemistry is all part of the job—but it's something that can be confusing for their non-dancer partners.

"We do this for a living," Burke told Fox News Digital. "And it may look like … we're really into that other person or whatever. But, at the end of the day, it's just a job for us, and we're back again for another season." Still, she admitted that there have been hookups amongst the casts that fans don't know about. "Look, it happens. That's all I'm going to say," the dancer said.

On Sex, Lies, and Spray Tans, Chmerkovskiy shared that celebrities misunderstand the closeness of dance. He recalled that his two-time partner Kirstie Alley often called him flirty. Eventually he asked why.

"She's like, 'Well, look where you're placing your hands.' What?! Where am I placing my hands?" he said. "'It's not your butt! I'm placing my hand onto your center of gravity where I can move you. I'm helping you! Because if I place it on your shoulder [you're] gonna keel over and fall. It's that. It's the misunderstanding of close proximity."

Several stars have split from their significant others during or after the show.

Jenna Johnson and JoJo Siwa at the GLAAD Media Awards in 2022
Steven Simione/FilmMagic via Getty Images

As Burke notes, some Bachelor and Bachelorette couples split around the time that the leads appeared on DWTS. In 2015, Chris Soules and his Bachelor winner Whitney Bischoff broke up soon after he appeared on DWTS. Most recently, in 2022, Bachelorette Gabby Windey broke up with winner Erich Schwer while she was competing, and she talked about the split on the show.

In 2021, The U.S. Sun reported that JoJo Siwa and her girlfriend Kylie Prew broke up because Prew was jealous of Siwa's connection to her dance partner Jenna Johnson. (Johnson has been married to another DWTS pro, Val Chmerkovskiy, since 2019.) Siwa later explained that they went their separate ways because of her busy work schedule but that they were still close friends, as reported by Screen Rant.

RELATED: "Below Deck" Star Captain Lee Reveals Shocking Show Secrets (Like How Much Guests Really Pay).

Fear of the curse exists across the pond, too.

John Whaite and Johannes Radebe at the "Strictly Come Dancing" live tour press launch
Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images

The curse is also a hot topic when it comes to Strictly Come Dancing, the British series on which DWTS is based. The Standard lists a full rundown of all of the outside-of-the-show celebrity and pro dancer relationships that have ended during one half of the couple's participation in the series.

In many cases, these relationships came to an end without rumors of the celebrity and their pro dating. But, Great British Bakeoff Star John Whaite admitted that he fell for his partner, Johannes Radebe, which led him and his fiancé, Paul Atkins, to take a break in their relationship.

"When you're physically pressed against another man for 10 hours a day, things move emotionally," Whaite told The Times (via The Standard). "So I fell in love with him [Johannes]. I still love him, of course I do."

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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