Dancing with the Stars beauty Cheryl Burke, who recently revealed she was sexually molested as a child, has also struggled with body-image issues.
“One night I was supposed to go out with my friends but I couldn’t do it,” Burke, 26, told People. “Every time someone looked at me I was like, ‘That person thinks I’m fat.’ ”
In July 2008, the usually slender 5’4″ Cheryl was ridiculed by tabloids and in the blogosphere when she appeared in a bikini looking heavier than usual.
Burke says she had gained 5-10 pounds while on vacation, but was still mercilessly teased on the Internet. At the time, a defiant Cheryl dismissed the fat jokes, saying,” You don’t have to be anorexic to be beautiful.”
But secretly, the cruel comments made her cry and threw her into a downward spiral of diet pills (“Nasty – I felt anxious and shaky”) and starvation (“Couldn’t do it”).
Burke, normally a size 4, shed the excess weight by reducing her caloric intake and focusing on fresh foods. She cut out red meat and cheese and substituted white carbs for whole-wheat bread and gluten-free pasta.
Cheryl, a self-professed food lover, still enjoyed her favorite snacks, but in moderation.
“I love carbs and I love chips,” she says. “I’m not going to deprive myself, but instead of eating potato chips I’ll eat Triscuits or low-fat Cheez-Its.”
Burke, who’s now back to top form, has a healthier body image, but (like every other woman) has her moments of self-doubt.
“There are moments when I’m like, ‘Ugh, the camera adds 10 lbs,’ ” she says. “But as long as I work up a sweat and eat clean, I’m okay. I feel great about my body.”
In her new book, Dancing Lessons, Burke reveals she was repeatedly molested by a family friend from the age of 5.
“I’m telling my story,” says Burke. “They’re not secrets. There’s no shame.”
Cheryl later testified against her molester and helped send him to jail for almost 20 years. (You go, girl!)
Samantha Chang is the executive editor of TheImproper and a celebrity writer at Examiner.