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Cheryl Burke Reveals “Abusive Ex Whipped Me With A Belt” While His Parents Watched

Cheryl Burke made a traumatic revelation about her past relationship with her high school boyfriend. This week’s “Red Table Talk” was all about trauma bonding, and the American dancer told host, Jada Pinkett Smith and Adrienne Banfield-Norris, in addition to an expert psychologist, that her abusive boyfriend inflicted pain on her while his parents watched it all. Read on to learn more about trauma bonding.

Bruised At A Young Age…

During her appearance on the Red Table Talk, Cheryl Burke indulged in a “trauma bonding” discussion with host, Jada Pinkett Smith and Adrienne Banfield-Norris, in addition to an expert psychologist. The 38-year-old “Dancing With The Stars” fame artist revealed that she was abused by her high-school boyfriend while his parents watched.

In a sneak peek at Wednesday’s episode of Red Table Talk, Cheryl claimed that she had a first-hand experience with domestic abuse. “Not to get too graphic, but in high school — I’ll never forget, the person I was with on and off for about four years whipped me with a belt,” the dancer shared in a clip.

She said, “And I had bruises all over my legs. I remember his parents were watching it, didn’t do anything,” she continues. “And it wasn’t like he was hitting me, he was whipping me.” The full episode will air today (Nov. 2).

The 38-year-old dancer struggled with alcoholism, but completed four years of sobriety in August, six months after filing for divorce from Matthew Lawrence. During a previous appearance on the “LadyGang” podcast, she revealed that her father passed away in 2018 and was an alcoholic. She continued, “So either I was gonna crash and burn and check myself into rehab, or I was gonna just quit cold turkey.”

The “Burke in the Game” podcast host has previously opened up about being “addicted” to dating toxic men. She revealed that she lost her virginity at the tender age of 13 to her first boyfriend, which forced her into “a pattern of moving just way too fast” and not associating “sex with intimacy or love.” “It was something that I did because I felt like I had to, in a way, just to keep a boyfriend,” she explained.

What Is Trauma Bonding?

According to PsychCentral.com, trauma bonding refers to “the formation of an unhealthy bond between a person living with abuse and their abuser”. For instance, Stockholm Syndrome is a kind of trauma bond.

Trauma bonding is “a psychological response to abuse, and occurs when the abused person forms an unhealthy bond with the person who abuses them.” In this, the person experiencing such abuse may develop sympathy towards the abusive person, resulting in a constant cycle of abuse, followed by remorse. Trauma bonding may happen due to the following situations:

  • domestic abuse
  • child abuse
  • incest
  • elder abuse
  • exploitative employment
  • kidnapping or hostage-taking
  • human trafficking
  • religious extremism or cults

As for Cheryl, her motivation behind why she wanted to open up about her trauma, was that she hoped that she could help people who have experienced similar patterns because she feels that there is hope on the other side. She added: “I am living proof that where you are in life does not need to be where you are forever.”

Please take mental health seriously! If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, or if you are undergoing a similar situation, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for confidential support.

I am Mallika Singh, a lawyer and writer by profession. Writing gives me a sense of freedom and independence. I am a keen observer and an ardent reader. When not at work, you can find me at the stable. Horse riding is another passion that keeps me going.


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