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Dancing With the Stars pro, Cheryl Burke has been paired with many famous celebrities over the years. From Emmitt Smith to Rob Kardashian, Burke has taught some of the biggest names in the entertainment and sports industries how to bust a move on the dance floor — and even developed strong connections with those people in the process.

While it’s not uncommon for dancing pros to grow close to their famous castmates on the show, there have been many instances where fans believed that Burke was more than just friends with her celebrity partners. Though she’s denied most behind-the-scenes romances people have involved her in, Burke revealed that she did have a fling with one of her partners — but noted that it was very brief.

Cheryl Burke
Cheryl Burke | Christopher Polk/Getty Images for The People’s Choice Awards

Cheryl Burke was paired with NFL player Chad Ochocinco on Season 10 of ‘DWTS’

In 2010, Burke was paired with NFL pro Chad Ochocinco (who changed his name from Chad Johnson in 2008 but changed it back in 2012) for season 10 of DWTS.

From the start, Burke and Ochocinco had great chemistry. Though the athlete was a little closed off and to himself at first, he eventually came out of his shell and struck up a close friendship with the pro dancer.

Chad Ochocinco and Cheryl Burke
Chad Ochocinco and Cheryl Burke| Michael Bezjian/WireImage

Initially, no one really thought anything of Burke and Ochocinco’s relationship. However, as the weeks went by, the two began growing closer, and their undeniable chemistry became very evident to onlookers.

Soon, the rumor mill began to churn of a behind-the-scenes romance, and the athlete’s treatment of Burke only fueled those speculations.

The pair were rumored to be dating due to their incredible chemistry

While training for DWTS in Miami, Ochocinco didn’t hide his affection for Burke in any way.

Not only would the wide receiver be notoriously flirtatious with the pro-dancer during the ABC show, but he even showered her with lavish gifts like a diamond necklace and a diamond ring, which she eventually gave back.

From an outside perspective, it seemed Burke and Ochocinco were dating. However, Burke revealed in her 2011 memoir, Dancing Lessons, that she always had doubts about getting romantically involved with the athlete due to his reputation as a player.

“He was always kind, but I knew I would never be the only girl in his life,” she shared. “‘What happens if we start dating and I get attached to you – and then you have other women you want to see?'”

Cheryl Burke later confirmed that she and Chad Ochocinco had a fling

Though Burke denies ever dating Ochocinco, she admitted on a 2011 episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show that she did have a brief fling with her tenth-season DWTS partner.

“I mean, we had a fling,” she told DeGeneres. “We worked so much together and we had great chemistry, but it was the same pattern I had with my boyfriends in the past.”


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According to Burke, she and Ochocinco never took their relationship took the next level simply because he had too much going on in his life for a potential romance to flourish.

“He was just really unavailable to me,” she said. “I just knew that didn’t work and I’ve moved on and he’s obviously moved on. “

In her memoir, Burke also revealed that the athlete not being a one-woman kind of guy also stopped her from becoming more than just friends with him.

“Although Chad was wooing me, I had to resist because, ultimately, he doesn’t believe in relationships,” the pro dancer wrote. “As much as I liked him, I couldn’t let myself fall for him, because I knew that there would always be somebody else.”

Since their brief fling, both have moved on with their lives and are currently in relationships with other people.

While Burke is happily married to actor Matthew Lawrence, Ochocinco is dating Sports & Entertainment Realtor, Sharelle Rosado.

Though it’s unclear if Burke and Ochocinco are still friends today, she wrote in her book that she will always have “a soft spot for Chad,” who she’s confident feels the same way about her.