Brooke Burke Talks ‘Crushing’ on ‘DWTS’ Partner Derek Hough

Brooke Burke Talks ‘Crushing’ on ‘DWTS’ Partner Derek Hough

Brooke Burke is dropping a bombshell revelation about her time as a contestant on Dancing With the Stars in 2008, admitting that she was not only “crushing” on pro partner Derek Hough at the time — but that she was tempted to engage in a “love affair” with him. 

In an interview on Cheryl Burke‘s Sex, Lies and Spray Tans podcast, Brooke reflected on her time as a competitor — and eventual winner — during the show’s seventh season. 

“I was crushing on Derek, for sure,” she revealed. The confession received a shocked response from Cheryl, who noted that Derek often told her how “hot” he thought Brooke was at the time. 

“Had I not been married,” Brooke continued, “I would have actually hoped we would have had a love affair.” 

The TV personality, who was married to David Charvet at the time, went on to explain the deep intimacy experienced between the professional dancers and their celebrity partners. 

“I would have had an affair with him,” she continued. “But listen, let me tell you why: You are intertwined with someone’s body when you’re not a dancer. There is no way that I have ever been so connected — besides with a lover or a husband — than I was with Derek. And it’s every single day. … So for three months, you are in someone’s arms. Why do you think people fall in love? You smell them, you feel them, you’re breathing with them. It can be more intimate than making love in a bedroom — you’re making love on a dance floor, if you’re really connected. If you have energy, you’re doing this dance and you’re in the rhythm, and then there’s trust, then you’re sharing fear, you’re doing something you’ve never done. How many times do you go through an experience with someone where they’re all you’ve got?”

While Cheryl joked that the dancers are quick to say “lose my number” after each season as they move on to their next partner, Brooke said that the feelings of the experience stayed with her. 

“I’ve had one experience with one person like that,” she said. “Life-changing.”

Kelsey McNeal/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

But Derek and Brooke didn’t hit it off immediately. She credits their Mirrorball Trophy win to working with a life coach during their time together on the show after it became clear that they weren’t “gelling.” 

“I knew his young mind. I knew he wasn’t competing to win. I knew it was an opportunity for both of us — I was there to get to know America in a different way. I think he was there because it was a great gig as a dancer, it was big for him. I don’t think people sign up for Dancing with the Stars to win the Mirrorball Trophy — it’s not even attainable, you don’t think it’s possible. So she said to us, the life coach said, ‘You’re both here, and you’re committed to being here, you might as well frickin’ get in it to win it.’ And we were like, ‘Oh.’ I swear we had a meeting of the minds and we made a commitment and promise to meet each other with honesty and compassion. And then we decided to win.”

Brooke also credited her husband at the time with pushing her through the struggles of learning to train like an athlete, battling injuries and exhaustion along the way. 

“It was great for my marriage. I had very little time. I was exhausted at night but David really knew how to show up,” she said. “My family really took over to pick up the slack in raising each other. David was really supportive and he is also a bit of a performer so he understood the pressure.” 

Brooke noted that she “could have tapped out,” but David urged her to set a positive example for her kids. The former couple, who separated in 2018 and finalized their divorce in 2020, share Heaven Rain, born in 2007, and a son, Shaya Braven, born 2008. Brooke is also a mom to daughters Neriah, born in 2000, and Sierra, born in 2002, whom she shares with her first husband, Garth Fisher. 

“David said to me — he was amazing and I’ll never forget it — he said, ‘You gotta pull it together. What kind of message would that send to the kids? You’re not gonna quit. Are you a quitter?'” Brooke recalled. 

She also shared that David urged her to work on her connection with Derek amid their initial struggles. 

“[He] was like ‘You need to go and talk to Derek, you need to get out of your funk, you need to go connect before a performance.’ Because we were completely disconnected,” she shared. “We were in our own world, and yet we were a partnership, we were a team … and yet we weren’t behaving like teammates. As soon as we changed our mindset and as soon as we got in it to win it and as soon as we met each other with honesty, something magical happened and we found faith in each other — at least I did — and we just decided to win.”

Kelsey McNeal/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images
Kelsey McNeal/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

After their big win, Brooke went on to co-host the ABC show alongside Tom Bergeron from 2010 to 2013. As for her personal life, Brooke is set to marry Scott Rigsby after the pair became engaged in 2021. 

For his part, Derek now serves as a judge on Dancing With the Stars and recently tied the knot with his longtime love, Hayley Erbert. 

ET spoke with Derek and his DWTS counterparts recently at the Hard Rock Hotel in New York City for the season 32 cast announcement. The 38-year-old was flanked by fellow judges Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli, who also looked in awe as Hough showed off his new gold wedding ring. 

“Yeah, I kept the bling on the inside — like my heart,” Derek gushed. “It’s true, look at it.”

He revealed the subtle spark on the inside of his wedding band are two diamonds in honor of him and his new wife.

Dancing With the Stars airs Tuesdays on ABC and Disney+.


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