Cheryl Burke ofDancing with the Stars’is a two-time Mirrorball champ. In season 3, Burke was paired with former NFL star Emmitt Smith and the twodanced your wayto victory.

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Burke and also Smithhad a heavy friendship on and off the run floor. However after one tense rehearsal, the competitors had a boil confrontation wherein Smith finished up prompting Burke to carry out some self-assessing.


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Cheryl Burke and Emmitt blacksmith of ‘Dancing v the Stars’ | Don Bartletti/Los Angeles time via Getty Images

Emmitt Smith retained fumbling a run step

In she memoir Dancing Lessons, Burke explained the former Dallas Cowboys running earlier as a consummate professional and willing to job-related until the perfected every dance. Yet as soon as it concerned rehearsing a Paso Doble (double step) regime late one night, blacksmith couldn’t discover his footing.

“No issue how plenty of times Emmitt tried, he just couldn’t obtain it,” Burke recalled. “We to be in our sixth hour the rehearsal, and also even the camera crew had packed up for the night. … every either of us wanted was to gain through one clean operation of the dance, and also then us could call it a night.”

Exhausted and also hungry, Burke prospered frustrated every time smith fumbled the “twist-turn” component of the routine. Despite Smith’s dedication, that couldn’t grasp the steps. After numerous attempts with no success, Burke had a bit of a meltdown.


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“‘You have gained to be kidding me!"” she recalled snapping at Smith. “‘Why is this happening every f*cking time? This is ridiculous!’ ns rolled mine eyes. I was wound tight, seething, and I plainly didn’t hold back.”

Super bowl champ faced Cheryl Burke after she outburst

Following Burke’s explosion, blacksmith calmly walked end to the agree dancer and shared his think on the matter.

“‘Nobody talks to me choose that,’ he claimed in a an extremely quiet, managed voice,” Burke remembered. “‘Don’t think the you’re that distinct of a person that you deserve to talk come me prefer that. Nobody of mine football coaches ever before spoke to me favor that. Carry out we know each other?"”

Immediately remorseful, Burke apologized to Smith and the two determined to finish rehearsal because that the night. The DWTS star to be struck by just how calmly the Super key champ reacted and also effectively got his allude across.


“It wasn’t his size or his strength that intimidated me, it was the method Emmitt spoke to me in a composed and controlled voice,” the pro dancer explained. “Instead the yelling at me, Emmitt take it the strategy of gift understated and also intense. It had a big impact.”

What Cheryl Burke learned native Emmitt Smith

Feeling weighted v guilt over her actions, Burke realized she take it Smith’s missteps as her own an individual failure. The DWTS star additionally admitted she periodically treated others the method she had been cure in the past.

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“Emmitt placed me in my location by confronting me, and I deserved it,” she shared. “He acquired my admiration and respect for doing that, and also he additionally caused me to take a great look at myself. … I’ve to be on the receiving end of dull criticism because that so long… that periodically that’s just how I communicate. Yet that night, Emmitt’s words make me realize the criticism delivered without respect is only belittling and also rude.”

Discovering that she had to extend the very same respect to herself quite than expecting consistent perfection, Burke helped Smith master the essential steps. The 2 won the entire competition that season and also remained great friends lengthy after the season ended.


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“Emmitt didn’t want to it is in coddled or patted top top the ago every time that did miscellaneous right; he just wanted respect,” Burke noted. “I think he well-known that a feeling of respect to be something I essential to extend to myself as well. … ns am much more aware now, many thanks to Emmitt, that respect is a two-way street. You’ve acquired to earn it from others and demand the from yourself.”