On the podcast, Brooke told 39-year-old Cheryl when she and Hough first met saying, “I just thought he was so young and green and safe. I had no idea he would be such a powerful, badass choreographer.”
Though the two were not “gelling,” a round of couples therapy segments were arranged by producers which led Brooke to “crushing on Derek.”
At the time, the presenter was married to actor David Charvet, which the two later split in 2018.
She told Cheryl, “had I not been married… I would have actually hoped we would have had a love affair … I don’t think I’ve ever said that!”
Cheryl revealed that, at the time, Hough (who is now newly married to fellow former DWTS pro Hayley Erbert) was also gushing behind the scenes about “how hot” his partner was.
“I would have had an affair with him,” Brooke reiterated. “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, you feel more 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?”
Brooke also summed up the experience saying that she had only ever “had one experience with one person like that [outside the ballroom]. Life-changing.”
She also went on to admit that the two had a hard time finding their rhythm as partners.
“He was really tough, he was really hard on me. I’m OK with tough love. He did not love me through routines and support me and tell me that it was amazing. He was brutally honest,” she said, acknowledging that eventually that tack made her “better.”
Seeing the discord, even her then-husband encouraged her to get closer: “David 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. We were in our own world, and yet we were a partnership, we were a team … [but] we weren’t behaving like teammates.”
She explained, “I was a woman and a mother … he was a young man. We weren’t meeting each other in a place that was serving us. So we went to this life coach therapy session. And I was surprised that it never aired because I thought it was super real and super valuable.”
Brooke continued, “The other thing she said that was really valuable was, ‘You guys are not in this to win it.’ And we weren’t, Cheryl. He was really scared and insecure. He just thought, ‘Let’s stick around for as long as we can. We’re not gonna win the Mirrorball Trophy.”
Not only did Brooke and Hough — who has now taken a seat the judges’ table — go on to win season 7 of the ABC dance competition, she also landed a gig co-hosting the program alongside Tom Bergeron from 2010 to 2013.
Burke told Good Morning America in 2019 that winning the Mirrorball Trophy was “one of the most amazing moments of my life.”
Hough ultimately won the competition six times before becoming a judge in 2020 alongside Bruno Tonioli, Carrie Ann Inaba and the late Head Judge Len Goodman, who died in April.