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AJ McLean Hopes ‘DWTS’ Pal Cheryl Burke and Matthew Lawrence ‘Will Be Amicable’ Amid Divorce (Exclusive)

AJ McLean Hopes DWTS Pal Cheryl Burke Has Amicable Divorce
AJ McLean and Cheryl Burke. Shutterstock (2)

Her ride or die. AJ McLean opened up about how he’s been supporting former Dancing With the Stars partner Cheryl Burke amid her divorce from Matthew Lawrence.

Related: Everything Cheryl Burke Has Said About Healing Amid Matthew Lawrence Split

“She’s gonna be my ride or die homie forever … She always knows that she can pick up the phone and call me anytime — any day, doesn’t matter when,” McLean, 44, exclusively told Us Weekly on Thursday, July 14, while getting ready for BSB DNA World Tour with celebrity nail artist Julie Kandalec, using colors from Ava Dean Beauty. “And she just knows that, obviously, the only way around [divorce] is through, and this is something that she has to go through right now, unfortunately.”

Burke, 38, filed for divorce earlier this year and has since been opening up about her struggles on her “Burke In The Game” podcast. Last week, the pro dancer shared her interest in getting back in the dating field.

AJ McLean Hopes DWTS Pal Cheryl Burke Has Amicable Divorce
AJ McLean shows off his celestial nail art done by celebrity nail artist Julie Kandalec ahead of the Backstreet Boys show in Holmdel, NJ, on Thursday, July 14. Courtesy Julie Kandalec

“I am open to definitely starting to date, slowly but surely. However, not so sure yet about these dating apps, but I think that might be the only way because I have left my house a few times and it’s not that easy to meet people,” she said on her podcast.

Related: Cheryl Burke's Quotes About Dating After Matthew Lawrence Split

McLean, who’s been married to Rochelle McLean for a decade, shared with Us that he’s been giving Burke advice — “stay true to yourself and not forget to stay focused on you and who you are and what you need” — but has not been setting the two-time mirrorball winner up on dates.

“She’s an absolute sweetheart and, obviously, she’s a different person off the show — she’s not in that competition mode. She’s just chill … She’s just an awesome human being,” the Backstreet Boys member, who just debuted his new single, “Smoke,” told Us. “Hopefully, her and her ex-husband will be amicable and they can, obviously, stay friends. Who knows what the future holds.”

Related: Everything to Know About Dancing With the Stars Season 31 on Disney+

He added, “I’m always going to be there for her just like she’s been there for me, and, you know, that’s what friends do. Friends always have each other’s backs … Actually, I literally just FaceTimed her, like, two days ago just to say hi. She is doing well.”

Burke and McLean were paired up on season 29 and made it to week 9, getting eliminated right before semifinals. The dancing duo bonded over their sobriety journey — the father of two even inspired his partner to attend her first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.

The cast for season 31 of DWTS, meanwhile, has yet to be announced, but it has been confirmed that Alfonso Ribeiro will be joining Tyra Banks as cohost. McLean will “definitely” be watching with his family, including daughters, Ava Jaymes, 9, and Lyric Dean, 5. “We have not missed a single season,” he said.

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