“For those of you asking if I’ll be a part of Len Goodman’s tribute next week on DWTS, unfortunately, I wasn’t invited however, I’ll be there in spirit and can’t wait to cheer my former colleagues on!” Burke, 39, wrote via Threads on Thursday, October 19. “Sending love and light to everyone. 🤍🙏🏼 #riplen.”
On the Tuesday, October 17, episode of DWTS, co-hosts Alfonso Ribeiro and Julianne Hough shared that the October 24 episode will feature a dance tribute to Goodman who died at age 78 in April after his private battle with prostate cancer.
Ribeiro, 52, and Hough, 35, announced that the special event would include several former pros including Maks Chmerkovskiy, Kym Johnson-Herjavec, Tony Dovolani, Anna Trebunskaya, Edyta Śliwińska, Karina Smirnoff, Louis van Amstel and Mark Ballas.
Despite not receiving an invite, Burke had one of the lengthiest tenures on the show. During her debut, which aired in 2006, she took home the mirrorball with partner Drew Lachey. Burke returned for season 3 and was victorious yet again with Emmitt Smith. She took a brief hiatus from 2015 to 2016, and ultimately appeared on a total of 26 seasons before announcing her retirement in November 2022.
“This has been one of the absolute hardest decisions of my life & I am also confident that it is the right one,” she wrote via Instagram at the time. “This show has been my 2nd family since I was 21 years old. The cast, crew & fans have seen me through my highest highs & some of my lowest lows, & I honestly don’t know who I would be today without them.”
Since her exit, Burke has been candid about how she’s been navigating the transition into her post-DWTS life.
“This has been the worst divorce because … though it was my choice, it doesn’t matter,” Burke exclusively told Us Weekly about how it felt to hang up her dancing shoes. “This was a part of my life [for] almost half of my life.”
When Burke learned of Goodman’s passing, she penned an emotional tribute in his honor and opened up about how much his mentorship meant to her.
“From when I was a teenager when he used to judge me in all of the European dance competitions I took part in all the way up until the day we hugged each other when we both retired on @dancingwiththestars this past season,” she wrote via Instagram in April. “Thank you for being the face of Ballroom Dancing and always standing by what was right no matter what.”