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Sharna Burgess recalls the ‘slippery slope’ of smoking meth as a teen

The “Dancing With the Stars” professional says that realizing she missed being a dancer helped her get back on the straight and narrow.
/ Source: TODAY

“Dancing with the Stars” favorite Sharna Burgess is opening up about how dance saved her from drug addiction in her teens.

On a Sept. 25 episode of her iHeartPodcast “Old-ish” — which she hosts with Randy Spelling and her fiancé Brian Austin Green — the dance professional looked back at a time in her life when she became dangerously close to going down a dark path.

According to Burgess, she experienced a sign from the universe about where her life would go if she continued on her path of drug experimentation. Speaking to her co-hosts, the Australian dancer explained that at the time, she was 17 years old and had already been using drugs for two years. By the time her “moment of clarity” finally hit her, the dancer said she’d already progressed to smoking meth “on and off,” and she was spending time with “20-somethings and maybe even young 30-somethings” passing around a crack pipe.

“This was at the end of probably being awake for three days. We were sitting in the backyard of someone’s house, and a crack pipe was being passed around with meth in it, and we were all taking hits of it,” Burgess explained.

Sharna Burgess at the 2023 iHeartRadio Music Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 27, 2023 in Hollywood.
Sharna Burgess at the 2023 iHeartRadio Music Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 27, 2023 in Hollywood. Steve Granitz/FilmMagic

The dancer explained that she realized she needed to change her life while “sitting there watching this pipe pass around, and the universe, God — whoever you call it — gave me this moment, and I saw everybody sitting opposite me with complete clarity of what my future looked like.”

“I realized that I had come from being an Australian champion ballroom dancer. I represented my country at the World Championships,” she explained. “I was an athlete, the best in the country at the time. And because of a knee injury, I fell off...” she said. “But I realized how far I’d (fallen) and how much I needed to get back to that person, that this was not what I was meant for.”

Burgess explained that at the time, her thoughts told her, “I am here for a reason. I am here for more.”

“I got given that blessing of a moment to see where I was at. And that was where it all changed for me, and I understood. I need dance back in my life,” she explained, noting that she decided to move away from her cultivated drug scene to Melbourne, where she began to dance again.

Green then asked Burgess if she’d ever thought to seek treatment before this moment, and the dancer recalled that she’d experienced a sobering moment while at a rave and had to be treated by paramedics.

“There was a moment at a rave when I was incredibly dehydrated and had taken too many things and started... frothing and foaming at the mouth a little bit because I was so dehydrated,” she explained, adding that despite the magnitude of the situation, her home life and different triggers continued to make her seek comfort in drugs.

“I was very, very uncomfortable in my reality, so I would escape to this place of euphoria,” she explained, before adding later that “eventually the things I would take to get to that place of euphoria weren’t strong enough or enough and I do more and have more and more often. And that was the slippery slope for me.”

Burgess shared that it wasn’t until she acknowledged that she missed being a dancer that she needed to be sober.

“I lost my way of working through things even though I didn’t know that at the time,” she explained. “I think the strength (to stop doing drugs) came from realizing I needed to get back into that.”

Burgess has come a long way since her low point. She joined “DWTS” Season 13 as troupe member, before becoming a regular pro during Season 16.

In 2018, she won Season 27 of “DWTS” when she was partnered with Bobby Bones. More recently, she became engaged to Green, with whom she welcomed a son in June 2022.