Pop Culture

‘Dancing’ pros critical of Cheryl Burke’s weight

“Dancing With the Stars” professional Cheryl Burke is facing new criticism over her weight and it’s not from bloggers, but from her fellow pros.

“(People) look at this show to be inspired and think, ‘If I just work hard enough, I can look like that,” Louis Van Amstel, who in “DWTS” season 6 was paired with Priscilla Presley, told the new issue of TV Guide. “If they watch someone who’s dancing her butt off and she’s still heavy, they can be discouraged. You have to take that responsibility.”

Van Amstel and fellow professional Maksim Chmerkovskiy spoke out about Burke’s weight and that of “Dancing” newcomer Lacey Schwimmer in the mag’s new issue.

Chmerkovskiy, who was forced to leave “DWTS” earlier this season when his partner, Misty May-Treanor, tore her Achilles tendon, said he asked the women to take stock of their figures at the start of the season.

“When I first saw these women this season, I said, ‘Guys, you know the camera adds 10 pounds,’” Chmerkovskiy recounted. “‘You have to do something about this.’”

Burke attributed her weight gain to having fun over the summer, and Schwimmer said she isn’t yet “back to” her “old self” following a December 2007 knee surgery.

Van Amstel, however, said the weight gain happened because there was no “DWTS” jaunt over the summer.

“If you want to gain weight, it’s your prerogative,” Van Amstel said. “We all put on weight because there was no summer tour. But you have to deal with the consequences.”

But not everyone has been weight-critical.

As previously reported on AccessHollywood.com, Burke’s current castmates — including leaderboard champ Brooke Burke — recently leapt to her defense after bloggers singled the two-time “DWTS” champ out.

“I think we have a lot of pressure on us being in Hollywood,” Burke previously told Access. “Cheryl is an example. I think she is sexy and voluptuous. I have always loved her body as feminine.”

And Burke’s celebrity partner Maurice Greene also had encouraging words.

“My family, my boys, everybody was calling her and telling her she looked great and don’t be worrying about that stuff,” he said. “I think she looks great and you know what? As long as she feels good, that’s the only thing that matters really.”