'Naked Mom' Brooke Burke on Juggling Career and Blended Family
By Nicki Gostin Posted Jan 27th 2011 10:01PM
"People think my life is balanced and perfect and so easy and everybody's so happy," she tells PopEater. "We are happy because we're a family and we believe in love, but it's hard. It's really hard."
In our full chat, Burke talks about hooking up with Charvet 18 years ago, her humbling flaws and why balance is a myth. She also dishes on her 'Dancing' experience including overcoming a dislike of Derek Hough and her full-throated support of Kate Gosselin and Bristol Palin.
You address the ups and downs of making a blended family work. You even write about friction between David and your oldest daughter, Neriah.
It's tough. I have to tell you the process of writing this book was very scary. I spent a lot of time thinking what do I share, what do I not share, and then I realized how many people are raising a blended family, how many people get a divorce and think life is going to be instantly better and they're never going to have to deal with a lot of these problems. The truth of the matter is when you go through a life change like that, a whole new set of problems come along. Being really able to be uncensored as a celebrity and say, you know, I'm going to share my private life, I'm going to show what it's really like because I think there's a lot to learn from community healing, that's why I blog.
What's the hardest thing about motherhood (Neriah and Sierra with ex-husband Garth Fisher and Shaya and Rain with 'Baywatch' alum Charvet)?
Not losing your sense of self in the process. You can still have goals and priorities outside of your family. You can still be 100 percent committed to your family. I've accomplished more as a mother than any other time in my life and it's about remembering that you matter. Committing to taking care of yourself and your partner just as well as you take care of your children. I think that's the ultimate challenge, and it's easier said than done, but it's possible.
David is French and adorable. Double jackpot.
He's very passionate. He has an incredible palette. I love that he's well traveled. My commitment this year is to learn French. He has a lot of flavor, and it's very sexy and exciting.
You're 39 now, but you guys had a one night stand when you were 21.
We had an affair in Mexico, and we had an on-again, off-again relationship for quite some time with the exception of my marriage. It was the right guy at the wrong time. It was meant to be, but it took us probably 15 years to figure it out. We were supposed to be together, but we defied the odds to be sure.
Didn't you and David almost split up?
I think we have a pretty amazing special relationship. The reason I shared that was to show there are ups and downs. It's an ongoing challenge and relationships take work. We've known each other since we were 21 years old, and when it's good it's amazing and when it's bad we work through it. It certainly isn't picture perfect.
I will say, you come off as a little scary when you lose your temper. I felt bad for David.
I get that. (Laughs.) He definitely got more than he bargained for. But it's also about getting to know yourself and learning how to deal with those characteristics, too. I think learning about yourself, recognizing your flaws, being open enough and being humble enough to say you know what, this is not a good thing about me, I need to work on that.
One thing is for certain: This book is honest.
Well that was my commitment really, I wanted to do it that way 100 percent so people can really understand and relate and hopefully give themselves a break because we've all been through it.
Why do you say that balance is a myth.
People asked me for a long time to write about that. I used to believe in that, and at this point in my life I'm like, 'It's just bull.' If I strived for that every day, I would be just completely disappointed because raising a blended family is super hard and challenging. Juggling life and career, there are very few days when I get everything done that I need to get done. I'm just kind of making it up as I go along right now; I'm doing the best I can. This whole balance thing, everybody thinks it's this perfect life, I manage it all and it looks so glamorous; it's not the reality of what really goes on. I think balance is way too much to strive for.
You and dance partner Derek Hough did not like each other in the beginning of your winning run during season seven of 'Dancing.'
It's like being thrown into a prearranged marriage with someone you don't know. You're in their arms for three months. Derek and I are very close and obviously we accomplished the impossible, and we worked it out. But there were so many life lessons I learned. I learned so much as a woman challenging myself to do things I never thought I could do, pushing my body and pushing myself mentally and emotionally. Also understanding compassionately what my partner was going through as well. It's an amazing dynamic on 'Dancing with the Stars,' for the pros and the celebrities. The pros go through a lot as well. It was quite a life changing experience.
You wrote of your support for Kate Gosselin.
She was lovely and I really understood her.
Do you get why people don't like her?
I do. I think that people are so poorly perceived in the press.
What do you think of Bristol Palin making the finals?
I think it's easy to challenge any system on a reality show, but America voted for her to be there so she deserved to be there. I think the show is about dancing, but it's also about repeatability. And the truth of the matter is most people who were talking were not voting; they were just watching. But she was getting enough votes to keep her there. That being said I think she deserved it. She improved the most and she was the most challenged because she had no experience whatsoever in the limelight besides her mom.
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