DWTS Pro Cheryl Burke's Divorce Had One Big Thing In Common With Johnny Depp And Amber Heard's Split

Every high-profile Hollywood divorce tends to be unique in its own way. Certain themes and motivations can overlap, of course, and it looks like some of the more headline-worthy break-ups of late, from exiting Dancing with the Stars pro Cheryl Burke and Matthew Lawrence to Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, have shared something in common: pet custody. While four-legged friends may not have been the biggest issues involved with either or those splits, the desire to maintain ownership over domesticated animals is certainly part of it all, with currently suspended GMA3 anchor Amy Robach and her estranged husband Andrew Shue also in that group

Though children are usually at the heart of heated custody disputes surrounding divorces, pets aren’t so far behind for those who hold their animals dear, to the point where they can anchor their own court battles. Cheryl Burke celebrated being the victor of just such a battle recently, posting this doggy-loving post on Instagram:

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The dancer’s friends and followers flooded her comment section with congratulatory and affirmational responses, giving Burke a lot of love for going through the custody proceedings that surrounded her and ex-Matthew Lawrence’s pup Ysa. 

Burke, who has been candid about her past struggles with alcohol and staying sober, followed that post a few days later with a far more introspective message detailing her current mood and state of mind in the aftermath of her split. Speaking to the “bliss” and “challenges” that come on a daily basis, she talked about being at a point in her life where she’s focused on the best ways to make herself happy and healthy, and one can only imagine that having Ysa around will amplify those good vibes.

Within a different section of the pet custody spectrum, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s two Yorkshire Terriers, Boo and Pistol, were indeed part of their divorce proceedings, and were brought up multiple times as part of their widely publicized appearances, not to mention other points in their relationship. The dogs were part of an international incident when they were smuggled into Australia at the time when Depp was filming a Pirates of the Caribbean sequel, with the government threatening to have the dogs put down.

Their dogs were also part of the conversation metaphorically surrounding the infamous poop in Depp’s bed, with Heard claiming at times that Boo or Pistol was responsible. Heard also accused Depp of dangling one of the dogs outside of a moving vehicle while he was allegedly intoxicated. She was eventually awarded custody of both dogs. 

And it would appear ABC News’ Amy Robach is sharing custody of her dog with estranged husband Andrew Shue, as the couple were seen making the exchange recently, in the midst of her ongoing romance with fellow GMA3 anchor (at least for now), T.J. Holmes. The pair have been at the center of many rumors since their relationship was publicly reported on in early December 2022, but while Holmes and Marilee Fiebig have officially filed for divorce, there’s no word on whether or not Robach and Shue are going the same route. As such, it would appear the dog swapping is happening on a voluntary basis, as opposed to a court-ordered one. 

Make no mistake, pet custody can be quite a contentious and expensive thing to deal with, as explained by family law attorney Holly Davis to Fox News

In application, judges and lawyers understand that dogs are much more than property, and in some cases, divorcing couples are willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars litigating who gets the dog in the divorce, and Courts will let them.

If only the pets could talk, then everyone could just ask them who they’d rather go with. But for now, it’ll just have to be left to the legal system for animal-related disputes, which has seemingly worked out well for both Cheryl Burke and Amber Heard.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.