This is an interview for Yahoo Life’s Unapologetically Brooke video series with Brooke Burke.
In Yahoo Life’s video series Unapologetically Brooke, fitness expert and TV personality Brooke Burke admits she was “rushing to 50” — but when she finally turned the big 5-0 on Sept. 8, she had to take a step back and breathe.
“I’m committed to helping people feel good at any age,” explains Burke, who recently launched the fitness app Brooke Burke Body. “So I had to kind of check myself and go — ‘Whoa, the reality of 50 is a big one.’ I will admit that I feel better and happier and healthier and more connected to myself right now. … I feel like 50 is almost like the new 30.”
It wasn’t just the milestone birthday the Dancing With the Stars alum was celebrating: She also said “yes” to marrying her now fiancé, real estate developer Scott Rigsby, that very week. Yet with two previous marriages under her belt already — to plastic surgeon Garth Fisher and actor David Charvet, with whom she shares two children each — Burke says it took a lot of soul-searching to realize that she wanted to walk down the aisle again.
“I wasn’t really a marriage kind of person,” she says. “It’s really disappointing when it doesn’t work out the way you wanted it to. And then you kind of go back to the drawing board and dig deep and learn and grow. And I really fought to have an open heart after number two. And then I sort of accidentally met Scott, and I wasn’t really leaning into trying to produce this relationship. I was really just in it and letting it breathe and evolve. He’s an amazing man and everything’s right.”
Still, she has no interest in rushing to the altar any time soon.
“The first thing everybody asks when you get engaged is ‘When are you getting married?’ My response so far has been like, ‘Whoa, like I just got engaged… I don’t really feel the need for a big change,'” Burke explains. “You know, for me, it’s a commitment, it’s respectable. It’s honorable. It means a lot that he asked. It means a lot to him that I said, ‘Yes.'”
It also meant a lot for the pair’s kids. Burke has four children from her previous relationships, while Rigsby has two. Everyone is on board for their blended family, and Burke says they strive to put their children first, while still maintaining their special adult relationship.
“When I say kids first, that’s just a commitment I’ve made to consider all of the little hearts, and the fragility of love and a family,” she says. “But I think it’s super important for people into their second marriage and raising a blended family to really understand boundaries and priorities and personal needs. We are worthy as parents to be able to be happy and to be able to try again, to be able to start over.”
For Burke, the perk of starting over means enjoying the beginning stages of her relationship. However, she’s also all about preserving that special spark of “sexy” novelty, even years down the line.
“My goal, my commitment with Scott, was, ‘We have to make this relationship precious.’ I always want it to be precious,” she explains. “We have to find ways of reinventing ourselves as women and men. We have to find ways of keeping our relationship sexy and interesting… That could be discovering a hobby, a habit, exploring certain things. … I think that gives women life and energy and longevity. I don’t want women in their 40s, 50s or 60s to not feel sexy.”
Nor does she want them to think there’s any age where they can’t feel confident in their bikini — no matter what “cutoff” the world wants to give them.
“You should have a bikini cutoff age when you stop feeling good in your bikini,” Burke says. “And I don’t want to say ‘looking good.’ And I don’t want to say when somebody else thinks you stopped looking good. All shapes and sizes are hot and in right now, all sizes are relevant and trending right now.”
While Burke is the creator of a fitness program, she still wants women to do what makes them feel good.
“It’s about understanding your lifestyle … and setting attainable goals and designing a lifestyle, not a quick fix,” she says. “Not this, ‘I’m going to pop this pill or starve myself or never eat carbs again and shock my body. And then I’m going to put it all back on in three weeks.’ Find something you enjoy. Not everybody loves fitness. I get that, so make it fun. Get an accountability buddy, do it with a partner, do it with your family.”
Burke, who beat thyroid cancer in 2012, says the experience taught her to be “disciplined” about her health in ways that extend beyond fitness.
“”It means that I have to eat mindfully,” she says. “It means that I have to make smart choices. It means that I don’t skip that physical. I don’t skip it for my children.”
“We have to take care of ourselves,” she explains. “We learned that these last few years, it’s about health, longevity, energy. So it’s not just vanity anymore. It’s about living. It’s about our heart health. It’s about all of these things that really matter.”
And sometimes, she says, taking care of herself means saying no — which is what Burke says she is the most unapologetic about these days.
“I say no to things that take up too much time, so I have more time to do what I love doing,” she explains. “I say no to social commitments with friends. And I’m honest, it took me a while. Like as a woman, I can say to my girlfriends, ‘I love you girls. When I can’t go meet you Friday night it’s because I’m tired, and I worked really hard this week and I’m going to have a family dinner.’ I don’t feel bad about that. And people who love you will honor that.”
– Video produced by Stacy Jackman