Brooke Burke Admits ‘Struggle’ with Shared Custody

11/07/2010 at 05:00 PM ET

Courtesy Working Mother

When her marriage to ex-husband Garth Fisher drew to a close, Brooke Burke wasn’t finished saying goodbye.

The Dancing With the Stars co-host, 39, reveals to Working Mother that the one-time couple began a two-weeks-on, two-weeks-off schedule for daughters Neriah Shae, 10½, and Sierra Sky, 8½, last summer as part of a shared custody agreement.

“I’d never been away from them for that long,” she muses.

“That’s something I really struggle with — not being with them every day. I think shared custody can be harder on the parents than it is on the children.”

Explaining divorce to the girls was no small feat, either, and Burke calls the conversation “the hardest thing” she’s ever had to do.

To that end, she suggests parents seek outside help from professionals because “it’s really important … to find the right words that your children can understand at their age.”

Although she has since moved on and welcomed two new children with fiancé David CharvetHeaven Rain, 3½, and Shaya Braven, 2½ — Burke says that managing her nuclear family is “ongoing” and “never easy.”

“I have a great relationship with my ex, and we’re committed to raising our family together, so it’s kind of a best-case scenario,” she says, “But it’s still difficult. And I also deal with my girls separating from their younger siblings.”

Neriah and Sierra are old enough to “know their schedule and that it’s the best routine for them,” however, according to Burke — who also works hard to make Rain and Shaya feel secure.

“Their younger brother and sister know that they’re always coming back,” she says. “It is what it is.”

FILED UNDER: Kids , News , Parenting

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h on

Heaven is going to be a beautiful lady. I’m guessing she’ll look like her mom but with blond hair ( and hopefully no plastic surgery)

Romy on

wow, that seems like a long time. I’d rather do 1 week on 1 week off. speaking of plastic surgery, Brooke has looked so good on DWTS. I think she ‘downsized.’

Jill on

I never watched DWTS until this season bc I couldn’t stand the previous cohost. I enjoy Brooke. I have always been a fan. I think she’s beautiful and seems like a great mom.

I wonder why they don’t do one week

Manal on

Rain looks like JonBenét Ramsey.. beautiful little girl!

Lynette on

How could she say that is harder for the parents than the children??? She has no idea what she is talking about…

noam on

lynette: perhaps she is saying that because it is normal for her children, they are more comfortable with it.

as a child of divorced parents, i know that my parents had a lot more anxiety than my siblings or i did about going between homes. it’s different for everyone, obviously, but if that’s the way you grow up, and, statistically speaking, the way the bulk of your friends are growing up, it’s not as big a deal.

Ashlee on

Noam, I agree.

Sure there was an initial period of adjustment but after awhile, I was used to staying with my dad, Monday through Friday, and being with my mom, every other weekend.

D on

I wonder if she and David are ever going to get married? They’ve been engaged forever. It’s probably pointless now.

codham on

I have been in this situation and I have to say it is equally as difficult for the child and the parent.

I have 2 wks on and 2 wks off and in the beginning didn’t think I was going to be able to deal with. But like everything else you just go with it. My child had a great dad so I felt like she needed him as much as she did me. When she got older she told me how hard it was for her.

Sometimes, I do feel as parents we don’t do what is best for kids. They need structure and to be stable. Its hard for them to be all over the place. And I like Brooke had not been away from my child and it was very difficult. My daughter has become an awesome woman and a great Mom so we did something right.

hbb on

I was lovingly shuffled between houses as a child and through adolescence and it was not easy. Very difficult really, but I didn’t even realize how uprooting it was until I lived in the college dorms and felt so relaxed, not having to pack my things every week or two. There’s no easy answer unfortunately…

Astrid on

D- I doubt Brooke and David will ever get married, as it would most likely mean she would receive less financial support from her ex-husband.

Romy on

Brooke and David had been talking about their engagement and wedding not too many months ago, but I wonder if they will go through with it.

Amanda on

There is no easy answer. It’s obviously not going to be easy on kids to be back and forth all the time, but it’s not good for them to not see both of their parents either.

Divorce is not easy, just because it’s happening at a ridiculous rate these days doesn’t mean it’s any better or easier. I just wish people would not get caught up in the wedding and the expectation that they should get married at/by a certain age and focus on the relationship, and in the same thought not rush into having children just because they want one NOW. I’ve just seen too much of that and I hate to say it but I’m never surprised when those situations don’t work out.

Heaven is a gorgeous little girl, she definitely looks a lot like her mommy!

Anonymous on

In all fairness, Brooke did not say it was harder on the parents than the children. She said, “I think shared custody can be harder on the parents than it is on the children.”
Which means she feels every family situation is different. I feel she is correct, for some families it can be harder for the children, for some families it can be harder for the parents and some families can be equally harder for both.

karine on

The girls have the chance to live in the same state as their dad, they don’t have to worry about travelling expenses and not seeing each other. So I would say they are lucky compare to some others.

Cici on

I love how for Brooke everything is really about her – her pain, her fear, her stress. She’s constantly babbling so maybe she doesn’t hear it but she’s whiny which is especially annoying since she’s rich and beautiful and gets tons of attention without actually being talented. She reminds me of “celebrities” like Kendra who are either bragging or whining. Still at least she’s a role model to all those normal women who whine about how hard their lives are with their healthy children, happy marriages, vacations, big houses, etc.

Jen DC on

@ Cici: Well, the interviewers aren’t asking about the children to ask about the children; they are doing it to get more information about Brooke’s life. And I think a lot of celebrity parents, in attempts to keep their children’s lives private, instead turn to talking about how things affect *them*, instead of giving private, emotionally-charged info about their kids. I think most of them would err on the side of being perceived as self-centered than give up information about their children’s inner lives and perhaps compromise the good will they’ve built up with ex-spouses, etc.

Tess on

Jen DC – I understand what you’re saying about celebs in general, but in this case I think that if Brooke wanted to give her kids privacy then she wouldn’t put them on the cover of a magazine.

CelebBabyLover on

Tess- I think that Brooke has actually found a pretty good balance. We occasionally see Rain and/or Shaya on the cover of a magazine, and we see paparazzi photos of them naturally. However, we never see the older girls on a magazine cover, and it’s rare to see paparazzi photos of them. Given the older girls’ ages, that’s likely because they prefer having more privacy now….so Brooke is giving it to them.

Compared to a lot of other celebs, we really don’t see that many paparazzi photos of Rain and Shaya either. So I think Brooke actually is respecting her kids’ privacy quite a bit. I’d also like to point out that posing with your kid on a magazine cover and telling the public private details about your kids’ lives are two completely different things.

By that I mean, for example, Rain’s being on the cover of this magazine isn’t giving us any private details about her life. 🙂

gdfg on

Cici, rich and beautiful doesn’t = happy or anything near perfect. There are many things I’d rather have than money or beauty.

Tess on

CelebBabyLover – I just tend to think that any celeb that puts their kids on magazine covers and takes them to movie premieres and talks about them and such is opening the door for the media, and that that door can never be closed.

Meryl Streep’s kids grew up before the mass media and internet, but I still admire that I don’t think I’ve ever heard a thing about them. I’m not even sure of their names. I think that’s the way for celebs to raise kids.

Jodie Foster is another example. I couldn’t tell you what her kids look like.

Rose on

@Tess: Well said!

I find it kind of disturbing that there seems to be a new crop of celebrities who have used their kids to constantly get media attention. I call them “Professional Moms” because they had fallen almost completely off the media radar until they had kids and then all of a sudden they were everywhere, taking their kids to premieres, putting them in magazines, doing interviews where they try to convince us all that they are just like the rest of us. Brooke is one of those people who wouldn’t be getting even a tenth of the media attention she gets if she wasn’t using her kids to get attention. Other actresses that come to mind: Melissa Joan Hart, Kendra Wilkinson, Kourtney Kardashian, Melissa Rycroft. I could go on but I think you get my point.

Marie on

I always find it ironic when people tsk tsk about celebrity moms who have their kids in the spotlight, but yet still are here on Celebrity Baby Blog to gape at said kids. Cute.

Tess on

Rose – Great post.

Marie – Maybe some people are here to look at the parents, not the kids. I was very surprised when the site posted an Anna Paquin pic awhile back, and I enjoyed seeing her although I have no interest in her stepkids.

Also, I think there’s a difference between posing with your kid on the cover of a magazine and walking down the street with your kid while a photographer happens to take a picture. There’s different kinds of pictures that end up on this site, and I think that’s the point that a lot of people are saying when criticizing celebs.

Rose on

@Marie: I come because I like to see an occasional picture about a celebrity child, and I don’t even mind the celebrity who tells an occasional story about their kid provided they don’t make a regular habit of it. But some celebrities go totally overboard with it.

CelebBabyLover on

Tess- I know only one of Meryl’s kids names, and that’s her eldest daughter’s name: Mamie. Mamie Gummer, who is an actress in her own right (and, from what I’ve read, is tired of people comparing her to her mom! :)).

Bancie1031 on

Tess – so you would rather see a photo of celebrity children that are having their picture taken without permission or warning and from people (paparazzi) that could possibly be scaring them because their is such a large group or hounding/harassing/invading them than a picture of a child in a controlled environment?

We have heard several celebrities mention that the paparazzi scares their children or crowds them and it literally terrifies their child or situations where it became dangerous …… just to name a few examples …..

Either way we are all here for the same purpose, to look at celebrity children – if you truly were here to look at CELEBRITIES you would go to another site instead of one named CELEBRITY-BABY-BLOG that is designed around the celebrity child.

Anyways ….

Brooke is very pretty and seems like a very loving mother. I personally don’t think I could be away from my child for 2 weeks at a time …. shoot I don’t even allow her to spend the night away from home because I miss her … that and the fact she’s not quite ready to spend the night off even at the age of 10.

Brookes children are very adorable 🙂 and I hope her and David do eventually decide to tie the knot 😀

Anonymous on

CelebBabyLover – Mamie has been on The Good Wife a couple of times, and looks very much like her mother. She’s the only one I could maybe identify, although another daughter is an actress also.

Bancie1031 – do you think People is going to show a pic like you described, where the kid is terrified? No, of course not. They show pics of Sarah Jessica Parker walking her son to school or Jessica Alba walking down the street with her daughter or Jennifer Garner in the park with her kids. Perhaps unwanted attention, but the kids are always smiling and laughing and hardly look scared or terrified. Yes, I would rather see a picture of a celebrity kid under the above-mentioned circumstances than see a picture of the parent posing with kid(s) on a magazine cover or taking them to movie premieres. Because then at least the parents can say they didn’t bring the attention on themselves (and they didn’t).

Many celebrities are parents, so there’s a variety of people on this site. Why not come here as one place to see celebs? Really, there are only so many times we can see pictures of this or that kid and read posts about “oh, isn’t he/she cute?” It’s the celebs who are more interesting, IMO.

CelebBabyLover on

Anon- It’s not true that we always see pictures of smiling kids here, or that just because a kid isn’t crying or looking scared that they aren’t afraid of the paps. Moms & Babies doesn’t post pictures of upset/scared children, but that doesn’t mean that none of the children on here are afraid of the paps or that the paps aren’t being too intrusive.

Often sets of pictures of celeb kids looking upset/scared also include a few pictures where the celeb kid in question DOESN’T look upset/scared, so Moms & Babies just uses the non upset/scared looking pictures. One very good example: About a year or two ago, there were pictures of the Stefani-Rossdale’s in an airport. The kids looked for the most part fine in the photos CBB (it was still CBB then) posted.

However, a look at photos on other sites as well as a video from that outting showed poor Kingston having a meltdown and clearly not likely the paps! So he may not have looked scared of/upset about the paps on this site, but he clearly was. So I have to agree with Bancie. I don’t mind pap photos of celeb kids as long as they use long lenses and don’t get right up in everyone’s face. But pictures where they ARE up in everyone’s face, they’re yelling the kid(s) name(s), and/or the kid is clearly scared/upset by the paps are NOT okay, IMO.

I’d much rather see a picture of a celeb kid in a magazine than pictures of them being scared and upset by the paps!

Tess on

CelebBabyLover – that was my anon post because I usually forget to type the name in and there’s no way to edit posts.

Anyway, we disagree and that’s fine. I’m not sure, however, what you’re saying when you’re talking about kids being scared of the paps – I said that it’s not on this site, and you seem to agree with that by saying the full set of pics on other sites proves it. We’re talking about this site and People not posting pics of kids looking scared/unhappy/crying, etc. They don’t. I haven’t seen it, anyway. I’m not saying the paps aren’t intrusive, as I’m sure they are at times (or all the time, who knows), but I haven’t seen an upset child on this site.

And I would rather see the shots of kids walking down the street with their parents than posing in a magazine. I still go back to the argument that if the parents open the door for the media, then it’s hypocritical for them to then complain about the press attention.