Brooke Burke Charvet: Blended Families Are ‘Challenging’

12/17/2011 at 03:00 PM ET
Courtesy Fitness

Despite her best efforts, there is no method to Brooke Burke Charvet‘s madness.

“I wish I were always calm in the chaos. I have children with very strong personalities, and as elating as that is, it can also be deflating,” the Dancing With the Stars co-host, 40, says in Fitness‘s January issue.

“There’s a lot of action in my household and sometimes I’m a referee all day long.”

Mom to Neriah Shae, 11, and Sierra Sky, 9½, with ex-husband Garth Fisher, and Heaven Rain, 4½, and Shaya Braven, 3½, with husband David Charvet, Burke Charvet has made it no secret that bringing her family together has been anything but easy.

“Having a blended family is a challenge. Two of my children are with their father part of the week, so when they come home they want me all to themselves,” she shares.

“Then my other two children, who have had me all to themselves, suddenly have to share me and that can make them very needy.”

Often found walking around the Dancing set greeting the crew, Burke Charvet’s friendliness stems from the demands of raising her four children.

“As a mother, I hardly ever get a thank you. Nobody ever says, ‘Thanks for getting up early and making me that lunch, Mom. I enjoyed what was in my lunchbox today,'” she explains. “So when I do hear that from my kids, it feels really good. Maybe that’s why I treat the people I work with well.”

Over the years, the former model has learned to “roll” with her hectic lifestyle — which also includes work on her blog, Modern Mom — and schedule slots for sleep whenever possible!

“My two younger kids always end up in our bed in the middle of the night,” Burke Charvet admits, adding that she aims for six to eight hours of sleep a night.

“I think that sleep deprivation is a really bad thing for a woman, not only for her skin and eyes, but also for her mood, memory, metabolism, energy, and sex drive. David and I have done ‘sleepcations,’ where we check into a hotel room simply to be alone and sleep.”

But despite her ability to juggle it all, and still dazzle in front of the cameras in the ballroom, Burke Charvet reveals she isn’t a stranger to insecurities of her own.

“My biggest frustration is that I developed bad melasma when I was pregnant with my son. It’s like having a mask on your face. I did peels; I did lasers; I tried every product and saw every doctor,” she recalls.

“Nothing worked. I never used to wear makeup when I wasn’t working. Now I can’t leave the house without thick cover-up, which stinks. I do my best not to focus on it.”

— Anya Leon

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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Showing 64 comments

Tracy on

First of all, I want those abs! I guess that means I need to workout a lot more 🙂 I love how down-to-earth and honest she seems. I need to hop on over to her blog…

Rebecca on

She always is barely dressed & showing off her body. Seems to be constantly complaining about her kids. The kids are pretty young, of course they want their mommy. Seems like she would rather be at the gym. Try teaching your kids to be respectful then maybe they’ll appreciate you more often. The dumbest part of the article is sleepcations. Wonder if they tell their kids that they are taking off without them to get some much needed sleep! Strange.

judy r. mathison on

Rebecca, I totally agree with your comments on Brooke Burke Charvet.

Marky on

I’m a very middle class person, and I’ve had friends who went to hotels for “break-time” with their husbands, or took a hotel break for themselves just to get rest sometimes.

What is with some of the “super-saints”on this site; actually criticizing others who are honest and admit they need rest sometimes, or time alone with their husband, or just a bit of time in the car to hear themselves think?

You have no idea what their lives are like, or their children’s personalities, so lighten up and quit thinking it’s your job to judge.

Anonymous on

Marky- I agree. And this is a perfect example of how celebs can’t win no matter what they do. They get blasted for talking about how wonderful their kids are and how great parenthood is….but then when a celeb admits that parenthood isn’t all sunshine and roses, they get blasted for that, too!

Dee on

If her children are ungrateful little so and so’s she has no one to blame but herself.

Anonymous on

I feel bad that Brooke feels like she has to go to such lengths to conceal her melasma (also called “the mask of pregnancy”). It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Although it’s may not be as common as other pregnancy side effects, it’s not super-rare either, and several women go through it (including my own grandmother, who had a rather severe case while pregnant with my mom).

It saddens me that Hollywood these days is a place where women pretty much have to hide their true selves.

Anonymous on

The thing that bothers me about her is her kids names…they are all so similar except Heaven Rain (which is a beautiful name). Neriah sounds like Neurotic and her middle name is practically her brothers name. Shae, Sierra Sky, Shaya….can she not just thing of something like Brittany or Lindsey. And Shaya sounds like a girls name to begin with. I feel bad cuz he is a BEAUTIFUL little BOY. I do however love Braven. She should have just went with that. Sorry to piss and moan but a LOT goes into a name…its with you forever….its your identity.

Helen on

I actually think she sounds like a great mom, and 4 kids is super challenging, particularly with the dynamics of the older kids being with their father part time and the others being so young.

I admire Brooke’s honesty. And dang, am I ever jealous of her body!!

Leah on

She sincerely shares her everyday challenges, but I think she overshares from time to time. It is not just about her privacy, so she should think about her kids’ privacy too. Especially, she should be more careful when she writes about her eldest two. Those kids have friends who can go online and read stories.

lisa on

I had that mask too. Lasers don’t work. Its hormonal. You need acupuncture. Totally took mine away.

guest on

Hmmm…melasma or killer abs after four kids? i’d rather the melasma and pile on the make-up. you can’t put make up on a saggy stretched belly.

Its me margaret on

Read this woman’s tweets. CONSTANTLY complains about her children. Also the biggest narcissist EVER. She has no talent. If she liked black athletes she could be a Kardashian. Shallow, vain, self-centered.

maggie on

Maybe you should have thought of that before you had more kids with someone else. Why do celebrities think it’s cool to have babies with different men, then complain about how hard it is? Whiner

Julia on

I actually find this really refreshing that she speaks so candidly about her imperfect her life is. It makes her human and it highlights the challenges of first being a mom in a blended family, and also trying to work outside of the home with four kids. It is honest and I give her credit for telling it like it is.

mom23 on

I actually like her more after reading this article. It shows that celebrities have the same issues with their kids as the rest of the world. We have 3 girls and there is always something going on in the house, I can imagine the chaos with 4 children. She seems like a great mom and kudos to her for taking some time for herself!

m on

Okay, I must have missed something in the article. First it say that she has 4 daughters and then it mentions a son at the end. Where did the son come from?

Kim on

Well atleast she is honest but seriously the money sure helps, so many people have blended families and are middle class and just trying to survive I’m not saying this to criticize its just a fact.

Jess on

you guys have no right to judge her for saying sometimes she needs to go to a hotel to get some sleep. I know how she feels. My daughter at 3 still doesn’t sleep through the night. I’m up three or four times with her. And I have a third one on the way, which means I won’t be able to get a lot of sleep for the next six months or so. Sometimes I’d love to stay at a hotel for a night, just to catch up on my sleep. There is nothing wrong with that.

My daughter is more demanding of my time than my son, who at four and a half is more independent. So all of you need to get off of your high horses and give the woman a break. At least she can admit that having kids isn’t easy. And I like that about her. It doesn’t mean that she loves her kids any less.

kim on

I really like her; and THANK YOU for being real!!! so tired of these moms who are like ‘omg my life is so perfect’. yeah, please. being a parent is hard… wonderful, but hard! go Brooke 🙂

Divya on

Thank you for being honest. Most parents are not at all. Being a parent is the hardest job in the world and every parent needs a break!

For all you critics, stop glorifying parenthood when someone chooses to tell the truth about the hard times too. My daughter also comes into out bed every night and it makes it really hard to sleep comfortably.

It’s obvious you work hard and part of your job is maintaining your figure. Kudos for caring for 4 kids and doing all that!

:) on

Maybe you should teach your children some manners and how to say thank you. My kids thank me for everything. Even, making their lunches. I brought them up to say please and thank you. I am not saying my kids are perfect but that is one thing I won’t tolerate.

She does seem to complain a lot about her kids. I read an article before where she said one of her older daughters and David fight. Um, who is the parent? I know it is probably hard because he is not her dad but you need to teach them respect.

Jill Scott on

She sounds like a “real mom.” At least her kids aren’t “magical” and perfect like Suri Cruise, etc. People who claim their households are perfect and everything is great are full of “you know what.”

emily on

For everyone saying that its her own fault that her kids aren’t appreciative…..seriously?

No matter how you raise your kids, they will all seem unappreciative at some point because they don’t understand all the work that goes into being a parent. How could they? That’s something you can only appreciate as an adult.

So to act like your own kids NEVER acted bratty or unappreciative is such BS. They’re kids!! So, get off it.

Mari on

Women who go on celebrity baby blogs to knock on the parenting skills/choices of people they’ll never know really need a better hobby.

eve on

Ok, a lot of you people 1) dont’ have kids so don’t know how hard it is, or, 2) are jealous/bitter people. She’s very honest and frankly she tells it how it is. She obviously loves her children, but she’s just saying how hard it can be because it IS hard work. But it’s work that any mother relishes doing.

Hea on

It’s OK for her not to like her melasma. That doesn’t make her a vain person.

stacey on

Very well said Emily!

Rebecca on

I think she sounds like a wonderful mom and wife and co-worker! She looks fabulous for a woman with no kids! I can’t believe she’s had FOUR! The posters on this website should leave the judging to god.

Lisa on

Children are taught manners, saying “please”, “thank you”, etc–it isn’t bestowed by the manners fairy. If you don’t each your child manners, don’t complain when they don’t show any.

Jeanne on

At least she’s honest and not prancing around saying her kids are perfect. I have children the same ages, they don’t realize what all us parents do, I know that when mine are out of the house, the behave well and have good manors and I’m grateful for that. They’ll learn to thank us for the little things when we get older.

I think she always shows her body to say hey I have 4 kids and I stay in shape, how about you? But as someone previously said she should be careful what she writes, because the older 2 can easily find it.

Cami on

I love that she is down to earth and seems to have “normal” challenges like the rest of us! It makes me sad to see people telling her to “teach her children manners, if they don’t show appreciation.” I’m sure she works hard at it, but kids are kids and sometimes the perfect things don’t come out of their mouths! Gee whiz.

Blake on

everything she does if money/job/self promotion related. she’s talking about melasma because she’s trying to get a skincare or makeup deal that somehow ‘claims’ to help..believe me..that’s why she’s talking about melasma.

raja on

and how much time would she have for them if she had six kids, or eight? She has four, and she chose to have four, and shame on her. Too damned many. Period. Both sets too close together, too.

she’s just so darned icky.

As for the poster who says a name is with you forever, no it isn’t. A name is easy to change. Many many people change their names.

Jane on

Duh, what an idiot! If her kids don’t know to say “thank you” (as MINE alwyas do) she didn’t teach them to do so, that is HER fault, kids learn by example, maybe she herself needs to learn to say it, plus her fault again her kids are in her bed, ours were taught they have their own bed and should be glad they do, she is NOT raising her kids very well or she would not have these problems with them, her fault, plus WHY four kids? Again FOUR, that’s her fault again, what did she think four kids were going to be like? I hate parents who have kids and then complain about them, shut the heck up, what did they think it was going to be like?! Hope to god she got her tubes tied, she can’t raise what’s she got, she needs no more! Bet the fool ends up pregnant again! She obviously has very bad parenting skils and doing it with four, haha I don’t feel sorry for her she caused it!

Courtney on

I like how it’s an article where a journalist asks someone a very specific and focused question and there are some people who read it as complaining or whining. Get over yourselves and take it for what it is…a commentary about someone’s own experience with a blended family.

nosoupforyou on


Some people like to give their children names from their cultural/ethnic heritage. Both Brooke and David are Jewish, thus they chose the name Shaya for their son. Widen your world a little bit.

Anonymous on

m- She has three daughters and one son. The intial wording DID make it sound like she had four daughters, though (I just re-read the article and it looks like PEOPLE has since changed the wording a bit so it’s not so confusing!), so I don’t blame you for wondering a bit! 🙂

Anonymous on

About the whole manners issue…one of Brooke’s kids is a preteen, one will be a preteen soon, and two are preschoolers. Both of those age groups are known for not having the best manners, no matter how well you raise them! So I don’t think it’s neccesarily a matter of Brooke not teaching her kids manners.

Also, why does the responsibility for doing so always fall on the mother’s shoulders? Brooke’s children have fathers, too….but no one is saying they (the fathers) should be teaching the children manners!

Cat on

Would she like a little cheese with that wine???? She complains about lack of sleep and taking care of HER children. The ordinary mom (alot are single mothers) work a 80 hour week, take care of cleaning the house, laundry, meals, shopping, AND the kids. That is what is called being a “mother”. You do it all without complaining!

Cass on

I love Brooke 🙂 I think she is beautiful and her kids are gorgeous but as if that photo is ‘all natural’. Yes, she has an amazing body but I don’t think that after having 4 babies she would have NO stretchmarks, especially because she is so skinny, you would think she would have stretchmarks. If it isn’t photoshopped then she is one lucky woman not having stretchmarks. I’ve had 4 kids too, and I wish my stomach looked like that!!

Shalay on

I love Brooke’s honesty and candidness.

For those saying she’s “always complaining”, I follow her on Twitter and I don’t get that impression at all. She’s like any other working mom, mainly talking about her busy days rushing her kids from activity to activity. She often takes the time to talk about what a great day she’s having with her family.

Are people never supposed to talk about being tired or facing challenges as a parent? That’s ridiculous. She can’t win with some of you.

Oh, and she’s showing her body because it’s FITNESS magazine. It’s marketed toward people who want to know how they can get abs like hers. It’s not sexual at all.

Karen on

If I had her body, I’d be showing it off too! She looks great for her age, for having 4 kids…go for it!!

Julie on

I appreciate Brooke for her honesty! She looks great as well.

Karen on

Rebecca- You obviously are not a parent or live in a fantasy land.

edie day on

What a Negative-Nancy. She just complained throughout the entire article.

Stormy on

I understand her need for sleep , I am a mom too . I do NOT ever get
a break . I do not have the lex. of going to hotels just to sleep .
(Would be REALLY nice though )

I agree if her kids are disrespectful she needs to spend a little
more time with them and less time toning her abs . I think she looks
just fine the way she is . I would kill her that “Perfect” body !

However I question her blended family .I always think of blended
families as having Bonus Children/stepchildren . All 4 kids are
hers by her ex husband and her current husband . Which makes all 4
kids full and half siblings . I do not know but it is just the way
I see blended families !

Aly on

YAY, BURKE! Finally a celebrity who is brave enough to be honest! Thank you so much for sharing, Brooke, because it makes me realize that we mothers are not alone in all the craziness & sleep deprivation we have to deal with!! Big hug to you and wishing you the best!

v lopez on

Brooke is a breath of fresh air and DWTS is lucky to have her as co-host. Lots of class, down to earth, and knows how to treat people with regard. All the best to you Brooke. VL

Phil on

Seems to me, and I could be wrong here, but I’ll bet these whiners are jealous of Brooke… What is it girls? Are you all “porkers” simply jealous of this beautiful woman that looks as good as she does with four kids nonetheless!!!!!

Jenna on

Love Brooke! My melasma is going away after taking several emergen-c msm packets a day, along with about 5000g more msm with it…it works! I’ve had mine for 15 years, and this faded it a LOT within just a few weeks…I started taking it after someone told it it erased theirs.

Also – on the kids fighting front…I healed that too! I use a combo of advice from ‘the power of appreciation’ – can’t remember author – and anything abraham-hicks related. Say what you want, but get your kids appreciating every tiny thing they can find (and you too!!) and it’s crazy how everything starts working in your life…and theirs! Some bonuses we got by starting to use appreciation all day every day – no more money issues, gorgeous house on the water we never thought we could have, and actually it was after doing this for a while that someone walked up to me and told me about msm for melasma…so I can credit that healing to appreciation, too!

Nancy on

Wow, the haters on this board who WISh they had a body like hers. I am inspired as I am the same age as her and wondering if any amount of working out will produce results. I know now that 40 year olds can look hot!!

Some of you mothers on her spend just as much time online or watching tv or texting as Brooke does working out. Every mom needs an outlet and Brooke’s is healthy and probably helps her mentally as well.

Her talent is being beautiful

Melissa on

who is david charvet?

Nancy on

David’s biggest claim to fame is that he dated Pamela Anderson for several years and was on Baywatch.

Rebecca on

Karen wake up & smell the roses from your dreamland.

Amy on

Not photoshopped? The idea that this photograph isn’t photoshopped is laughable.

Mena on

If I had a body like hers I would be showing it off too. Just because you become a mother, doesn’t mean you cant show off a hot body if you have one.

look on

She shows off her body and her complaints.

Anonymous on

So famous people aren’t allowed to gush about their kids (people love to bash celebrity moms for that, too!) OR admit that parenthood isn’t always a walk in the park? Let’s say I’m really glad I’m not a celebrity!

mo on

know her from school, very nice and even w/o makeup, beautiful.

lynn on

I read this whole article in the magazine and this woman bugs me. First, yes she has a great body, but all she talked about is how long she works out and how many work projects she has. I’m all for women having it all, but I don’t see why it has to be all at once which takes her away from her kids so much. Same if the dad were doing it. She can pick/choose her schedule to accomodate the kids more IMO. How much money do you need? The kids are only young once. I saw her on daytime show once and they had chef on cooking-she did not want to try the food that was made.One bite would not have put 10 pounds on her. She was acting very funny about eating-probably because she eats very little and is too into her looks.

lynn on

Maybe is she stayed off twitter and blogs she would have more time for her kids and sleep.

Carole on

Geez Louise, what’s wrong with simple, elegant, traditional names anymore? Yea yeah yeah, I know, you can name your children whatever you wish but my goodness, think of them in the future.

She can nickname all her kids “UHH.” Sierr-UHH Sky. Shay-UHH. Neri-UHH. Oh and Neri-UHH gets to explain that her middle name of SHAE isn’t the same as Shay-UHH. Oh no, nothing similar there. And then throw a little Heaven Rain for good measure. Heaven is going to deal with all sorts of teasing, nicknames, double entendres and more.

Parents can be so inconsiderate to the future adult.

Mary Baumgartner on

And……who is your plastic surgeon? Get real!