The former Dancing With the Stars pro recently reunited with the sister she never knew for the first time in nearly 30 years -- and opened up to ET's Keltie Knight about how the experience has changed her life forever.
As Cheryl tells ET, she and her half-sister, Ina, had met as kids, but drifted apart as they grew up hundreds of miles from each other in California. "There are pictures of us holding each other... but I don't remember any of it," Cheryl explains, noting that Ina first reached out a few years ago to tell her that their dad, Stephen, had been in an accident, but she didn't respond. "That was at the height of Dancing With the Stars, and so many people were like, 'Hey, I'm your uncle,' or 'I'm your cousin or aunt.' So you just never really know."
Cheryl's parents divorced when she was young, which she said caused "a lot of resentment." Stephen went on to have a family with Ina's mother, but Cheryl had trouble accepting "anybody else in my father's life except for me." It wasn't until their father died in March that she and Ina reconnected again.
"She actually reached out to me again and wanted to say that she is here for me if I needed anything, and it was a really sweet text message," Cheryl says. "And right away I responded."
After months of long phone calls and exchanging stories about their dad, they finally decided to meet up when Ina happened to be in Los Angeles. Cheryl was understandably nervous. "The night before, I didn't sleep," she says. "I think we were both in shock... I don't think we stopped taking selfies for, like, an hour. We were just comparing [our similarities]. She goes, 'Is my nose like yours?' It is crazy how much we look alike and how much we sound alike."
"It's been a crazy year. It has been such an emotional roller coaster from my father's passing unexpectedly, and still having so many unanswered questions," Cheryl continues. "It really helps that Ina and I have come together."
"I knew that what my dad wanted was to have us have a great relationship as sisters," she adds.
The two are now putting in plenty of bonding time, with Ina even attending Cheryl and Matthew Lawrence's engagement party. The actor proposed on Cheryl's birthday in May, with the same diamond that Cheryl’s late father gave to her mother.
"Kym Johnson and Robert Herjavec threw a beautiful engagement party for us," Cheryl gushes, before dishing on her wedding must-haves.
"We definitely want to do it this time next year, [a] summer wedding," she reveals, adding that her wedding gown won't be inspired by some of her past DWTS ensembles. "I don't want sequins. I don't want rhinestones. The only glitter is diamonds, and there are only so many diamonds you can put on your dress. It's like, 'Whoa, that's expensive.'"