12:29 PM EDT 03/19/2015
Originally posted 12/17/2011 12:00PM
He nabbed a mirror ball trophy on Dancing With the Stars last month, but the biggest and best prize is yet to come – J.R. Martinez tells PEOPLE exclusively that he and girlfriend Diana Gonzalez-Jones are expecting their first child in May.
"We found out just last week it's a girl and we are over the moon," Martinez, 28, says.
"Diana has a little baby bump now and it's the cutest thing ever. With the holidays coming up, this is the biggest and best gift we could get."
The Iraq war vet and Gonzalez-Jones met when he landed a role on All My Children in 2008.
Originally posted 12/03/2011 03:30PM
Just because he won ABC's Dancing with the Stars two weeks ago doesn't mean injured Iraq war veteran J.R. Martinez can't put on his dancing shoes to help other disabled vets.
Martinez, 28, was guest of honor at Lois Pope's the Lady in Red Ball at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club Friday night in Palm Beach, where he was presented with the Unsung Hero Award for "overcoming devastating injuries to make a full life for himself and in so doing bring the plight of America's three million living disabled veterans into our country's consciousness."
Originally posted 11/27/2011 11:20AM
Dancing with the Stars winner J.R. Martinez has fans in high places.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta wrote a letter to the Iraq war veteran and called him up to offer his congratulations for winning the mirror-ball trophy in last week's finale, according to the Department of Defense.
In his letter, Panetta praised the former Army infantryman, who suffered severe burns when his vehicle hit a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq in 2003.
"Over the course of this competition, your spirit captivated the nation and your victory sends a powerful message about the strength and resilience of our wounded warriors," he said.
Originally posted 11/23/2011 09:00AM
Now that the competition is over, it looks like J.R. Martinez will be spending plenty of quality time with ... his mirror-ball trophy.
"I want to sleep with this thing," the Dancing with the Stars champ, 28, alongside partner Karina Smirnoff, told PEOPLE after claiming victory over Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke Tuesday night. "I want to kiss it. I want to polish it. I want to do everything."
For the war hero-turned-ballroom-big shot, the win with Smirnoff was the cherry on top of a season filled with "a lot of magical moments together on this show that'll we'll cherish and we'll carry with us the rest of our lives."
Originally posted 11/22/2011 11:10PM
After a topsy-turvy season of sore ankles and even sorer losers, Dancing with the Stars ended Tuesday night by pitting an unlikely frontrunner against a heroic survivor.
After Ricki Lake, 43, was eliminated earlier in the show, Rob Kardashian, 24, the reality TV brother often overshadowed by his famous – and infamous – older sisters, went against J.R. Martinez, 28, the soldier-turned-actor whose triumph over severe burns received in Iraq brought raw emotion to the ballroom.
For their final dance, a samba which both couples had to choreograph on the fly, each earned perfect scores, leaving Kardashian with a one point lead after two nights of competition. But the judges' scores make up only half the final results. Once the viewers' votes were tabulated, the winner was determined. Keep reading to find out who won:
Originally posted 11/22/2011 10:10PM
After a competitive finale on Dancing with the Stars, ultimately only two couples were left to battle it out for the mirror-ball trophy on Tuesday night.
First, though, the three finalists – Ricki Lake, J.R. Martinez and Rob Kardashian – performed their favorite dances from season 13 one more time for the judges. Once the new scores were combined with the previous night's point totals, Lake emerged as the leader, followed closely by Kardashian and Martinez.
In the end, though, the audience's votes were also a factor in determining which two couples would compete for the trophy. Continue reading to find out who was eliminated in the first hour of Tuesday's show:
Originally posted 11/22/2011 11:20AM
Aside from a mutual longing for the coveted mirror ball trophy, Dancing with the Stars finalists Rob Kardashian, J.R. Martinez and Ricki Lake can agree on one other thing: the competition has changed them for the better.
"It's inspiring, I think, for women out there to see I'm a regular person. I am the every woman who's struggled with my weight," Lake, partnered with pro Derek Hough, told PEOPLE after Monday night's show, which was filled with rock star performances from the final three. "I've dealt with hardships my whole life, but look what I've been able to do. Hard work can pay off."
It's a sentiment mirrored by Cheryl Burke's partner, Kardashian. "I have a very, very tough time getting up there in front of so many people," he says. "I got so much more confident as the season kept going and going and going."
Originally posted 11/21/2011 09:30PM
He's the Kardashian the competition is having trouble keeping up with.
Rob Kardashian saved his best moves for last on Dancing with the Stars, getting a perfect 30-point score at Monday night's finals and emerging as the unlikely frontrunner going into an anything-goes decision show Tuesday.
With sister Kim Kardashian cheering him on in the ballroom, Rob first delivered a classy waltz for 27 points, then electrified the audience with a daring freestyle that had him lifting and twirling partner Cheryl Burke above his head.
Originally posted 11/21/2011 05:00PM
Week after week, waltz after waltz, they've vied for the mirror ball trophy on Dancing with the Stars.
But now that the competition is down to the final three couples – Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke, J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff and Ricki Lake and Derek Hough – ballroom results are just a quickstep away.
Last week's show, which saw the departure of Hope Solo and her partner Maksim Chmerkovksiy, was a night of a highs and lows.
Originally posted 11/15/2011 10:15PM
After performing three dances each the night before, one of Dancing's four semi-finalists was booted from the competition on Tuesday, a week shy of the show's season finale.
Ricki Lake and Rob Kardashian were awarded by the judges for their nearly flawless routines on Monday. Meanwhile, an injured J.R. Martinez experienced his worst week yet but still scored higher than Hope Solo.
Now that the votes are in, keep reading to find out who will compete in next week's finale – and who kissed the ballroom goodbye:
Top 5 Most Voted Stories
KUWTK: Kanye West Lashes Out at Kim Kardashian's Trainer for Saying She Can't Lose 15 Lbs.
Alexis Shapiro, Girl Who Suffered from Uncontrollable Hunger, Has Made Strides Since Bariatric Surgery
Jason Aldean Talks Baby Plans with New Wife Brittany Kerr
Leah Remini Thanks HBO Scientology Filmmakers for Helping 'Those Who Didn't Have a Voice'
2 Kids Found Dead in Detroit Freezer Died from 'Blunt Trauma'
Top 10 News Categories
The most buzzed about stars this minute!
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
More On PEOPLE.com
Got a News Tip?
Send it to our People.com editors!