J.R. Martinez danced his way to the top on “Dancing with the Stars” Season 13, claiming the coveted mirrorball trophy alongside professional partner Karina Smirnoff. Now, the Iraq war vet is about to receive an even more precious prize — a baby!
The 28-year-old actor and girlfriend Diana Gonzalez-Jones are expecting their first child come spring, according to People.
“We found out just last week it’s a girl and we are over the moon,” J.R. told the mag. “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.”
J.R., who won the hearts of millions of “DWTS” fans this year with his seemingly unending optimism and triumphant story (he survived an IED explosion in Iraq and subsequently underwent 33 surgeries), said the excitement of becoming a father “is sinking in,” but admitted he’s overwhelmed by the tremendous joy this year has brought to him and his family.
“2011 has been full of a lot of surprises and opportunities and ultimately, a lot of blessings,” he said. “Diana and I were just asking ourselves, ‘How is 2012 going to top 2011?’ Well, we have our answer!”
In addition to becoming a new daddy, the lovable veteran-turned-actor will serve as Grand Marshal of the 2012 Tournament of Roses Parade on January 2.
As previously reported on AccessHollywood.com, J.R. first met Diana when he joined the cast of “All My Children” in 2008, where she was working as the assistant to the soap’s executive producer.
“We were friends, and, you know, it was a workplace, so you don’t want to cross the line. I was respectful of that, and for about two years we were great friends,” J.R. told Access Hollywood Live’s Billy Bush and Kit Hoover during a visit to the show last month.
“Finally, something happened, something clicked, and I just said, ‘[Do] you ever look at me differently than just a friend?’” he continued, with a shy smile. “And she kind of paid attention to it, and here we are! It’s great.”
Though the relationship was slow to blossom, J.R. is glad he and Diana — who was frequently seen in the “Dancing” audience proudly supporting her man – built their romance on a time-tested foundation.
“I think we did it a great way — to have a friendship first, and then build on that,” he said.
A rep for J.R. was not immediately available for comment on the happy news when contacted by Access Hollywood on Saturday.