Fresh off his win on “Dancing with the Stars,” wounded warrior and soap opera star J.R. MARTINEZ is kicking off his shoes and picking up a pen – to write his memoir.
And he’s telling pals that he wants to play himself when his life story eventually hits the big screen!
The 28-year-old Iraq war veteran and actor actually began writing the book before the dancing competition began and he’s already in talks with publishers, say insiders.
The book will provide an intimate look at the war hero’s life, including:
• The tragedy that changed him forever
• The woman who looked past his scars and found his heart
• The secret behind his “DWTS” triumph.
“J.R. won over millions of fans with his ‘DWTS’ victory,” said a source.
“His autobiography is bound to become a best-seller and a movie about his life would be a guaranteed box-office hit.
“People can’t get enough of this real-life war hero!”
In his book, J.R. will share in excruciating detail the day in 2003, when the Humvee he was driving in Karpala, Iraq, hit a land mine, the source noted. Three other soldiers in the vehicle were ejected, but J.R., just 19 at the time, was trapped inside.
According to a source, “J.R. and a soldier riding shotgun had been joking just minutes before the blast about how cool it would be to get a Purple Heart – so they wouldn’t have to wait in line at restaurants.”
But J.R.’s laughter soon turned to screams as the vehicle was engulfed by smoke and fire.
“J.R. was convinced that he was going to die, the pain was so intense,” the source continued. “But as he was awaiting medical help, his dead sister Anabel, who passed away when he was a child, suddenly appeared to him.
“Her spirit ended up giving him the strength to stay alive.”
Still, it was no easy task. He suffered from smoke inhalation and severe burns to more than 40 percent of his body, including his face and hands.
Doctors kept him in a medically induced coma for nearly three weeks.
“When they finally unwrapped his bandages, the horrible sight of his face, neck and hands plunged him into a depression so deep he began to wonder if he would have been better off dying,” said the source.
And sadly, he believed he’dnever find love because of his scars.
But he was wrong. Two years ago, he fell for Diana Jones, a production assistant on the set of “All My Children” – and the feelings were mutual!
Diana says she doesn’t even see J.R.’s scars.
“I see a hot, sexy guy, that’s who I see,” she explained. “I see a great guy, and I see the man I love.”
And thanks to his positive spirit and never-say-die attitude, America has also fallen in love with the spunky vet, who miraculously overcame a sprained ankle to win “DWTS.”
“The same image of his dead sister, Anabel, who saved his life in Iraq appeared again to inspire him right before he went on stage during his last dance,” revealed the source.
“Now he’s so popular, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him running for public office in the near future!”