SOAP SUPPORTERS MAKE J.R. MARTINEZ A 'DWTS' WINNER

Published on: November 23, 2011
Photography by: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images
SOAP SUPPORTERS MAKE J.R. MARTINEZ A 'DWTS' WINNER

Army veteran and former "All My Children" actor J.R. MARTINEZ is "Dancing With The Stars'" newest ballroom champion, alongside his partner, professional dancer KARINA SMIRNOFF.

"First and foremost, I want to thank everybody who voted for us for 10 weeks. Thank you America for believing in us," J.R. said as he accepted the mirrorball trophy.

The little-known contestant soared to stardom after an his own army of stars fought for him to land a spot on the hit show. “DWTS” alumni SUSAN LUCCI, AIDEN TURNER and CAMERON MATHISON all rallied behind their 28-year-old “All My Children” co-star and demanded producers snap up the war hero for the show’s 13th season, say sources.

“J.R.’s pals from the daytime drama lobbied hard to get him a shot on ‘DWTS,’” an insider told The ENQUIRER.

His fellow performers thought it could be a huge career booster for the soldier-turned-actor, who plays Brot Monroe on the ABC soap.

Deployed to Iraq as an infantryman, J.R. suffered severe burns on more than 40 percent of his body in 2003 when a Humvee he was driving hit a land mine. He endured numerous skin grafts and reconstructive surgeries over 2 1/2 years.

“Everyone loves J.R,” said the insider. “He’s a hero and holds a special place in their hearts.”