War Veteran J.R. Martinez Talks About His Road To “Dancing With The Stars” [AUDIO]

October 14, 2011 11:38 am

War veteran and actor J.R. Martinez and professional dancer Karina Smirnoff called into “On Air with Ryan Seacrest” on Friday to chat about this season of “Dancing With The Stars.”

J.R. and Karina have been wowing the crowd each week on “Dancing With The Stars.” However, one particular performance was especially touching. The theme of the night was “Most Memorable Year of My Life” and J.R. and Karina danced a Rumba to Tim McGraw‘s “If You’re Reading This.” The performance was a tribute to all the men and women serving their country who don’t make it back home. J.R. can relate to this, being a war veteran himself who came very close to death.

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He says, “There were a lot of dark days. A lot of anger, a lot of depression, a lot frustration, a lot of questioning, a lot of regret, but at the end of the day you just got to fight through. I made the choice early on in my recovery just to be positive.”

Though the injury left his face disfigured, this would not keep J.R. from dancing in front of millions every week on “Dancing With The Stars.” J.R. told us he looked at it as an opportunity.

“Not only a fun opportunity and a challenge, physically and mentally, but I looked at it as an opportunity for me, to reach so many people and to educate people on true beauty, to educate people on disfigurement, to educate people on our troops and their families and our service members. So, for me it was like a no brainer.” Telling Karina on day one, “There is a reason why I am this cute!”

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Karina was a little nervous when she found out she was going to be dancing with a war veteran, but says, “Then I met J.R. and when he walked in he was so cool and so positive. I literally run to the studio everyday, because he is my escape from the rest of the world when we are dong samba and salsa and all the rest of the dances.”

There is definitely chemistry on the dance floor between J.R. and Karina. J.R. says, “I just like to have fun and be positive, be silly and just go with it. The cool thing that Karina is the same way and I think it just comes across well.”

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Karina hasn’t won a mirror ball trophy yet, but stands a good chance of winning this season. However, she doesn’t like to get caught up in the competition aspect of it, because she says you miss out on all the fun memories.

She tells us, “We literally take one dance at a time, one day at a time. If there is a mirror ball trophy at the end of it, then it is going to be that much better and that much sweeter. If not, then it is all good because we are having a blast, but yes, I am planning to maybe break Derek’s [Hough] leg or something just in case!”

You can see J.R. and Karina on “Dancing With the Stars” on Monday night at 8/7c and Tuesday night at 9/8c on ABC.

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