After a couple months of kicking up her heels on prime-time TV, Broadway star Marissa Jaret Winokur took her final bow on Dancing with the Stars last night. But the mom-to-be tells OK! she couldn’t be happier to have finished fourth.
“I’m really okay,” a smiling Marissa, who was partnered with Tony Dovolani on the hit ABC show, said after being eliminated. “We made it to the final four — we really brought it. It’s not like we bombed. We nailed every dance since week three and I’ve grown and I’ve loved what we’ve done. I truly can’t believe we got as far as we did.”
And besides, how can Marissa get down on herself when she has so much to look forward to — like starting a family! In July, the actress will welcome her first child with husband, TV writer Judah Miller, via a surrogate mother. The star of the hit stage version of Hairspray, who battled cervical cancer, and Judah have already named the baby boy Zev.
“I’ve got to start painting my nursery and getting ready to be a mom,” she said. “It’s overwhelmingly exciting and I just can’t wait.” She’s most looking forward to “kissing my little baby’s hands!
“I’ve wanted a baby for as long as I can remember. It finally worked. It’s been a long journey to have this baby.”
Of her surrogate mother, Marissa confided, “She’s the most remarkable woman in the world. She’s become one of my dearest friends and will be my child’s godmother.”
Meanwhile, Marissa’s partner Tony also has babies on the brain — he and his wife Trendelina are expecting twins in September. “I’m flying home and getting a list that my wife has made of things to do,” Tony told OK! “I’ve been absent for a while, so now I have to go do everything that a husband is supposed to do, like paint the nursery and get the cribs together.”
If motherhood weren’t enough for Marissa, she’s also got to prepare for the debut of her own syndicated talk show, set for September 2009. “It’s going to be for women," she explains. "It’s not going to be a celebrity-driven show. I’m 35; I’ve been through crazy stuff and I’m hoping to help other women.”
And it’s just that outlook on life that Tony tells OK! that he most enjoyed about his DWTS partner: “She lives everything to the fullest and there’s no point waiting until tomorrow.”
Fellow competitor Cristian de la Fuente, who continued on to the DWTS finale with Jason Taylor and OK!’s own Kristi Yamaguchi, seconded that. The Chilean soap star says he’ll miss Marissa’s positive attitude most of all. “The other couples that left, they were all sad or angry, disappointed. She’s leaving today and she’s happy, she’s smiling.”
By Carole Glines