OK! Interview: Marissa Jaret Winokur & Tony Dovolani


May 9 2008, Published 7:00 a.m. ET

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Dancing With the StarsMarissa Jaret Winokur and Tony Dovolani are sharing a lot more than the dance floor! The partners are both expecting children around the same time as well. Tony expects twins to join him, his wife Trendelina, and daughter Luana, 2, while Marissa, a cervical cancer survivor, and her husband, Judah Hill, will welcome a boy via surrogate. The always excited and chirpy duo sat down with OK! for a healthy meal to discuss impending parenthood, maintaining a good diet and why they don’t expect to bring home the Mirrorball trophy.

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How are you two getting along?

Marissa: We get along great! He’s easy going, but as a teacher, he’s much more strict. If he would goof around as much as I goof around, we’d never get anything done.

Tony: We're having a good time. What I'm enjoying most about Marissa is her outlook on life. She lives everything to the fullest and there’s no point waiting ‘til tomorrow — do it now because tomorrow may never come. In her case, she was tested in having the cancer and so on, so she has this love for life and you can’t help but be contagious to it. You want to live like her because she enjoys everything to the fullest.

Marissa, did you have any qualms about doing the show?

Marissa: No. I’ve told everybody — I went in and banged on their door and begged them to let me do it. It’s more than I expected — I loved it more than I thought I was going to.

Do you think you have a shot of winning this?

Marissa: Not a shot in hell! I think the joke backstage is we’re all fighting for third and fourth. We’re not even fighting for first and second anymore. Kristi Yamaguchi and Jason Taylor are going to be fighting for one.

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Tony: Nobody enters a competition without wanting to win it but at the same time, we’ve realized we’re having so much fun that it doesn’t matter how far we get. We’re just going to cherish the moments we spend together, the moments we learn how to dance.

What's a typical day's diet like now?

Marissa: Egg whites for breakfast with low-fat cheese and toast. A grilled-chicken salad with goat cheese for lunch and a salad for dinner. I have apples in my bag. When we're tired, Tony says, "Go eat your apple."

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Tony: Breakfast is egg whites, turkey bacon, whole-grain toast and a fruit plate. Lunch is salad with chicken and goat cheese. For dinner, my favorite dish is filet mignon with broccoli.

What types of food did you grow up eating?

Marissa: I only ate healthy food because my parents were healthy eaters. I remember going to my friends’ houses and they would have normal pizza and sandwiches and my family was always — on Thanksgiving, they were like, "We’re going to have a New Mexican-themed Thanksgiving dinner!" And I’m like, "But Thanksgiving is a theme. Can’t we just have normal food on Thanksgiving?"

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Tony: I'm from Kosovo. Food is very important where I come from. We did a lot of tomato salads for the summer. We used to do a lot of salads, a lot of fruit plates. For a summer stew, we’d take all the different vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, onions and cook them in these spices that are really good — a lot of garlic. You cook it boiling to a point where everything soaks in together and then you let it cool down and you eat it with a salad at the same time with a little bit of feta cheese, which is natural where I come from.

tony dovolani
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Do you like to cook?

Marissa: Yeah, I bet I can cook better than Tony! I like cooking salmon; I love baking. Salmon, asparagus and I’m always on the barbeque for the entire year. We have the barbeque going with chicken, grilled vegetables on the barbeque. I pretty much just cook on the barbeque as much as I can. I pretty much never cook inside, actually. I never care about my kitchen.

Tony: My favorite dish to cook for dinner is marinated steaks. I take different sauces and I marinate the steak. It takes three hours to marinate because I punch holes in the steaks with the fork and I take a honey-glazed barbeque sauce and I mix it with all my peppers — I have all these spices I’ve collected over the years. I love cooking with scallion onions and I mix that in. It’s a sweet and sour type of thing. When you mix it and let it marinate. And then you barbeque it. That’s the best.

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You're both expecting children around the same time.

Tony: Very close, actually. Marissa’s due in July and we’re due in the beginning of September because with twins it’s unpredictable. It’s quite exciting.

What was it like learning you were having twins?

Tony: We were planning on being pregnant, but we didn’t plan on twins! We didn’t have any help. I guess in her family, a couple of generations removed had twins so it kind of runs in her family. I’m ecstatic about it because I just love being blessed with twins. We’re extremely happy parents and my daughter can’t wait to see the babies. He’s already pointing to her stomach.

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What kind of preparations are you making for the twins?

Tony: Anybody has any suggestions, by all means, contact me! As a dad, all you can do is be there for your wife and hopefully I can be a great dad.

Do you have enough room in your house?

Tony: Actually, I immediately panicked and wanted to upgrade my house! But my wife quickly calmed me down and said we have plenty of room. We have a very nice three-bedroom house in Connecticut. That’s the ideal house. For me, it’s the white picket fence and the two-story house and two-car garage. It’s perfect. I live very modestly.

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How are you preparing for your son, Marissa?

Marissa: I've been planning a nursery, but now I don't have that much time on my hands to work on it. I’m like, "I’ll do it when I’m done with the show." We have a lot of house work happening. We didn’t have a kitchen. Now that we’re having a baby, all the construction is getting done, finally. Give a man a baby and he’ll get the house cleaned up! And we're naming him Zev, which means wolf in Hebrew.

How is the surrogate-mother situation going?

Marissa: She’s the most remarkable woman in the world. She’s become one of my dearest friends and will be my child’s godmother. We’re super close and I honestly couldn’t feel more pregnant. I feel like I’m the husband waiting for my baby to come. I’m with her that much so we’re very close. She’s changed my faith in the human race because she’s a good person.


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