Country singer Kellie Pickler, 26, will be trading her cowboy boots for dancing shoes. The former American Idol contestant has signed on to compete on ABC’s upcoming 16th season of Dancing with the Stars. Pickler’s castmates include country singer Wynonna Judd, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Lisa Vanderpump, 2012 Olympic gold-medal-winning gymnast Aly Raisman and soap star Ingo Rademacher. The show premieres March 18.
Former Saturday Night Live star Andy Samberg is getting married. The funnyman, 34, recently popped the question to singer-songwriter Joanna Newsom, 31, Samberg’s rep confirmed to People on Feb. 25. The couple have been together for five years.• Backstreet Boys singer Nick Carter (inset) has something sweet to croon about. The heartthrob, 33, proposed to his girlfriend of more than four years, Lauren Kitt, 29, a fitness expert and actress, on Feb. 20 in the Florida Keys. Carter presented her with a seven-carat diamond ring. “We both are just so happy in love right now and on cloud nine,” said Kitt.
Danica McKellar, who played Winnie Cooper on TV’s The Wonder Years from 1988 to 1993, is officially a single woman. On Feb. 21 a judge dissolved her marriage from husband composer Mike Verta, 40. McKellar, 38, filed for divorce in June 2012, citing irreconcilable differences. They had been married for three years and have a 2-year-old son, Draco.
Model Amber Rose and rapper Wiz Khalifa are first-time parents. Khalifa, 25, announced on Twitter on Feb. 21 that Rose, 29, delivered a baby boy named Sebastian Taylor Thomaz. “Everyone welcome this perfect young man into the world,” he wrote.
C. Everett Koop, the former U.S. Surgeon General who brought attention to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and passionately fought to end smoking in the U.S., passed away at his home in Hanover, N.H., on Feb. 25. He was 96. As Surgeon General from 1981 to 1989, Koop issued a 1986 report on AIDS that described the way the disease spread and how people could protect themselves. Koop also alerted the public on the dangers of secondhand smoke, which helped create today’s laws against smoking in public places. • Actor Lou Myers, best known for playing restaurant owner Mr. Gaines on the 1987-1993 sitcom A Different World, died Feb. 19 in West Virginia. He was 77.
PETERSON GOES TO PRISON
On Feb. 21 Will County Judge Edward Burmila sentenced former Bolingbrook, Ill., cop Drew Peterson, 59, to 38 years in prison for the 2004 murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio (below). Peterson did not go quietly. During a rambling 45-minute pre-sentencing speech, he screamed, “I didn’t kill Kathleen!” He also blamed the nearly four years he had spent in jail waiting for trial for his high blood pressure, high cholesterol and even cases of skin cancer. Prosecutors are still hoping to try him for the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy, who vanished in 2007.