Tony Dovolani
Monica Rizzo
April 17, 2009 11:40 AM

Although he’s making a strong bid for the mirror-ball trophy with his season-eight partner Melissa Rycroft, veteran Dancing with the Stars pro Tony Dovolani says the prize he’s most focused on is his family.

“I find myself crying at a commercial if it’s got kids in it,” says Dovolani, whose wife Lina, daughter Luana, 3, and newborn twins Adrian and Ariana, live in Connecticut while he films DWTS in California. “I’ll watch a movie that has to do with children and I find myself tearing up. I’m a family guy and every season I’ve had my whole family out here and this is the first time where the entire season I don’t have my family out here.”

With children too young to travel often, Dovolani’s wife Lina keeps Tony up-to-date on the twins by sending him videos so he can watch them grow. “She’s my hero,” he gushes to PEOPLE.

Like Mother, Like Daughter

As for the twins, they are now 7 months old, a whopping 28 inches in length, and they sleep through the night for “12 to 13 hours” as they also develop personalities of their own, Dovolani says.

“My boy, we keep calling him a boxer because he’s got these big hands and he just makes fists,” Dovolani says. “He’s very active. The girl takes completely after Lina, the way she looks and the attitude she has.”

Dovolani says Lina and Luana do try to visit every three weeks “so I can get that loneliness out of my system.” During those visits, Luana will tell her dad how she’s helping Mom take care of the babies while he’s dancing. “She does not have ounce of jealousy in her [about the twins],” he adds.

Luana “is very attentive, especially when they cry or need something,” Dovolani says. “She handles things as if she’s the mom. When they notice her, they smile right away. It’s amazing to see at such a young age that they are developing the brother-sister thing. She is a little helper to Lina, too. She brings her the diapers, the wet-naps, when she needs them. When you see a three-and-a-half-year-old doing things like that, then we adults, we have no excuse whatsoever.”

Although he readily helps out as much as he can while he is at home, Dovolani refers to an old adage to describe his family. “You know they say behind every great man there is a greater woman?” he asks. “In my case that is completely true, because my wife makes me who I am today. The way she handles the home front, that’s the only way I can be out here to do what I do. If I didn’t have her I don’t know that I could have done what I’ve done so far.”

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