Baby on the way for J.J. Barea and beauty queen girlfriend

J.J. Barea

Credit: WFAA

J.J. Barea smiles as he talks about his girlfriend Zuleyka Rivera in an interview with WFAA's Cynthia Izaguirre.

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WFAA

Posted on July 21, 2011 at 1:14 AM

Updated Thursday, Jul 21 at 8:46 AM

Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea issued a news release Wednesday confirming that he will soon be a father.

Barea, 27, said that his girlfriend, former Miss Universe Zuleyka Rivera, is pregnant with their child.

"Zuleyka and I are very happy and at peace with this event," Barea said in a statement translated from the original Spanish. "We are grateful to all of you, the show of support and love that we have received and we request that you let us enjoy it in private and with the nucleus of our family."

In a news release from Rivera's agent published on the Puerto Rican Web site PrimeraHora.com, she said while the pregnancy "took her by surprise" that she feels "very lucky."

Rivera, 23, said she has halted her acting work in a leading role on a Spanish language soap opera to "prioritize motherhood."

"Both J.J. and I are happy to start a family together, and I know God will reward us with a healthy baby and many more opportunities for both," she was quoted as saying, adding that the couple has no plans to marry.

WFAA reporter Monika Diaz contributed to this report.

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