American Idol widower Danny Gokey finds love again

Three years after his wife died during heart surgery, Danny Gokey has found love again. The Season Eight American Idol finalist has formally announced his engagement.

The holiday engagements just keep on rolling in.

Danny Gokey, the bespectacled crooner who nearly sang his way to victory on Season Eight of American Idol, has announced his engagement. The soulful country singer popped the question to model Leyicet Peralta over the holiday weekend.

Gokey made the announcement in a statement on the website for Sophia’s Heart, the children’s charity the vocalist launched in memory of his late wife.

Sophia Gokey loved children — though she never got to have her own. Inspired by that love, a bereaved Danny founded an organization to help kids in need.

“Danny’s passion and focus for the last three years has been his country music career and launching Sophia’s Heart Foundation,” reads a message on the site.

“He is thrilled to have found Leyicet who also shares his passion and desire to help children and families in need.”

Sophia died three years ago, during a routine heart surgery to repair a congenital heart defect. Her death came only three weeks before Danny’s successful Idol audition. Fans were enchanted by the Milwaukee native’s touching story of perseverance in the face of tragedy.

“When people look at me they find hope,” Gokey said in February 2009.

“Dreams put a new passion in your life to live again. I want to get that message out to people — that they can live again no matter how bad the tragedy. You can dream again and you can see those dreams fulfilled and I think right now, it seems like it’s being lived out in me and I hope they see that.”

In lieu of gifts, the future newlyweds have requested that fans make donations to the charity.

“We are thankful for so many of the blessings God has given us. It is our desire to see homeless children and families be kept together and lifted back on their feet through the help of Sophia’s Heart. We love and appreciate you all.”

Danny and Leyicet are already busy “planning a wedding for late January 2012.”

Photo credits: Nikki Nelson /


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