WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has invited soldier-turned-actor J.R. Martinez, winner of this season’s “Dancing with the Stars” competition, to meet him at the Pentagon.

During a 10-minute telephone call Friday, Panetta told the dance champion he demonstrated the strength and resilience of wounded veterans, Pentagon spokesman Capt. John Kirby said.

Martinez credited his military training for his performance on the ABC show, Kirby said. Martinez and professional partner Karina Smirnoff bested fellow finalists Rob Kardashian and Ricki Lake in the finale broadcast Tuesday.

Martinez, 28, was severely burned over more than 40 percent of his body when the Humvee he was driving for the Army in Iraq struck a land mine in 2003. After dozens of operations during a nearly three-year recovery, Martinez became a motivational speaker and in 2008 won a role on the now-retired ABC soap opera “All My Children.”

Details of Panetta’s meeting with Martinez are being worked out.

Hudson: Fiance’s invitation saved life

Though Jennifer Hudson has long refrained from talking in detail about the 2008 murders of her mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew, the Oscar winner finally revealed the simple twist of fate that literally saved her life.

Hudson says her fiance, pro wrestler David Otunga, suggested she visit him in Florida the weekend of the killings.

“That’s one of the things that saved my life, because I could have been home with my mom then,” Hudson told Ebony. Otunga “wanted me to come out to Florida with him instead of going to Chicago.”

While Hudson was in Florida, her 57-year-old mother, Darnell Donerson, and brother Jason Hudson were gunned down. Nephew Julian King was found dead the following Monday in the back of an SUV.

William Balfour, a love interest of Jennifer’s sister Julia, faces trial in the case, probably in February.

Yinz should check out ‘Pittsburgh’

“Pittsburgh Dad” celebrates and makes fun of the unique speech of the working-class city, where “yinz” means “you all,” “nebby” means “nosy” and “redd up” means “clean up.”

The series is available on YouTube. Creator and director Chris Preksta plans more than a dozen new episodes, starring his actor friend Curt Wootton as the dad.

Preksta is known for the SyFy channel series “The Mercury Men.” He’s filming “Pittsburgh Dad” on an iPhone.

The dad character tells his children not to be wasteful by leaving out half-empty cans of soda pop and promises they’ll be drinking “hose water” if the behavior continues.

Wootton says the character is modeled on his own father.

Chess champ to defend title

MOSCOW – Viswanathan Anand of India signed a contract Saturday to defend his world chess title in Moscow next year against Israeli Boris Gelfand.

The match is to be held May 10-31 in the Tretyakovsky State Gallery, a Russian art museum.

Gelfand, who was born in Belarus, won the right to challenge the Indian world champion after winning the 2011 Candidates Tournament.