updated 04/11/2012 AT 10:15 AM ET
•originally published 04/11/2012 AT 8:00 AM ET
Six-pack abs? Yawn.
Dancing with the Stars’ breakout heartthrob, William Levy, boasts what his partner Cheryl Burke calls “12-pack abs.” And his fans have definitely noticed.
“I have never heard it that loud in there,” Burke says of the deafening roar that fills the ballroom when Levy takes the floor. “He’s like a rock star!”
But while he’s turning millions of heads each week on the ABC hit, Levy, 31, is also marveling at how far he’s come.
“To come to this country and receive this kind of love from people you don t even know, it’s amazing,” he tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story.
The Telenova star and father of two – to son Christopher, 6, and daughter Kailey, 2, with on-and-off girlfriend Elizabeth Gutiérrez – also opens up about his early lean years in Cuba before emigrating to the U.S. at 15.
“I try to give my kids everything I never had,” he says.
For the full story on William Levy, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday