updated 05/23/2012 AT 11:45 AM ET
•originally published 05/23/2012 AT 2:05 PM ET
“I was determined to win, and not get voted off first,” Driver told PEOPLE shortly after he accomplished the first goal on Tuesday’s big finale.
Though Driver, 37, is thrilled about taking home the mirror-ball trophy, making his family proud makes success even sweeter.
“When you win these things, you want to win for your family,” Driver said of wife Betina, son Christian, 8, and daughters Christina, 6, and Charity, 8 months. “I wanted to let my kids know and my family know that you can follow your dreams. Whatever your dreams are, follow them, because it’s truly special.”
Driver’s son has apparently heard the message loud and clear. “We were so happy,” Christian told PEOPLE. “We were just jumping up and down, the same thing that happened in the Super Bowl. He went in there and he practiced for 10 weeks, and he went through a lot of stuff. He didn’t get that much sleep, and he had to get up early in the morning and rehearse every single day. So he really deserved it.”
The Super Bowl champion is also happy he could deliver for his dancing partner, Peta Murgatroyd, who just joined the show as a pro partner last season but was the first to go with Metta World Peace.
“She is now the champion, and I’m happy for her,” he tells PEOPLE. “Throughout this whole competition, I kept telling her, ‘You are an amazing dancer. You are an amazing dancer.’ And she’s taken me to the greatest heights.”
Added Driver: “We won this together, and I’m just glad that now she’s the champion.”