Danny Gokey, an "American Idol" finalist and country music singer, recently got engaged to girlfriend Leyicet Peralta, more than three years after his wife's death.
Gokey, a 31-year-old Wisconsin native, and Peralta, a 25-year-old model and reality star from Florida, plan to wed in late January of 2012, according to a message posted on the website of Sophia's Heart Foundation on December 25.
The charity helps raise funds for impoverished children and adults and was launched to honor the memory of the singer's first wife Sophia, who died after undergoing heart surgery in 2008, a month before what would have been her 28th birthday. They had been married since 2004.
"Danny's passion and focus for the last three years has been his country music career and launching Sophia's Heart Foundation," the message on the group's website said. "He is thrilled to have found Leyicet who also shares his passion and desire to help children and families in need. Accordingly, Danny & Leyicet have requested to their wedding guests that all gifts be in the form of a donation to Sophia's Heart."
Gokey told Fox News in a television interview that it was his fiance's idea to request donations instead of gifts, adding: "It was the most beautiful thing - she came up to me after we got engaged and she took me aside and said, 'Listen, I don't want any gifts for our wedding.' I said, 'Really?'"
"No one can go back and start a new beginning," Gokey Tweeted on Tuesday, December 27. "But anyone can start today and make a new ending."
Gokey had auditioned for "American Idol" weeks before his wife's death. He placed third during season 8, which aired in 2009. Glam rocker Adam Lambert came in second and Kris Allen won the singing competition series. Gokey released his debut album, "My Best Days" in 2010.
Gokey kept busy in 2011 as well. He toured with Taylor Swift and released the single "Second Hand Heart."
Several weeks ago, Match Eyewear announced it had signed a deal with Gokey to launch a prescription eyewear collection, which it says highlights his "personal flair," in March 2012.