Jaleel White says he's lost at least 10 pounds while rehearsing for his upcoming run on "Dancing With The Stars."
The 34-year-old actor, who is best known for his role as nerdy Steve Urkel in the 1990s series "Family Matters," has usually appeared slim. Contestants typically shed weight while dancing in the highly-competitive ABC show, which begins its 14th season on Monday, March 19 at 8 p.m. ET. Rehearsals began soon before the new celebrity cast was announced on February 28.
"We dance for four to five hours a day," White said. "I know I've lost 10 to 12 pounds already in the past two weeks. I'm just blown away. I didn't even know I could lose weight like this. I'm not even fitting in my pants."
"It's time for a shopping spree," joked fellow contestant Maria Menounos.
White's partner is Kym Johnson, an Australian professional dancer who won season 12 of the series with NFL star Hines Ward. Menounos' partner is Derek Hough. He won three "Dancing With The Stars" Mirror Ball trophies, which he earned with Jennifer Grey, Nicole Scherzinger and show co-host Brooke Burke.
Johnson told OnTheRedCarpet.com last month that White "is a natural" dancer. The actor said he helped hone his skills by "dancing in church basements" and "working in television for many years," adding: "You get asked to pick up a step here and there for an episode of something and you just roll with it."
His main character on "Family Matters" had his own dance called "The Urkel, which involved pelvic thrusting and snorting. White also showed off more suave moves as his character's heartthrob alter ego, Stefan.
Warning: Spoiler alert!
White and Johnson are performing the Foxtrot on Monday's premiere, as are contestants Gavin DeGraw, Jack Wagner, Sherri Shepherd, Martina Navratilova and Katherine Jenkins, a Welsh singer who has often performed for British troops serving in Afghanistan.
The other contestants are performing the Cha Cha. They include Roshon Fegan, NFL star Donald Driver, singer Gladys Knight, William Levy, "Little House on the Prairie" star Melissa Gilbert and Menounos.
Menounos dished about her own past dancing experience, saying: "Growing up Greek, you're always Greek dancing but it's line dancing and I was kind of not that great at it anyway to begin with. My mom would kind of get mad at me 'cause I never paid attention very much."
She also said that she initially thought her fellow constants would be "super competitive" but learned that the atmosphere is more relaxed.
"We all kind of rehearse in the same place," she said. "I crashed Jaleee's rehearsal one day and we all started messing around, dancing and then we all did eight minute abs together. It's been fun. And then Mark Ballas and Katherine Jenkins came into town just the other day, so we're hanging out with them."
"She's gorgeous," White added, joking: "I heard she can drink everybody under the table, too."Check out a video of Jaleel White and Kym Johnson showing off their dance moves together behind the scenes as well as a video of Maria Menounos and Derek Hough doing the same.