Here's something you don't know about Cameron Mathison:
The soap opera star was diagnosed with a degenerative hip condition (called Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease) at the age of 2. He spent six months in the hospital and the next three and a half years in steel-framed leg braces and crutches.
"I think I'm ready," said Mathison, who has played Ryan Lavery on ABC's All My Children since 1998. "I think I'm in decent shape. But my hips are very tight. And my hamstrings. Between the traveling and juggling two jobs, I know that this is really going to kick my rear end."
The actor will be spending three days every week in New York taping the soap (and rehearsing for Dancing), then flying back to L.A. to compete with his pro partner, Edyta Sliwinska.
Despite the tricky logistics, this is exactly the scenario the All My Children star was yearning for. Last season, he says, he wanted to dance in the worst way.
"But it was obvious that All My Children wouldn't be able to work around the schedule," he said, "so there was no serious offer. I know they talked to Susan Lucci from our show, too."
So, why the change?
"Because the offer came so early, AMC was completely on board and unbelievably accommodating. From their perspective, it's only going to help their show to see me dancing."
The soap opera world has already given Mathison a taste of the ballroom-dance world. Dancing with the Stars pro Louis Van Amstel was brought in to choreograph a wedding dance between Mathison and his soap wife, Melissa Egan, when they married on the show.
"We spent a couple of hours with Louis learning the rumba," he said. "I think I do have a bit of a natural way of dancing, but there are some things that just feel awkward."
We'll see soon enough. Dancing with the Stars premieres on Monday!