Former Miss Universe Zuleyka Rivera confirmed via a communique that she is pregnant by Puerto Rican basketball player JJ Barea of the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks.

"All this took me by surprise, but I feel very lucky. I come from a very close family and I understand that a baby is a blessing," said the Puerto Rican model and actress, who was became Miss Universe in 2006.

Zuleyka, who had begun taping segments of the soap opera "Corazon Apasionado," has been forced to put her professional career on hold while she completes her pregnancy.

"I'm sorry to have had to leave this soap opera, since it was another opportunity for my growth as an actress and reaching my professional goals," she said.

"Both Jose Juan and I are happy to start a family together and I know that God will present us with a healthy baby and many more opportunities for both of us," she said in the communique.

Zuleyka thanked everyone for the love they have shown her and announced that, for the moment, she has no wedding plans.