Mario Lopez says his and wife's baby on the way was "a bit of a Christmas miracle" after not being sure they would be able to have another child.

By Deirdre Durkan

Since Mario Lopez and his wife Courtney announced they’re expecting their third child on Friday, the television personality has been buzzing with excitement.

While the couple were trying for another baby last year, they started to accept the possibility they would stay a family of four if they didn’t conceive in 2018.

“If it didn’t happen, it wasn’t meant to be. Not part of God’s plan. We have one of each,” the Extra host, 45, tells PEOPLE exclusively of their mentality before finding out the happy news. “But it got in there! It snuck in, towards the end, so a bit of a Christmas miracle.”

As the family looks forward to their newest addition arriving in July, Lopez reveals the couple’s son Dominic “Nico” Luciano, 5, and daughter Gia Francesca, 8, have some strong opinions about their sibling-to-be.

“At first they were like, ‘Wait, what?’ They couldn’t understand. It took a second for it to register,” he jokes. “My daughter got very dramatic. She was like, ‘If I have another brother, I’m telling you right now, I’m moving to Texas!’ “

On the other hand, Nico is rooting for a boy, but the baby’s sex doesn’t make a difference to Lopez or his wife, who want to be surprised.

“We’ve waited for all the kids, [so] it’s going to be a surprise. We’re pretty old school, you know, it being the tie-breaker,” he explains. “It doesn’t matter, to be honest, as long as it’s healthy. We’re just very excited. The gender reveal will be when it’s born!”

Lopez teased that they broke the news earlier in Courtney’s pregnancy this time because his wife “didn’t want anyone thinking she was getting fat.”

Despite her fear, the star says, “I love when she is pregnant. I think she looks beautiful and wears pregnancy well. I love my wife while she’s pregnant, she looks great.”

The Saved by the Bell alum also credits the mother of two as being “the quarterback of the team” regarding their family and says they know the baby will have an Italian first name to honor her heritage.

To make Courtney feel extra special, he plans on “showering her with even more love and affection,” Lopez tells PEOPLE, adding, “I know she appreciates and loves it. She’s the quarterback of the team. You’ve got to protect the quarterback.”

And while Courtney hasn’t experienced any strange cravings or nausea thus far, this pregnancy has been very different for a special reason.

“The kids tend to her. They’re always kissing her belly. They’re very excited. It’s really neat to see how the kids react,” Lopez says of how Gia and Nico are stepping up to help their mom.

On Friday afternoon the couple shared they’re expecting in adorable Instagram posts. “Oh BABY!! Here we go again …



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