Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Athletes,Spouses Share Marriage Proposals

As a woman, I am wired to let out a big "awwww" for certain moments in life. A baby's wobbly first steps, a newly drafted NFL player hugging his mother and, of course, the story of someone's marriage proposal. Every proposal is special in its own way.

To honor this Valentine's Day's celebration of love and excess sugar, I decided to dig into the personal lives of some of my favorite athletes and learn just what happened the day they went from "unavailable" to "officially off the market."

Nicole and Greg Jennings

Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings first became smitten with his future bride, Nicole Lindsey, during an elementary school band performance. They were both participants -- she played the clarinet and he the cornet. The sixth-graders wound up being friends in high school and dated in college. Greg proposed in 2005.

Nicole Jennings on the proposal: "It happened on a Mother's Day and actually blindsided me. I didn't even think it would ever happen really, although everyone else knew about it. The weekend of the proposal, probably the Friday or Saturday, I was trying to get in with my hairdresser, but the spots were all filled and I had to make an appointment for the following week. Apparently Greg called my hairdresser and told them he was about to propose and he needed them to find me a spot. I didn't really know why he got me the appointment, but figured my hair must have looked really bad if he was trying to get it done for me.

"Then Sunday we went to church as usual. Afterward everyone came to the house and it was Mother's Day so I didn't really think anything of it. But a couple of the families from church came by, and looking back, a couple of people brought their video cameras. So it was time for dinner and everyone was giving their mom presents. Then Greg and his siblings played a video. They were on the video talking about how much they loved their mom, why she's so important and the things she has done for them. At the end Greg did his spiel, then segued into someone else who had done a lot for him and he kept saying 'she, she, she.' I was thinking he was still talking about his mother, but in reality he was talking about me. To end the video he said, 'That's why I want to know if SHE will be my wife.' And then he got down on his knee with a ring."

Andrea and Caron Butler

When Andrea Pink met current Clippers forward Caron Butler at college orientation at UConn, she was unimpressed. According to her, he was the "loud, typical jock type" she couldn't stand. After a failed attempt at a date their freshman year, she agreed to see a movie with him during their sophomore year. Coincidentally (or not), the movie was "Love and Basketball." Their relationship moved quickly from there.

Andrea Butler on the proposal: "All of this began around November of 2001. That next February, on Valentine's Day, we were going to see a movie. Caron claims we saw 'Collateral Damage.' I was so shocked by what happened that night I can never recall a single detail about that movie. "The proposal started at the concession stand. My grandmother had bought me this pearl ring because that is my birthstone, and I remember Caron asking if he could see it. So I took it off and gave it to him at and never took it back. So during the movie, I thought he randomly said 'Would you ever marry me?' At least that's how I interpreted it. But in reality he said, 'Would you marry me?' and slipped a ring on my finger. My first thought was 'This ring is too big,' thinking it was supposed to be my pearl ring. When I looked down, it was an engagement ring.

Summer Sanders and Erik Schlopy

Olympic gold medalist swimmer Summer Sanders met Olympic skier Erik Schlopy on Nov. 6, 2003. It was a blind date, a fundraiser for the U.S. ski team. The wife of Sanders' agent touted Schlopy as "as perfect for her," and he was. Sanders and Schlopy shared a magical night of laughter, great conversation and more laughter. She says she fell in love in 10 minutes.

Summer Sanders on the proposal: "I was laying in bed. It was 2005, the finals of the French Open. I was watching Nadal win, I believe, for the first time. Erik was making me breakfast in bed and I thought 'Oh, how nice is this?' I didn't notice until I looked back on it, but he was a little nervous. But I remember being so fixated on the French Open that I wasn't noticing his behavior so much. I don't think he even knew what to do. So he slides in a la 'Saturday Night Fever' with the ring in his hand and asks me to marry him. I started laughing so hard at first because his movements were just so funny. Then I jumped up and down and said yes."

Written by: Melissa jacobs

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