Leap Day: Eight female celebrities who proposed to their partners

Kristen Bell tweeted her marriage proposal to Dax Shepard in celebration of equal marriage rights

Sabrina Barr
Saturday 29 February 2020 17:41 GMT
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While in some respects, modern society has progressed in terms of gender stereotypes, in others it remains steeped in age-old convention.

In mixed-sex couples, for example, it remains far more common for the man to propose to his female partner, rather than the other way around.

On 29 February, otherwise known as Leap Day, tradition dictates that women in mixed-sex couples are “allowed” ask their male partners for their hands in marriage.

As several women who have proposed to their partners can attest to, women should feel empowered to propose at any time of year if they wish to, rather than solely on an occasion that takes place on a four-yearly basis.

From Kristen Bell to Judge Judy, here are eight female celebrities who asked for their male partners’ hands in marriage:

Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard

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In 2013, Kristen Bell popped the question to her partner, fellow actor Dax Shepard, on Twitter.

Bell’s proposal came following the US Supreme Court’s ruling that the country’s federal ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, thus striking down the Defence of Marriage Act signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996.

The couple initially became engaged in 2009, having started dating two years previously.

However, they held off from marrying because they did not felt feel comfortable being afforded a right not permitted to others.

“The reason we’re not rushing to get married is because I don’t feel appropriate taking advantage of a right that’s denied to my best friends. That’s why we’ve been so hesitant,” Bell told Advocate in 2012.

On 26 June 2013, the Frozen star tweeted: “.@daxshepard1 will you marry me? Xo #marriageequality #loveislove,” to which Shepard responded: “F*** yes!!!!!!!!!!!”

The couple wed four months later at the Beverly Hills County Clerk’s Office and have two daughters together.

Britney Spears and Kevin Federline

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In 2004, Britney Spears married rapper and professional wrestler Kevin Federline, with whom she shares two sons.

That year, the singer recalled to People how she proposed to the former backup dancer, explaining that she asked him to marry her while on a flight from Ireland to New York.

“All of a sudden I said, ‘What if you want to get married?’ And I kind of went from there to asking him if he would marry me. I asked him.”

Federline initially said no, as he was “taken by surprise” by Spears’ proposal. “I thought the guy was supposed to ask the girl,” he said, stating that he then proposed Spears a couple of minutes later.

Spears and Federline divorced in 2007, going on to enter a custody dispute regarding their children.

Pink and Carey Hart

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Pink and former professional freestyle motocross competitor and current off-road truck racer Carey Hart first got together after meeting in 2001.

After briefly separating in 2003, by 2005 the couple were back on track when Pink popped the question at a Mammoth Lakes motocross race.

While pretending to provide assistance during the race, the singer wrote: “Will You Marry Me? I’m serious!” on a motorcycle pit board.

Hart reportedly didn’t notice the sign at first, doing another lap before spotting the proposal, coming off the track and accepting.

The couple married in Costa Rica in 2006. They separated again 2008, before announcing they had reconciled in 2010. They have two children together.

Diane von Furstenberg and Barry Diller

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Having previously been married to Prince Egon von Furstenberg, in 2001 fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg married American businessman Barry Diller.

During an interview with Oprah Winfrey, von Furstenberg recounted how she refused Diller’s proposal of marriage on several occasions throughout their relationship.

Then when his birthday was approaching one year, she was at a loss of what to give him as a gift.

“One year I didn’t know what to give him for his birthday, and I called him and said, ‘You know, if you want, for your birthday I’ll marry you’,” von Furstenberg told Winfrey.

Diller responded by stating: “Let me see if I can arrange it,” and the couple were married a week later at city hall.

Judge Judy and Jerry Sheindlin

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Judy Sheindlin, known professionally as Judge Judy after the reality television court programme of the same name, married Judge Jerry Sheindlin twice – once in 1977 and the second time in 1991, after a brief divorce in 1990.

Prior to their first marriage, Judge Judy put forward the idea of marriage to her partner, as he was seemingly reluctant to commit to marriage.

“I did propose to him,” the television star told DuJour magazine in 2013. “I said to him, ‘Where is this relationship going?’ And he tried to weasel out of it, with his, ‘Well, you know, why do we have to get married?’ Whatever. He finally capitulated.”

Judge Judy told her partner to pick a date for their nuptials, leading to them tying the knot on the commemorative occasion of America’s Flag Day on 14 June.

Judge Judy has three stepchildren from her marriage to Sheindlin and two children from her first marriage to lawyer Ronald Levy.

Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Wilding

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In 1952, Hollywood star Elizabeth Taylor married her second husband, actor Michael Wilding, having first met him in 1948 while filming The Conspirator in England.

Taylor was a few days away from turning 20 at the time of their wedding, while Wilding was 39.

According to the obituary for Taylor published in The Guardian following her death in 2011, she proposed to him while playing the role of Rebecca in historical epic drama Ivanhoe.

The couple had two sons together and were divorced in 1957.

Jennifer Hudson and David Otunga​​

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Five months after professional wrestler David Otunga proposed to singer and actor Jennifer Hudson on her 27th birthday in 2008, she turned the tables by organising her own proposal on his 29th birthday.

The Dreamgirls star presented her partner with a five-carat engagement ring designed by celebrity engagement ring designer Neil Lane.

“Jennifer wanted to give him something really special when she asked David to marry her,” Lane said.

“It was very sentimental and romantic... They are really in love.”

Following a decade-long relationship, the engaged Hudson and Otunga announced their separation in 2017.

Their son, David Daniel Otunga, Jr., was born in August 2009.

Billie Piper and Chris Evans

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In 2001, then-18-year-old actor and singer Billie Piper proposed to her former partner, radio DJ Chris Evans, on his 35th birthday, the BBC reported.

Some may have thought Piper was playing the prankster with her proposal, considering Evans’ birthday falls on April Fool’s Day.

Nonetheless, following the proposal the couple were wed in a £200 ceremony that took place in Las Vegas.

The couple divorced in 2007, having remained on good terms ever since.

During a surprise reunion on Evans’ Virgin Breakfast Show in September 2019, the radio presenter described Piper’s boyfriend Johnny Lloyd as her “forever partner”.

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