Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Leap Day ladies! Jenna Bush Hager, Rita Ora & more female celebs' sweet proposal stories

Kristen Bell and Britney Spears also popped the question

Rita Ora, Jenna Bush Hager and Jodie Turner Smith with their husbands
Deputy Lifestyle Editor
Senior Health & Fitness Writer
Share this:

Long gone are the days of waiting for a man to pop the question, with many modern women taking matters into their own hands – especially on a Leap Day.

On 29 February, an estimated four in five (78%) British women are considering embracing the 5th-century tradition – started by Saint Bridget – and proposing to their significant other, according to research.

WATCH: 10 dazzling celebrity engagement rings we can't forget

Relationship expert Charisse Cooke, who partnered with metals specialist, metals4U, explained the psychological benefits behind this shift in gender roles and rejection of societal norms when it comes to engagements.

"A woman considering proposing to her partner usually represents a woman who values her independence and autonomy - as well as the ability to have control over her own life. It shows someone unencumbered by societal expectations and norms, and happy to carve out her own path guided by the pursuit of her specific goals and dreams for the future.

"It speaks of a highly secure relationship where both parties are valued, and both people are able to ask for what they want."

But the romantic gesture is by no means limited to one day every four years. Many women, including the likes of Kristen Bell and Jennifer Hudson, have already led the way by proposing to their partners. Take inspiration from these stars on Leap Day and beyond…

Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell attend Moet & Chandon at The 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards© Getty

Kristen Bell

Kristen Bell and her now-husband Dax Shepard didn’t want to tie the knot until every couple had the right to marry. Once same-sex marriage became legal in California, Kristen took to Twitter to ask the question: "@Daxshepard1 will you marry me? Xo #marriageequality #loveislove." His reply? "[Expletive] yes!!!!!"

Taika Waititi and Rita Ora attend The Fashion Awards 2023 © Dave Benett

Rita Ora

After keeping her engagement to Taika Waititi secret, Rita Ora said she was entertained when she saw that speculation had got the details of her proposal completely wrong.

After less than one year of dating, Rita proposed while they were vacationing in Palm Springs in the summer of 2022, just weeks before they tied the knot in Los Angeles. "It’s actually been quite entertaining for us to see the different stories people made up and all the while getting to keep it to ourselves,” Rita told Vogue, while her husband added: "Rita [Ora] proposed to me, and I said 'yes' instantly."

Joshua Jackson and Jodie Turner-Smith attend the unveiling of the new fully-electric Lotus Emeya on September 07, 2023 in New York City© Getty

Jodie Turner-Smith

Jodie Turner-Smith's ex-husband Joshua Jackson previously revealed on The Tonight Show that the model proposed to him in Nicaragua. The Dawson's Creek actor told host Jimmy Fallon in 2021: "She asked me, yeah, on New Year's Eve. We were in Nicaragua. It was very beautiful, incredibly romantic. We were walking down the beach, and she asked me to marry her."

White Noise star Jodie filed for divorce in October 2023 and later told The Times: "I don’t think it’s a failure. We obviously had such a beautiful moment together. And now it’s time for a new moment for both of us."

kevin federline britney spears holding dog red carpet© Getty Images

Britney Spears

Britney proposed to Kevin Federline during a flight from Ireland to New York in 2004. She told Entertainment Weekly: “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.” The pair divorced three years later in 2007.

Pink in a black dress with her husband Carey Hart © Rob Kim


Pink took her marital status into her own hands by asking motocross star Carey Hart to marry her during one of his track races. As he entered the third lap, she held up a pit board that read, “Will you marry me?”.

Sarah Snook and Dave Lawson attend the HBO's "Succession" Season 4 Premiere at Jazz at Lincoln Center on March 20, 2023 in New York City© Getty

Sarah Snook

Succession star Sarah Snook opened up about her love story and secret proposal to long-term friend and comedian Dave Lawson. "At the beginning of the pandemic last year, I got locked down in Melbourne with one of my best mates and we fell in love," Snook told Vogue Australia.

"We've been friends since 2014, lived together, travelled together, always excited to see each other, but totally platonic. We've just never been single at the same time. I proposed and we got married in February in my backyard."

Henry Hager and Jenna Bush Hager attends the 9th annual UNICEF Snowflake Ball at Cipriani Wall Street on December 3, 2013 in New York City© Getty

Jenna Bush Hager

Jenna Bush Hager recalled how she proposed to Henry Hager aged 22, years before they actually got engaged. On Today with Hoda & Jenna, she confessed to E!: "I proposed to Henry after several cocktails… We’d only been dating three months. He told me he loved me and I’m like, 'Me too! Let’s get married!'"

She continued: "He said no, but then five years later we got married," referring to Henry's "real proposal" in 2007.

jennifer hudson ex fiance david otunga© Kevin Mazur

Jennifer Hudson

Singer Jennifer Hudson was proposed to by actor David Otunga on her birthday in 2008. Jennifer then returned the favour by doing the same for David on his birthday. They were together for 10 years, before divorcing in 2017.  

Diane von Furstenberg in a yellow and white dress with her husband Barry Diller © Penske Media

Diane Von Furstenberg

Fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg turned entrepreneur Barry Diller’s proposal down several times, before deciding to ask the question herself. Speaking to O Magazine, she said: “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’.”

Elizabeth Taylor in a ruffled dress looking at her husband Michael Wilding© Bettmann

Elizabeth Taylor

Famed Hollywood star Elizabeth Taylor had seven husbands but only popped the question to one. According to the Guardian, she asked British actor Michael Wilding to marry her, before they went on to tie the knot in 1952 and had two children together. They later divorced.

LOOK: 5 GMA stars' jaw-dropping engagement rings: Robin Roberts, Lara Spencer, more

More Weddings

See more