Bridie WilkinsThinking of proposing on Leap Day this year? These are the celebrities who proposed to their husbands. From Sheryl Sandberg to Kristen Bell, Pink and Britney Spears.
Sheryl Sandberg and now-fiancé Tom Bernthal
On 29 February, it's Leap Day - the day that, according to research from VoucherCodes, up to 26,000 women will flip the script and ask their boyfriends to marry them. Tradition dictates that this is the one day that women can take their marital destiny into their own hands, and though this dates back to the 5th century, still less than half of the women surveyed in a 2019 study say that they would be willing to propose to their boyfriends. Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook and founder of women’s workplace equity organisation Lean In, recently took to Instagram to argue for women taking charge, and we’re right behind her.
“There’s a conversation I keep having,” she wrote. “I meet an amazing young woman. We talk about her career and goals. She’s full of plans and energy. Then we talk about her relationship – and the vibe changes. ‘I’ve been waiting for him to propose for six months.’ ‘I’m ready for the next step but I don’t know if he is.’ ‘I don’t want to pressure him so I’m trying to be chill about it.’ ‘Hopefully I’ll be engaged soon, fingers crossed.’ Women are taking charge of their lives in every dimension except dating and marriage.”
She goes on to share that communication is key to breaking barriers and smashing the stigma associated with women taking control. “If we want to achieve equality, we have to rethink the social norms around getting involved,” she wrote. “If you feel like you can’t talk to your boyfriend about marriage, you’re either dating the wrong person or you’re not giving him enough credit for being the right person. We’ve got to get comfortable with these conversations.” True to her word, Sheryl and her now-fiancé Tom Bernthal planned their recent proposal together, and she is not alone.
While recent research shows that under 50% of women would be happy to pop the question, an older study back in 2016 revealed that only 5% of women in the couples that participated had proposed, and 35% of men are also keen on women popping the question since it takes the pressure off of them. This is a sign that times are clearly changing, and a number of female celebrities have also staged their own proposals. Here are our favourites.
Kristen Bell and 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? “F*** yes!!!!!”
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.
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
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’.”
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?”.
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.