England rugby union captain Dylan Hartley showed his softer side during a romantic proposal to his long-term girlfriend Joanne Tromans on Christmas Day 2016. Revealing the happy news exclusively in HELLO! magazine two years ago, Dylan told how he got down on one knee awith a bespoke oval halo diamond ring he had designed himself as Joanne opened her presents under the Christmas tree at their renovated 17thcentury cottage in Northampton.
"I had planned it for months, but when it came to it, it was nerve-racking having the ring in my pocket and trying to remember what I was going to say," he told HELLO!. The couple have been together for nine years and have a young daughter, Thea.
"I told her how I was happiest at home with her and Thea and that's why I chose to ask her there," he says. "There were a few tears. I think I must have had something in my eye."
A thrilled Jo added: "It was all a complete surprise. He spoilt me with such lovely gifts that I had no idea there could be anything else. He started talking to me while I was on the floor cleaning up wrapping paper and it took me a moment to register he had a box in his hand. He got on his knee like a true gentleman. I think I said 'yes' straightaway; I know I got a bit emotional." Jo says she was also "pleased" to learn that Dylan had done the traditional thing and asked her dad for his blessing the night before.
New Zealand-born Dylan led England to a Six Nations grand slam and 13 consecutive Test match victories last year, but is currently in the middle of a six-week ban following an on-pitch tackle. "Without question I have had so many highs and lows in sport and Jo has been so supportive throughout it all," he said.
"Having Thea has opened my eyes as to what is important and Jo is part of that," adds the burly hooker, who got a ribbing from teammates when his bosses revealed his news during training. "I have goals and targets I want to achieve – getting engaged was one of them. It's a nice thing to do and a relief to have done it."
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