Why wait for a man to get down on one knee when you can do it yourself? From Lindsey Vonn to Pink to even Elizabeth Taylor, here are some of the famous women who popped the question to their husbands.
There’s an old Irish tradition that states women can propose to their men every four years on February 29, and these men must accept it. Such a practice was captured in the 2010 romantic comedy, Leap Year. The film sees Amy Adams’s character plot to pop the question to her boyfriend (played by Matthew Goode) on Leap Day during a trip to Dublin — with hilarious results. Now, while Amy didn’t propose to Darren Le Gallo – the man she would actually marry in 2015 – these following A-list celebrities did get down on one knee – metaphorically – to pop the question instead of waiting for their male partners to propose.
Billie Piper, Lindsey Vonn, Pink – even Judge Judy all decided that they were going to buck tradition and be the one to say, “will you marry me?” However, while these women had no issue proposing, as of 2019, only 3% of would-be-brides proposed to their partners, according to Lauren Kay, the executive editor of the wedding-planning site, The Knot (per The Atlantic). There are still some societal gender norms that dictate a man needs to be the one to propose, but for those women who need some examples of other ladies who did it for themselves, check out the following list.
Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard
“@daxshepard1 will you marry me? Xo #marriageequality #loveislove” Kristen Bell tweeted to Dax Shepard on June 26, 2013. Kristen proposed after the Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, clearing the way for marriage equality in the United States (which would come in 2015, after the Obergefell v. Hodges decision.) Dax replied with an enthusiastic “F-ck Yes!!!!!!!!!!!”
Britney Spears and Kevin Federline
“This is my life, and I don’t care what people think. I’m going to get married [to Kevin Federline]. I’m in love with him,” Britney Spears said in a 2004 interview with PEOPLE. During the conversation, she revealed she was the one who proposed to KFed. ”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.” Britney and Kevin were married from 2004 to 2007, and though their marriage ended, the two have remained cordial while raising their kids, Sean and Jayden Federline.
Pink and Carey Hart
Pink didn’t settle for subtlety when she proposed to Carey Hart in 2005. The couple had been together since 2001 – save for a brief separation in 2003 – and she knew the perfect way to pop the question to the motocross racer. During the Pro 250 class finals in Mammoth Lakes, Pink “assisted” the race by holding up a pit board.
“Will You Marr Me? Serious!” Pink had scrawled her proposal on the back of the board. When Carey failed to pull over, she wrote, “I’m Serious!” on another. Ultimately, they were married in 2006.
Lindsey Vonn and PK Subban
“Merry Christmas and happy holidays, everyone!!!” Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn captioned a Dec. 25, 2019, Instagram photo of her alongside NHL star P.K. Subban. Four months after P.K. proposed, Lindsey decided to follow his lead. “On our 2 year anniversary, I returned the favor and asked PK to marry me…and he said yes. We talk about equality, but actions speak louder than words.”
“Men should get engagement rings, too, and this is what PK deserves. Can’t wait to marry you, babe.” Lindsey also included the hashtags #merrychristmas, #happyanniversary, #equality and #raisethebar. The couple had plans to marry in 2020, but put those on hold in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jennifer Hudson and David Otunga
Similar to how Lindsay Vonn proposed to PK, Jennifer Hudson turned the tables on her then-boyfriend, David Otunga, in 2009. Five months after he proposed to her, Jennifer popped the question to the Harvard-educated-lawyer-turned-pro-wrestler while giving him a 5-carat Neil Lane engagement ring on his birthday.
“Jennifer wanted to give him something really special when she asked David to marry her,” Neil Lane, who worked with Hudson for months to design the ring, said to PEOPLE. “It was very sentimental and romantic.” Unfortunately, the marriage didn’t last. The couple split in 2017, eight years after welcoming their son, David Daniel Otunga Jr.
Haley Lu Richardson and Brett Dier
Haley Lu Richardson — the Shake It Up actress who has also been featured in films like Split, The Edge of Seventeen, and Five Feet Apart — proposed to her boyfriend, Jane the Virgin’s Brett Dier, almost on a lark. She revealed how she popped the question during a March 2019 episode of the short-lived Busy Phillipps talk show, Busy Tonight.
“Neither of us are, like, crazy romantic people, so nothing was planned. He was sitting there eating a pizza and he was telling me a joke that Shia LaBeouf had said in an interview, and he was, like, pretending to be Shia LaBeouf explaining this joke and for some reason I just cut him off and was like, ‘Wanna marry me?’” she said. That Shia LeBeouf, always bringing people together.
Elizabeth Warren and Bruce Mann
“I proposed to Bruce [Mann] in a classroom,” Elizabeth Warren wrote in a 2016 Facebook post, one that featured a throwback picture of her with her now-husband. “It was the first time I’d seen him teach, and I was already in love with him, but watching him teach let me see one more thing about him — and that was it. When class was over, and the students had cleared out, he came up to me and asked, somewhat hesitantly, ‘Uh, what did you think?’ ‘What can I say? Will you marry me?’”
Bruce, according to Elizabeth, was “gobsmacked” by her question. “But he blinked a couple of times, then jumped in with both feet. ‘OK.’ To make sure the deal was sealed, I smiled and said, ‘Good. Let’s do it.’” They were married in 1980 and remained so ever since.
Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Wilding
The legendary Elizabeth Taylor was married eight times to seven husbands before her death in 2011. The Hollywood icon would wed Richard Burton twice, along with Conrad Hilton Jr., Mike Todd, Eddie Fisher, John Warner, Larry Fortensky, and Michael Wilding, although not in that particular order. It was Liz’s second go at marriage – with Michael Wilding, an actor known for his work on Alfred Hitchcock’s Under Capricorn and Stage Fright – that saw her take the reigns when it came time to propose.
Liz, per The Guardian, proposed to Michael, and the two were married in 1952. They had two children before their eventual divorce. Liz would fondly describe the marriage as a “lovely, easy life, very simple, very quiet.”
Judge Judy and Jerry Sheindlin
She was born Judith Susan Blum in 1942, but most of the world knows her as Judge Judy. However, one man knows her as “my beloved wife.” Judy married Judge Jerry Sheindlin in 1978 after she was the one to pop the question.
“I did propose to him,” she said in an interview with DuJour. “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. I told him to pick a date. He picked Flag Day.” They actually divorced in 1990 but remarried a year later.
Billie Piper and Chris Evans
Doctor Who and Penny Dreadful star Billie Piper proposed to radio DJ Chris Evans on his 35th Birthday, according to the BBC. Before she found fame as an actress, Billie was an up-and-coming singer. When she was 18-years-old, she reportedly proposed to him on his 35th birthday. The problem is – Chris was born on April 1, and many thought that this was an April Fools’ Day Prank.
The couple was married in a Las Vegas ceremony in 2001, after just six months of dating. They separated in 2004 and finalized their divorce in 2007. Since then, she’s gone on to marry-and-divorce actor Laurence Fox, before starting up a new romance with Tribes singer Johnny Lloyd.
Gretchen Rossi and Slade Smiley
Real Housewives of Orange County star Gretchen Rossi didn’t give boyfriend Slade Smiley an orange in 2013. She got him something much better. During an episode of RHOC, Gretchen popped the question to Slade, and the two became engaged.
As of 2020, that’s how they remain. The couple has yet to officially tie the knot, even after welcoming daughter Skylar in 2019. The couple celebrated 11 years together in February 2020. “Thank you, Slade, for adoring me and cherishing me and showing our baby girl how a woman should be treated by a man. You are such a wonderful father and incredible partner and the love of my life,” she wrote in a touching Instagram post.