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The Power Of Two

Justin Bruening: I planned it for about three days. I’ve been planning to ask her to marry me for a while, but this little thing I planned for three days. The executive producer [Julie Hanan Carruthers] told us what was going on in our storyline and she told us, “Jamie is going to ask Babe to marry him on Tuesday.” And I’m like, “Really? Crap!” Because I thought that was going to be in July.
Alexa Havins: And I was all upset because I wanted to be [engaged] before Babe.Bruening: But what an opportunity that I could do this on-set in front of all these people and actually surprise her.
Havins: If it had happened Christmas Eve or Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve, I would have been [expecting it]. I would have started to get a little sneaky. But I was so focused on the work and we shot some really beautiful scenes together, and I had no clue. No idea.Bruening: I was a nervous, freakin’ wreck for the last three days. I asked the executive producer on Friday if it was okay; I told her that day and she helped me set it up on Monday — while I was at Starbucks because somebody won’t leave my side!
Havins:We’re together 24 hours a day, so I’m thinking, “How is he planning this?” He had the ring within a foot of me the entire time and I had no idea! He would tease me and say, “I got your ring today, it’s in the sock drawer.” I’d say, “Screw you! That’s such a sick joke. You can’t say that to a woman!”Bruening: But it was actually in my backpack, which was over by the sock drawer. I was just telling her the truth and counting on her thinking I was lying! And it worked out.
Havins: The night before, he had all this nervous energy. I was like, “Honey, what is wrong with you? Do you feel okay?” He was bouncing all over the place.Bruening: And I’m [thinking], “Go to bed! I have to talk to your parents still!”
Havins: He had to call my parents and ask permission.Bruening: I talked to her mom right in front of her, in code.
Havins: My dad didn’t sleep all night because he was so nervous for Justin!Bruening: When we were doing the scenes, Alexa was a little upset about the fact that I had to ask her [to marry me in character].
Havins: The night before, when we were running our lines, he did the “marry me, Babe” speech and involuntarily I burst into tears because I look over and I’m like, “That’s my boyfriend, those are his eyes I’m looking into, his mouth is saying those words and it’s his voice, but it’s not me he’s asking for real!” I was just bawling.Bruening: All night I had a sick enjoyment. I would say, “I’m sorry this has to happen, honey. I wish I could have asked you before Jamie did. If only I had known…” I was just playing it off.
Havins: So, we’re doing the scenes and our stage manager says, “Okay, we’re going to do an alternate ending.” I have no clue; I’m all business, like an idiot [laughs]. Justin’s jumping up and down; he’s pacing….Bruening: I was trying to remember what I wrote [for the real proposal]! And then I come in and do the exact same blocking, the exact same everything, and kneel down by the bed and say, “Marry me, Alexa.” And there was a moment where she thought it was a sick joke!
Havins: I thought, “You are sick! That’s so mean!” I expected Rusty [Swope, stage manager] to yell “Cut,” and I turned around, and nobody was there. I was looking for anyone to hold onto. And then I was like, “Is this for real?”Bruening: I go, “Yeah, sweetheart, I’m serious.”
Havins: My face on-camera was pretty priceless. All of a sudden, the shock wore off and I was like, “Of course!” And I kissed him and hugged him.Bruening: The shock and tears and crying — it was great! And I had three bands in the ring, so I tried to speak to say the rest of what I was trying to say, but she was just kissing me [laughs].
Havins: He could have asked me with a five-cent ring out of a machine and I would have said yes. I didn’t even look at the ring.Bruening: But then I caught her attention with the second [band]!
Havins: I was so overwhelmed. I was having a ring talk with my roommate and I said, “You know, I just want a band of diamonds, maybe even a stack of them!” And the funny thing is, Justin came home and she didn’t tell him anything, but he showed her the rings, and she was like, “You guys make me sick! She just said that [that’s what she wanted].” He had, like, an anxiety attack over what ring to get me.Bruening: Getting an engagement ring…. It’s like a combination of personalities; it has to represent both of us. I didn’t want to get her something like everyone else’s. I found something that nobody else really has.
Havins: It’s a band of diamonds and then on either side has alternating diamonds and pink sapphire. They’re really tiny, dainty bands, stackable bands. Very pretty.Bruening: I had them in my backpack for at least three weeks.
Havins: He was planning to ask me on January 1, but because of this opportunity, he moved it up.Bruening: The day I found out that we were doing those scenes, right away it clicked in my head to do it that day. I was like, “Oh, no! It’s a week away!”
Havins: But what could be more fitting? We spend so much time there, and it’s like our second family. When he asked me, it was so nice; he put the ring on my finger and I was giggling, screaming, and I turned and our cast and crew was coming out of the woodwork because they had the live feed coming [through the studio] — the producers and hair and makeup came down and they had a cake and champagne and it was a really, really nice moment.

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