Housewives” favourite Nick Knowles is to marry a girl 25 years younger than him.
The rugged host of BBC1″s DIY SOS secretly popped the question to girlfriend of two years Jessica Rose on a romantic trip to South Africa.
Revealing details of the engagement for the first time in an exclusive interview with ! Magazine, the 49 year old TV hunk says that he planned the proposal with military precision.
He tells ! he whisked 24 year old Jessica to the Shamwari Game Reserve before proposing over dinner.
Separately, he organised for the engagement ring, a 2.88 carat diamond set in platinum, to be flown out to South Africa by a friend, so his secret was not rumbled by customs.
Nick – who is an old friend of Jessica”s parents – said of the proposal which happened over dinner: “I arranged for the first course to be her favourite pasta, but a bigger portion because I wanted to propose after the starter and I knew she wouldn”t eat afterwards.
“While she was eating I was getting nervous because, no matter how confident you are, you can”t be arrogant enough to assume you”re definitely going to get a “yes”.”
Jessica sensed that Nick was preoccupied, telling ! “We sat down and there were two smiley waitresses, rose petals on the floor, a roaring fire.
They poured us each a glass of champagne, but Nick doesn”t normally drink champagne.
“Then he asked, “If you stopped eating now, would you be full” which I thought was really odd.
I put my fork down and the waitress whipped my plate away. Once she”d left the room, Nick came round to the side of the table, knelt down in front of me and opened a box to reveal the most beautiful ring, and asked me to be his wife.
“I couldn’t speak – it was so surreal and dreamlike – so he said, “Will you say “Yes”” I did and then I cried for ten minutes!”
Of the ring, Nick says that he got the a friend to take it to South Africa fearing that if he took it on a plane himself, customs would ask him to show it to them and his secret would be spoiled!
Whilst the couple have not yet picked a wedding date, Nick says: “I love Jessica with all my heart. She makes me so happy and I am a very lucky man.”
Jessica, who is just six years old than Nick”s eldest child Charlie, adds: “The proposal is a moment we will cherish forever.
“The setting was so perfect – it was all just magical.”
See the full exclusive article in ! Magazine issue 1201, out now.