Newly engaged Carrie Ann Inaba had a feeling her fiancé was going to pop the question. But he still caught her off guard.
After Monday’s dramatic Dancing with the Stars episode, the judge spoke with PEOPLE about her surprise proposal last week on Live! with Regis and Kelly, and introduced her fiancé, accountant Jesse Sloan, 39.
“I didn’t know this was coming,” Inaba said. “I had my suspicions because I’m a sneaky person and I’m always trying to figure out what he’s up to.”
Inaba says she knew something was up because Sloan doesn’t usually travel with her. “This is the first time he came to New York,” said Inaba, who initially thought he would propose during a “beautiful dinner” the night before her Live! appearance.
But he didn’t. The next day on the show, Sloan came out at the top of the hour but he didn’t propose. “So by the end, I was just reading my card getting ready for the next segment,” Inaba said. “And then the lights went down.”
“And here I come,” said Sloan, who got down on one knee and asked her to marry him.
Why ask the intimate question on air? “Our family is spread out all across the country,” Sloan said. “I wanted to be able to share it with our family and friends.”
“He’s a keeper,” said a smitten Inaba as she snuggled up to her groom-to-be on Monday night. “Our family got to witness the whole thing – along with a lot of other people … There is no way I would say no to him. He’s my dreamboat and my life is so much better with him in it. It’s just so exciting to know that now we’re going to spend the rest of our life together. And have babies!”