"It was absolutely perfect," the former 'NSync-er tells PEOPLE of surprising Karly Skladany with a ring

By Steve Helling
October 25, 2012 03:00 PM
Credit: Kathryn Ford Photography

Another ‘NSync-er is off the market!

On a pre-planned birthday trip to Italy, Chris Kirkpatrick surprised his girlfriend of two and a half years, marketing rep Karly Skladany, by proposing – and she said yes!

Though Kirkpatrick, 41, hadn’t planned to pop the question, he says he got caught up in the moment.

“We had a hotel room at the Isle of Capri, overlooking the Mediterranean,” he says. “It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. And it hit me: I wanted to propose to Karly. So I ran to a jewelry store, found the perfect ring and bought it.”

The ring he picked for Skladany, 28, has a large oval-cut diamond surrounded by several smaller diamonds set in a two-tiered white gold band.

With the jewelry in his pocket, Kirkpatrick had one more important thing to do: call and ask her father for his blessing. “He didn’t answer his phone, so I left him this message like, ‘Um, this is Chris, and I just wanted to talk and ask a few questions.’ I was nervous, which was funny. He called right back and, of course, he gave his blessing.”

Later that evening, Kirkpatrick proposed. “We were sitting on the balcony with a bottle of champagne and I put the ring in her glass,” he says with a laugh. “I know it sounds cheesy, but it was romantic. As soon as I asked her, she said, ‘It’s about time!’ And we laughed. It was spur of the moment, but it was absolutely perfect.”

No Hard Feelings

Although there has been speculation that Kirkpatrick and his ‘NSync bandmates were snubbed by not being invited to Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel‘s fabulous Italian wedding, Kirkpatrick says the rumors are overblown and there are no hard feelings.

“He didn’t want the wedding to be an ‘NSync reunion, and I totally understand that,” says Kirkpatrick, who hung out with Timberlake at a charity event earlier this month. “I already had plans to be in Italy anyway. It was just a coincidence that I was there when Justin got married. There’s really nothing negative about any of it.”

Kirkpatrick has recently been writing and producing music for a number of artists. “All the writing keeps me busy and happy,” he says. He’s also focusing his energy on his charity, The Chris Kirkpatrick Foundation. This Saturday, he’s throwing the “Mask Care Aid” bash at the Hard Rock Live in Orlando. Proceeds will benefit underprivileged youth throughout Florida.

Then, the wedding planning begins! “We haven’t set a date yet, but we will soon,” he says. “We’ll figure out exactly how we want our wedding to be. We’re both so happy; this is a really good time for us.”