January 10, 2011 05:29 PM

Donna Svennevik/ABC

The View returned Monday for its first live show of 2011 with something very special to celebrate — co-host Sherri Shepherd’s engagement, and the big diamond ring that went with it! With a large grin, Shepherd, 43, flashed the custom-made 2-carat sparkler to the cheering audience, as her fellow co-hosts offered their congratulations. She then explained how L.A.-based TV writer Lamar Sally, whom she met through friend Niecy Nash, had endeared himself to her — and to her 5-year-old son Jeffrey. “For Christmas, he had a present for Jeffrey — it was a game,” she said. “And he said to Jeffrey, ‘Can I marry your mom?’ And Jeffrey’s like, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, I want to play with my game!’ And he got on one knee, and he said, ‘Mrs. Shepherd, would you be my wife?’ And I said ‘yeah!'” It was on one of Sally’s recent visits to New York that Shepherd realized the depth of his connection to her son. “Jeffrey goes, ‘Mommy, I want Sal to take me to church, not you. Only Sal,'” Shepherd recalls. “And they walked hand in hand down the block to church. And I just said, you know, this man not only loves me, but he adores my son. And my son adores him.” She also joked that Sally had difficulty getting back up after proposing on one knee. “It was hard,” she said. “My baby, he’s 6 feet 6 inches, 250-plus pounds. I mean, I got him from Detroit.” –Tim Nudd

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