Julianne Hough 'Couldn't Be More Happy' About Brother Derek's Engagement: 'I Love Love'

The former DWTS pro, who made her Broadway debut this year in POTUS, also tells PEOPLE about cohosting the first hour of the Tony Awards alongside Darren Criss this Sunday

Derek Hough and Julianne Hough attends the 87th Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Center on December 04, 2019 in New York City
Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty

Julianne Hough has a lot to celebrate.

In April, she made her Broadway debut in POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive. On Sunday, she will cohost the first hour of the 75th annual Tony Awards alongside Darren Criss ahead of the show's main ceremony. And, in between it all, she received the exciting news that her brother, Derek Hough, proposed to his longtime girlfriend Hayley Erbert.

"I love love, and I love my brother, and I love Hayley, so I couldn't be more happy for them," she tells PEOPLE via Zoom alongside cohost Criss. "And I mean, we all knew it was gonna happen. We just were like, 'Alright, when's it gonna be?' "

The American Buffalo actor quickly jumps in, joking, "I'm a little upset. After all the years I've known Derek, you know, when I was single, he never asked me."

"It never came up once," he adds, to which Hough replies, "I can put you guys in a group chat."

Criss, 35, and Hough, 33, are eager to celebrate the Broadway community during Sunday's show at Radio City Music Hall — even if their days are currently jam-packed.

"Press by morning, rehearsals by day, and shows by night," Hough says. "It's a full schedule!"

It's a good thing that kind of routine fuels the former Dancing with the Stars pro. "Momentum breeds momentum, creativity breeds creativity," she says. "It's been invigorating, and I feel totally alive. There's nothing like that feeling. l feel like I could do anything right now. That's magic."

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Suzy Nakamura, Julianne Hough and Lea DeLaria POTUS
Julianne Hough (center) in POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive. Paul Kolnik

Hough stars as Dusty, a farm girl who is desperately trying to get ahold of the president on a particularly extraordinary day at the White House, in the Selina Fillinger play. She says that performing for icons like Gloria Steinem has been "so incredible," especially given that the cast stars all women.

"[POTUS is] like 99.999 percent female. And to have a project like that, that's so empowering, but is [also] so hysterical that you leave the theater peeing your pants, I think that's so needed, especially because life can feel really heavy," says Hough, adding that it's "really special" being part of the show.

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The actress is also excited to honor the backstage heroes of Broadway at this weekend's Tonys. Following the one-hour pre-show, Academy Award winner Ariana DeBose will emcee Broadway's biggest night.

"As performers, we would not have anything without the people who create behind the scenes and set up how and what we do on the stage," she says. "It's really an honor to be able to celebrate those artisans."

She adds, "I'm just completely humbled and honored to even be invited to host the Tonys. This is my Broadway debut, being here, and I was just putting a toe in — now I'm jumping in the deep end!"

The 75th annual Tony Awards will air live coast-to-coast from the legendary Radio City Music Hall in New York City on June 12 beginning at 8 p.m. ET. It will be broadcast live on both CBS and Paramount+.

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