It wasn’t long after Jenna Johnson got engaged in Italy earlier this summer, to fellow Dancing with the Stars pro Val Chmerkovskiy, that she called up her former DWTS partner Adam Rippon to show off her ring — and make a proposal of her own.
“She called me while she was on vacation, pretty shortly after she got the ring, and she was talking to me and she was like, ‘You have to be in the wedding,’ ” recalls Rippon, 28.
At first, he chalked it up to Johnson’s excitement about the engagement. “But then she brought it up again and confirmed she was being serious,” he tells PEOPLE.
Of course he said yes. “I’m super honored,” he says.
Rippon says Johnson’s call came out of the blue (he’d actually forgotten she was still on vacation) and when he answered, he wondered: Was everything okay?
“She had her hand up to her face … then I looked close and I was like, ‘Oh s—,’ ” he says. (The ring, designed by Chmerkovskiy and Jacob Arabo, features a rectangular cushion-cut diamond with a diamond halo and a pavé diamond band.)
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Speaking not long after some news of his own — that he’ll be returning to the DWTS franchise, this time as a judge on this fall’s Dancing with the Stars: Juniors — Rippon doesn’t have many details to share about Johnson’s impending nuptials, though he’s seen photos of a few possible venues. He also has no clue about his bridesman outfit.
But he’s sure that the wedding is “going to be quite the extravaganza” and “very beautiful.”
It’s a treat, too, to get to spend more time with both Johnson, 24, and Chmerkovskiy, 32, having become fast friends with her while competing on (and winning) the most recent season of DWTS.
Now about halfway through filming Juniors as a judge, Rippon has grown close to Chmerkovskiy as well. Chmerkovskiy and Johnson have even double-dated with Rippon and his boyfriend, Jussi-Pekka Kajaala.
Rippon says, “I feel very in the family.”
Dancing with the Stars: Juniors premieres Oct. 7, and the new season of the original Dancing with the Stars premieres Sept. 24, both on ABC.