Taraji P. Henson had no idea now-fiancé Kelvin Hayden was going to pop the question, even though the signs were all there.
The 47-year-old Empire star spilled all of the engagement details to Entertainment Tonight on Monday, from the red carpet of Fox’s Upfronts presentation in New York City — explaining that “the river of tears started” when she saw Hayden on one knee and her “lashes ended up on the floor.”
Henson and Hayden, a former Super Bowl-winning NFL star, first confirmed their relationship back in December. He proposed on Mother’s Day, with Henson sharing a photo of her new diamond on Monday to Instagram alongside the caption, “I said yes y’all!!!”
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Looking back, Henson told ET that she should have seen it coming.
The star had been in Atlanta filming What Men Want when she first told Hayden that she was thinking of coming home for Mother’s Day. “I noticed the look in his eyes, but I didn’t put it together,” she recalled to the outlet
There, the two went to dinner at the same restaurant they had their first date — another clue that Henson missed.
So when did she know?
“I didn’t put it together until we went into the party room after we ate, and I saw a violinist, ’cause he was trying to say it was his friend’s birthday — which it was, on Friday — ‘Oh, Ronald’s gonna have a little get-together in the back room.’ And I was like, ‘Aw, that’s perfect. We’ll already be there,’ ” she said to ET. “I go back there and I go, ‘Ronald’s not into violins, what’s going on here?’ And as I’m putting the dots together, I turn around, he’s on his knee.”
According to Henson, Hayden, 34, had originally hoped to ask her at a later date but was itching to pop the question.
“He surprised the heck out of everybody because I think he was trying to wait and he couldn’t wait,” she told ET. “He had the ring and I guess it was burning a hole in his pocket. And just the weight and the pressure of keeping the secret, he couldn’t do it.”
Hayden ended up picking a good day. Not only was Sunday Mother’s Day, but it was also Henson’s 24-year-old son Marcel Johnson’s birthday.
“Mother’s Day is a threesome for me,” she gushed to the outlet. “I had my son, plus Mother’s Day, and now my engagement!”
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Henson is now hoping the couple takes a little time to enjoy being engaged, she told ET.
“People are hitting me up,” she joked about their upcoming wedding. “It’s starting to get overwhelming, and we’re thinking, we’re talking a year from now, and I know how fast that’s going to go, so it’s a lot. I’m trying to just enjoy being blissfully engaged for a minute.”
Empire airs Wednesdays (8 p.m. ET) on Fox.