Hearts were breaking all over when fans of Tim Tebow learned the big news. A longtime bachelor and professional athlete, Tebow had been dating women here and there, but he testified that he just hadn’t met the right girl yet.
Until now. Tebow met 2017 Miss Universe Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters at one of his Night to Shine events and it just felt right.
Night to Shine is a worldwide event sponsored by the Tebow Foundation that recreates a prom-like environment for those with special needs. Tebow invited Nel-Peters and her sister, who has special needs, to a Night to Shine event held in her home country of South Africa.
They met face-to-face and something clicked. They both are on a mission to improve the lives of others and are compassionate Christians, just two of several things they have in common.
So after dating for a short period of time, Tebow realized that Nel-Peters was the one. He invited her to his family’s farm outside of Jacksonville, Florida, and they went for a sunset stroll, he shared with PEOPLE.
They paused at a serene small lake where Tebow had already set up an arbor and a custom designed bench engraved with the date the couple first met.
The couple spoke about their relationship and their future while there. Little did Nel-Peters know that family members and friends were hiding nearby, waiting for the big surprise.
Finally, Tebow dropped to one knee and said, “Demi Leigh Nel-Peters, I love you. Demi Leigh Nel-Peters, will you marry me?” She gasped in disbelief, but said yes as he slipped a 7.25-carat solitaire ring on her slender finger.
“This ring is internally flawless. Just like you.”
Wanting his proposal to be unforgettable, Tebow surprised Nel-Peters yet again. South African singer Mattew Mole stepped out from behind a hay bale and serenaded the newly engaged couple with “The Wedding Song,” one of their favorites.
“I actually wasn’t really nervous. I was excited. I wanted everything to be perfect and to go smoothly. But I wasn’t nervous to actually ask her.”
Afterward, Tebow shared the big news with the world via Instagram. He shared a touching photo of the special moment.
“Thank you for saying YES and making me the happiest man in the world. You’re the love of my life, and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you.”
She posted the same photo on her account along with a special message. It was exceptionally sweet.
“Any dreams I’ve ever had, you’ve exceeded them all! I love you and I can’t wait to spend forever with you! @timtebow.”
Nel-Peters was shocked when everyone joined them to celebrate. She couldn’t believe her family and friends had flown halfway around the world just to be with them and been in hiding the entire time.
They dined together at a local club afterward, people peppering them with speeches and toasts. Nel-Peter’s father suggested everyone make a circle around the pair and pray for their new life together.
Tebow told PEOPLE that he can’t wait to begin planning their nuptials, noting that “I’m sure she’s got some great ideas.” Nel-Peters apologized to her future father-in-law for him not getting a new truck, but rather a “new daughter” instead.
Congratulations to the newly engaged couple! May they have years of wedded bliss ahead of them.