SA's Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters engaged to American sports star Tim Tebow
Local / 11 January 2019, 09:02am / Des Bieler and IOL
Former Miss South Africa and Miss Universe 2017 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters is engaged to her American sports star Tim Tebow.
The former NFL quarterback and current Major League Baseball outfielder for the New York Mets popped the question recently and as he put it in a social media post, she said "YES."
The pair has been dating since last April after meeting through Tebow’s non-profit organisation’s beacon event, Night to Shine.
The proposal took place at a farm near Jacksonville, Florida, belonging to Tebow's family. After he dropped to one knee, popped the question and received the answer he clearly expected, the Heisman Trophy winner put a 7.25-carat solitaire ring on her finger and said, "This ring is internally flawless. Just like you."
Tebow, 31, flew 23-year-old Nel-Peters' father and stepmother Bennie and Elzabé Peters and mother and stepfather Anne-Mari and Johan Steenkamp and some of her closest friends to the US for the occasion and kept their presence a secret from her.
Tebow also flew in South African artist Matthew Mole to play Nel-Peters’ favourite song for them as he popped the question.
Once the ring was in place, Mole emerged "from behind a hay bale," as People described it, and serenaded the happy couple.
"I actually wasn't really nervous," Tebow said of the proposal. "I was excited. I wanted everything to be perfect and to go smoothly. But I wasn't nervous to actually ask her."
Nel-Peters said she was ecstatic and hadn’t stopped smiling since Tebow popped the question: “Any dreams I’ve ever had, Tim you’ve exceeded them all! I love you and I can’t wait to spend forever with you!”
Nel-Peters, who hails from Sedgefield in the Southern Cape, was crowned Miss Universe in 2017, becoming only the second South African to bring home the crown after Margaret Gardiner in 1978.
Despite his unsuccessful NFL career, Tebow has maintained a high degree of celebrity status, in part by maintaining his visibility as an ESPN analyst, TV host and author, as well as in his unusual quest to switch sports and reach the major leagues. Since his days as a superstar college player at Florida, there has been considerable interest in his personal life. A devout Christian, Tebow claimed in 2009 that he was saving himself for marriage.
That adherence to abstinence was reportedly a factor in Tebow's 2015 break-up with Olivia Culpo, who happened to be at the time a 23-year-old former Miss Universe. Asked about his ability to resist temptation, he said in 2017, "I think when your focus is on certain things that matter, for me my faith, loving people, helping people, caring for people, it's not about focusing on the things that you're not going to do. It's about focusing on the things you are going to do."
Shortly after that, Tebow addressed the fact that he was still single, saying, "Of course I want a woman who I'm attracted to. That's a very big part of it. But I'm looking for someone who loves Jesus and loves people. Someone who makes me want to be a better person for her. And she has to want kids, and has to want to adopt. That's a requirement."
Last year in an interview with the American Today show, Tebow revealed that meeting Nel-Peters was as a result of “seizing the moment”.
He also opened up about his relationship with Nel-Peters to ESPN in July, saying that he’s “usually very private with these things but I am very thankful. She is a really special woman and I am very lucky and blessed to have her coming into my life.”
To make sure Nel-Peters didn't suspect something was up during their stay at his family's farm, Tebow wasn't above a little deceit, telling her his apparent excitement derived from a plan to give his father a new truck. According to People, he even went so far as borrow a vehicle from a local dealership and put a large bow on it and Nel-Peters subsequently told her impending father-in-law, "I'm sorry you didn't get a new truck, but you're getting a new daughter!"
"She's just perfect for me," Tebow said of Nel-Peters. "I'm really blessed to have her by my side for the rest of my life." - Additional reporting by IOL