LeeAnne Locken has a secret. The Real Housewives of Dallas charity maven has been engaged to boyfriend Rich Emberlin since last September. "I'm excited to finally be able to wear my ring," LeeAnne gushed during a recent interview with The Daily Dish. "I've been engaged for a year, it's about time!"
RHOD fans got to witness the happy moment in Monday night's episode when Rich surprised LeeAnne with a ring as the prize for winning a carnival game at the State Fair of Texas, which you can relive, above. The fact that Rich chose that location, considering LeeAnne's background in growing up in the carnival circuit, meant the world to her. "You grow up and you spend all your time working on the carnival, and it's really kind of just like a very working world. It's not tender, nobody has time to be gentle on the carnival. Nobody. This is probably why I'm not gentle in life. But there was always that little kid that just wanted someone to want them," LeeAnne explained. "And so, to me, it feels like my circle is complete, that it's OK to let go of everything in the past because someone does want me, and someone is claiming me. I guess it's weird, but it's kind of like, 'It's OK to grow up now, LeeAnne. It's OK to be big.'"
And of course, a ring as gorgeous as the one Rich gave to LeeAnne when he proposed would put a smile on anyone's face. "He did perfect," LeeAnne said of Rich's choice in bling, adding that the couple has "always talked" about getting married one day. "I've always said I love a marquise [ring] because I think it makes your fingers look really pretty and long. And then I wanted two hearts, a heart on either side, his heart and my heart. And he nailed it. He knocked it out of the park. It was beyond my wildest dreams."
LeeAnne shows off her gorgeous engagement ring on RHOD.
LeeAnne also spilled her secret to, well, keeping this engagement a secret from RHOD fans over the past year: She simply just didn't wear her ring out in public very often. "I wear it every now and then, like I'm if gonna go to an intimate dinner. But, you know, most nights I start off at charity events, so if I go to a kickoff patron or gala, I just don't wear it. I'm not gonna put it in my purse and then put it back on. Dear God, no. Can you imagine if I'm out and I can't find it? I would freak. So I don't want to put myself in that situation. So I've got plenty of jewelry. I'm not worried about it," LeeAnne said. "My hardcore friends in the city already know and have already seen it and are very happy for me."
Even though LeeAnne expressed that she felt pressure as the day that she had hoped Rich would propose by approached earlier this season of RHOD, she told The Daily Dish that she "never" had any doubt that her beau of more than eight years would pop the question. "I figured that there would be a moment that forced him to do it. Rich is not good until you're like, 'OK, look, honey, it's seven o'clock. We have to figure out what we're gonna eat for dinner.' You know what I mean? He's one of those people, he can wait a lifetime. Until he gets to the point where it's important to him, he just doesn't really think about it, you know? And so it just got to the point where it was like, 'This is what I want. I really want this,'" LeeAnne said. "And honestly, I think he also kind of got tired of hearing people constantly say, 'Rich is never gonna marry you' on social media and some of my other cast. I think he just got to a point where it was like, 'You know what, I'm doing this just because, number one, I was always gonna do it, and number two, it's ridiculous what they're saying!' Just to shut 'em up, you know? I never doubted it."
But LeeAnne didn't immediately share the good news with the other RHOD ladies as they all gathered for what would turn out to be an explosive Honest Tea get-together in Monday night's episode. "I felt like the Honest Tea was not a positive place. I knew that it wouldn't be a positive environment. I knew that people were gonna be able to ask anything they wanted, and the questions had to be answered. And I think Honest Tea needed to keep the focus on how, as a group, we were gonna come together, how, as a group, are we gonna make it where we all have fun together. That's D'Andra [Simmons'] and my goal, and it always has been with our group. How do we get to the point where we can actually forget and forgive, moving on?" LeeAnne shared. "And so I think D'Andra was very verbal with me with what she expected from Honest Tea, and I just sort of felt like I don't want to walk in and go, 'Hey, I'm engaged! OK, now why the f*** did you say blah blah blah?' You know what I mean? Being engaged is my moment, it's my happiness, and I didn't want it to be in a volatile situation when I announced it."
As for how LeeAnne's RHOD pals do finally respond to her engagement, you're just going to have to wait and see. "I didn't know how the group was gonna respond, and if they responded negatively, I didn't know how I was gonna respond, because it is something that's private and special and precious," LeeAnne added. "And I'm very sensitive about treating it with dignity."
Find out how LeeAnne and Rich's love story began, below.