Biggest Loser Couple Engaged
updated 03/28/2006 AT 11:25 AM EST
•originally published 03/28/2006 AT 10:00 AM EST
Live on the Today show, Hoover, a former wrestling coach from Iowa, asked Seattle-based Preston, a hairstylist, for her hand in marriage. Her reply: An enthusiastic "Yes!"
Wearing their workout gear in the plaza of Rockefeller Center, the two first talked about the difficulties of maintaining their long-distance relationship, prompting Hoover to say, "Suzy has no idea our relationship is about to get a little closer, I hope."
Dropping to his knee, Hoover said, "I have gone through a lot of changes in the past year. You have seen me at my worst. … I want to keep changing, but I want you to be by my side."
Digging the ring out of his pocket, he continued, "I had this made for you." Then, as a tears formed in Preston's eyes, he announced, "I'd like to ask you to be my wife!"
Preston said her only hesitation was wondering whether or not to interrupt him to say she would.
If the proposal before an audience of millions seemed unorthodox, so was the way the couple, who are both 29, first met. At the start of The Biggest Loser, Preston was a bespectacled 227-lbs. and Hoover a burly 339. "I saw him at his worst, absolutely," Preston told PEOPLE. "And he saw me at my worst. He saw me sweating and passing gas."
Their romance began secretly in the show's eighth week with long, chatty walks. On their first date, a few days after the finale, the pair lunched in Los Angeles at Koo Koo Roo, a chain specializing in grilled chicken. “It wasn't fancy, but it was good, healthy food,” Preston told PEOPLE at the time.
The couple lost a combined 252 pounds while on the show. Hoover thinks their shared experiences as finalists on Loser (he won the $250,000 grand prize, and she took home $25,000 as second runner-up) are what gave their romance a unique foundation.
"We have a lot in common. Going through something like we went through is life-changing," she said. "We are not the same people we were before all this and we are both at a point in our lives where we know what it's like to be fat and miserable – and what it's like to be happy and healthy."
As for their wedding plans, Hoover told PEOPLE before the proposal that he'd likely let his bride take over the details. "We'd get married in church. But other than that, we don't have anything definite in mind. It could be big or small, in Seattle area or in Hawaii. I'll leave all that up to Suzy."