Longoria and Parker
12/07/2006 at 11:00 AM EST
How did Tony Parker's Nov. 30 marriage proposal
to Eva Longoria go down? "It was a big surprise!" Longoria tells PEOPLE in its new issue.
"I was heading home from a long day on the (Desperate Housewives
) set. He had been playing in Utah, so I was just shocked to see him in L.A. I thought it was so weird, sort of, 'Why are you here? What's going on? Oh my God! It's happening!' "
There at Longoria's home in the early-morning hours, surrounded by rose petals and candles, Parker fell to one knee – "I'm a traditional guy," he says – and, having already told both of their families, popped the question.
"I cried my eyes out," says Longoria. "I was mostly touched by how nervous he was. I was like, 'You know I'm going to say yes. Why are you so nervous?' But I guess every man gets nervous at that point."
No way, says Parker: "I knew it was right. We've been talking for months about it, and I just knew. It was time."
And so it went that the Texas-bred actress, 31, and the French-raised San Antonio Spurs point guard, 24, took their two-year relationship to the next level – something they quickly celebrated with close friends, who gathered at Longoria's L.A. home soon after the proposal.
Beverly Hills jewelry designer Jean Dousset, a friend of the couple, designed Longoria's five-carat-plus emerald-cut diamond ring with Parker. It boasts an impressive 247 accenting diamonds.
Naturally, it didn't take the actress long to start spreading the news among her Wisteria Lane neighbors. "Marcia (Cross) and Felicity (Huffman) and I are really, really close," she says. "Telling them was really exciting."
Still, Longoria and Parker's relationship hasn't been without its speed bumps. Originally, "I was going to ask her (to marry me) in France," Parker says of an early October trip to basketball training camp that the couple had planned on taking together. "But obviously it wasn't the right time."
Instead, Longoria met Parker in Paris
a few days after her publicist issued a statement saying the couple were going through "a very difficult time," citing the pressures of their "extremely demanding careers."
Today both Parker and Longoria say that reports of a rift were overblown. "Any relationship goes through trials," says Longoria. "We were working through ours. Tony and my motto has been, 'Breaking up is not an option.' "
For more on this story, pick up the new issue of
PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.