02/13/1995 at 01:00 AM EST
She doesn't play football on Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, but actress Holly Robinson, 30, who came to fame on 21 Jump Street in the '80s, knows how to blitz a quarterback. Dallas Cowboy backup field marshal Rodney Peete, 28, was a fast-stepper who completed more passes off the field than on until he was tackled by Robinson.
She caught his interest immediately when they were introduced by a mutual friend at a 1993 R&B show at the Roxy in L.A. "Holly put hot sauce on her french fries, and she kept pinching me under the table every time this Vegas-type lounge singer got onstage," says Peete. "I knew I wanted to see her again." A few weeks later, Robinson, who says she was in a "serious-relationship mode," went to a party at Peete's and had second thoughts. "His ex-girlfriends were lined up everywhere looking sad," she says. "I thought, 'Watch out for this guy.' " But she soon softened. "In Rodney. I saw someone who wanted to make changes and settle down," she says. "Everything fell together."
Well, almost. Peete was used to the NFL's male bonding; Robinson put her foot down when he went off with teammates on the party circuit. Eventually he chose the girl over the gang. "Holly keeps me in line," he says. "Because she has her own life, I knew she could walk away from me. And she let me know it."
Last September, Peete made his greatest pass. Filming an episode of Mr. Cooper with a live audience, Robinson opened a door to find not the expected guest star, but Peete, who fell to his knees, flashed a 4-carat diamond ring and pronounced, "You're the best thing that's ever happened to me. Will you marry me?" She sure will—on June 10. The Rev. Jesse Jackson is scheduled to officiate. There's only one caveat. Says Robinson: "No ex-girlfriends allowed.