Great Catch

updated 03/27/2000 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/27/2000 AT 01:00 AM EST

Besotted with Law & Order's Angie Harmon since they began dating last fall, New York Giants cornerback Jason Sehorn was ready to ask for her hand. He'd recently picked out a platinum wedding band with a five-carat diamond. All he needed now, he told his mother last week, was the right place to pop the question. "He said, 'How do I make it special?' " recalls Nancy Alexander. " 'I want everybody to know she's the light of my life.' "

Message received loud and clear. In the most widely televised hook-up since FOX's ill-fated Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?, Sehorn, 28, whose first, yearlong marriage ended in divorce in 1999, proposed to a stunned Harmon, 27, while she was a guest on The Tonight Show March 13. Harmon thought her big thrill that night would be sitting next to Elton John. But host Jay Leno, in on Sehorn's plan since earlier in the day, began needling the never-married Harmon with questions about her love life. "I could see her giving me
knife eyes," says Leno. That changed when he brought out Sehorn, who got down on one knee and proposed. Harmon gasped, "Jason...oh my!" She gasped again when her father, Dallas businessman Larry Harmon, arrived onstage to give his blessing.

The actress—who "suspected nothing," says a friend, Dallas jeweler Joe Pacetti—was still crying after the taping ended. Someday, says Leno with a laugh, "I hope she comes back to tell us about the baby."

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