Will Ferrell and wife Viveca Paulin
07/25/2008 AT 11:25 AM EDT
He may be one of the funniest guys out there, but Will Ferrell says it wasn't always so easy to make audiences – or even his wife – laugh.
His proposal to wife Viveca Paulin proved to be one of his biggest bombs ever, the Step Brothers
star, 41, reveals to Parade
As he recalls it, "I took her to an undisclosed location, blindfolded her, put her in the trunk of a car and said, 'Do you want to marry me?' She goes, 'No.'
"But then I pursued her doggedly for seven years, and then she finally said 'yes' – maybe because I wrote her over 10,000 letters while I was in prison."
Ferrell, who recently gave some humorous parenting advice
to his Bewitched
costar Nicole Kidman
, offered more dubious child-rearing tips. (Ferrell and Paulin, 39, have two sons
of their own: Magnus, 4, and Mattias, 1.)
"Don't let them play in old, abandoned refrigerators," he advises. "If you're flying with your children, it's better to book them on the same flight as you and not on a separate one, just so they can have more legroom or something. Travel as a family."