Valerie Bertinelli Freaked Out by Her Pricey Engagement Ring

03/09/2011 at 11:20 AM EST

Valerie Bertinelli Freaked Out by Her Pricey Engagement Ring
Tom Vitale and Valerie Bertinelli
Paul Redmond/FilmMagic
The pricier the engagement ring, the better – right, ladies?

Not according to Valerie Bertinelli, who says she was taken aback when Tom Vitale presented her with some expensive bling when he popped the question last year.

"It was from Tiffany's," the Hot in Cleveland actress says in an interview airing Wednesday on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. "I said, 'Why did you spend so much money? Why did you go to Tiffany's? You should've gone someplace else with cheaper jewelry.' "

She adds with a laugh: "I don't know why he married me."

Perhaps it didn't help that Bertinelli was in a bad mood to begin with that day. The couple were in Florence, Italy, and had just had a "crappy" dinner, she says. Lying in bed, Bertinelli just wanted to read a magazine.

"He's got this little glint in his eye, and he's lying in the bed next to me," she recalls. "And I'm like, 'I just want to read this magazine. It was a crappy dinner. We're in Italy. It should've been an amazing dinner.' I was really pissed off. I just wanted to read my magazine."

She adds: "And then I just closed my eyes, and he just puts this little box on my chest."

The couple were married on New Year's Day in Malibu – a magical day for Bertinelli, who turned 50 last year. "I swear to God, if I knew I would feel this good and my life would be this amazing at 50, I would've turned 50 a long time ago," she says. "I pinch myself that this is my life right now."

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