TIME celebrities

Meet Benedict Cumberbatch’s Fiancée Sophie Hunter

The theater director and actress looks like a catch

Benedict Cumberbatch announced that he was engaged to a woman named Sophie Hunter in the Times of London this morning. The Sherlock actor had never even confirmed he was seeing anyone, so who is this mystery woman?

Hunter is a graduate from Oxford and best known in the theater world for directing plays and operas. She’s also had a few small film roles, including 2009’s Burlesque Fairytales, where she met Cumberbatch himself. Take a look at the woman who tied down England’s most popular bachelor.

TIME relationships

These Are the Top 5 Reasons People Reject Marriage Proposals

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Getty Images

Key takeaway: if you want them to say yes, choose a romantic setting

If you’re thinking of proposing to someone soon, then you’re presumably hoping they will say yes. Or, better, yet, “Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes!” or some other dramatic thing. If that’s the case, a recent study conducted by VoucherCloud about why people choose to reject proposals might be of use to you.

The company surveyed 2,144 American residents, both male and female, who were 21 years or older and had previously rejected a proposal, Bustle reports. The participants didn’t have to choose one specific reason — instead, they were asked for all the factors that contributed to their rejection. These were the five most reasons:

  1. Unromantic proposal setting: 67 percent
  2. Poor ring choice: 53 percent
  3. Bad wording of the proposal: 51 percent
  4. Lack of trust in the relationship: 39 percent
  5. Scared of the commitment: 36 percent

These results may seem a bit surprising. The reasons seem fairly: poor ring choice? Lame location? “As much as it seems silly to turn down the big question because the cost isn’t high enough, it’s important to remember that getting engaged is a huge moment in your life,”VoucherCloud’s Matthew Wood told Bustle. “It’s an investment and should be treated as such.” Of course, he added that there “are ways to make a person feel special during a proposal without going bankrupt.”

So, take all of this with a grain of salt, of course, but it couldn’t hurt to pick an extra romantic proposal location. Just in case.

(h/t Bustle)

Read next: This Ridiculously Romantic Ad Aims to End Divorce

TIME Fatherhood

Mark Sanford’s Oversharing Doesn’t Make Him a Bad Dad

Sure, the S.C. senator wrote a 2300-plus-word breakup post on Facebook that reads like a romance novel--but that doesn't mean he shouldn't be allowed to see his kids

Being a hideously tone-deaf oversharer and terrible husband does not necessarily make you a bad father. An embarrassing one, yes, but not a let’s-keep-him-away-from-the-kids one. I’m speaking, of course, of South Carolina Senator Mark Sanford and his latest Facebook rant.

There are so many things wrong with the way the Senator runs his personal affairs. First and foremost, he too often seems lose sight of the “personal” part of that phrase. He justified his 2300-plus-word Facebook post of Sept. 12 by saying he believes he owes the taxpayers of South Carolina an explanation: “In as much as you sign my paycheck and you have elected me to represent you in Washington, I think I owe you my thinking on this personal, but now public matter.”

This feels a little like a butcher forcing his or her customers to watch him make the sausages, because later they’re going to buy them and eat them. No, really, sir: we’re fine.

The “sausage,” in this case, is that Sanford and his wife, Jenny, with whom he split after falling in love with an Argentinian women, Maria Belén Chapur, are fighting over how much access he has to their four sons. Attorneys are involved, and while Sanford proclaims a huge aversion to the legal profession, he’s decided to lawyer up. (Jenny’s side claims he always had a lawyer.) All of this, one would think, might merit a crisply worded 250 word press release, noting that the Senator, having tried all avenues to reach an amicable settlement with his former wife, has retained legal counsel and blah blah blah et cetera. Nothing to see here; move along.

But no. The public has to endure another in a series of Heartfelt Sanford Outpourings, which–for those who haven’t been following along–so far include the one about how he was not on the Appalachian Trail but with a woman (June 24, 2009), and how Maria Belén, the woman he was with not-on-the-Appalachian-Trail, was his soulmate and how theirs was “a forbidden, tragic love story,” (July 1, 2009).

These communications always seems to come from the Harlequin playbook, full of emotional pleas and heartsore teeth gnashing. “No relationship can stand forever this tension of being forced to pick between the one you love and your own son or daughter,” writes the former Love Guv in his latest post on Facebook.

The one difference is that Harlequin novels are blessedly brief. As one wit noted, Sanford’s post contains more words than the Senator has uttered in Congress this year. It’s a small mercy that there is no accompanying video to go with this announcement, as that’s where Senator Soulmate really seems to let his emotions get the better of him.

It’s clear, though, that this post too was written in the heat of the moment and without much forethought. One sentence uses the word “way ” four times. Other phrases in his Facebook tome, with their references to faith, smack of that kid in a church youth group who always used prayer requests as an excuse to gossip about other kids in the youth group who weren’t in the room.

Still other pieces of this confessional quilt have enough lashings of self-pity to make Uriah Heep throw up a little in his mouth. “It seems that history well documents that those who work to avoid conflict at all costs wind up being those destined in many instances to find much conflict,” writes Sanford. Quick, alert the Nobel Committee: Mark Sanford, Peacemaker at a Price.

What transpires is this: Sanford and his wife continue to tussle, legally, over how often he gets to see his sons. He’s accusing her of playing dirty pool–all pretty standard high-conflict divorce shenanigans–and it is stressing him out, people. As a result of this, he’s calling off his engagement to his Argentinian soulmate, whom he has “always loved.” (Not quite enough to let her know in advance of the announcement, though, reports say.)

But while Sanford may be about the most ridiculously inept and cheesy cheating ex of all time, none of it should disqualify him from being able to see his four sons. He says, somewhere in there among all the crazy, that he didn’t get to see one of them for 17 weeks. It’s hard to tell if that’s just the anguish speaking or if it’s true and it’s generally a fool’s errand to try and second guess the family courts. Maybe there are extenuating circumstances. But if true, that’s too long. There’s already enough fatherlessness in the land.

Custody battles can be ugly messy businesses and can end up in disaster and tragedy. Posting a public tear on a well-visited social media site about a mean ex-wife is clearly bad for the kids (and avert-your-eyes embarrassing for everyone else), but it does not disqualify someone from being a dad. One definite upside of regular contact with one’s offspring is that they’re not afraid to opine on how irrevocably lame attempts at social media are. Now that is advice which Sanford desperately needs to hear right now. And which we, the public, need him to hear.

TIME

Paul McCartney Helps Couple Get Engaged at Concert

Ex-Beatle resumed his tour on July 5 in Albany

Paul McCartney resumed his tour in Albany on July 5 after a seven-week sick leave and, for at least one couple in the audience, the concert was a life-changing experience.

During the performance’s second encore, McCartney spotted a pair of signs — held by John Dann and Claudia Rodgers — that read “I’ve got the ring and I’m 64″ and “He won’t marry me ’til he meets you.” So the former Beatle invited the couple on stage and gave Dann control of the microphone. After singing a few lines from the Beatles song “When I’m Sixty-Four,” Dann got down on one knee and said, “Sweetheart, will you marry me?”

After Rodgers said “yes,” the newly engaged couple was rewarded with cheers from the audience and congratulations from McCartney.

The couple, who met on Match.com, has been together for about eight years. When asked about wedding plans, Rodgers, 60, told the Democrat & Chronicle: “We are still basking in meeting Paul but are certainly planning on a long lifetime together.”

[USA Today]

TIME viral

WATCH: Firefighter Fakes House Fire to Propose to His Police Officer Girlfriend

A fiery proposal indeed

Video of a Houston firefighter faking a house fire so he could propose to his girlfriend, a police officer, is heating up the web.

Around the 5-minute mark of the clip, Bruno Mars’s “Marry You” starts to play as smoke seeps out of the garage door of the house, and fireman Jesse Gonzalez emerges. He walks down the driveway towards his girlfriend, Olga Peck, who works for the Houston Police Department. Then he dropped to one knee and popped the question. She said yes.

A Houston Fire Department spokesperson told ABC News that firefighters were still on duty the whole time, listening to their radios and ready to head to the nearest fire at a moment’s notice.

TIME Marriage

It Only Took 257 Sandwiches for 300 Sandwiches Girl to Get Engaged

She made sandwiches to prove she was "wife material"

Last year’s foodie fairy tale finally has a happy ending. The woman who blogged about making 300 sandwiches so her boyfriend would propose got a ring on her finger with 43 sandwiches to spare.

On Tuesday, New York Post reporter Smith wrote that her boyfriend Eric Schulte proposed to her in Barbados after only 257 sandwiches. “Words cannot express how extraordinarily happy I am. Not because I have a engagement ring, but because I’m going to spend the rest of my life having ridiculously amazing adventures with my soul mate,” she wrote. “My mouth hurts from smiling.”

His mouth hurts from eating all those sandwiches.

Smith sparked Internet outrage last year after penning an article about how her blonde boy-toy woke her up with sweet declarations like “You’ve been up for 15 minutes and you haven’t made me a sandwich?” She then decided to make him 300 sandwiches to prove to him that she is “wife material.” Guess he finally got the message.

What a catch.

 

 

TIME celebrities

Rumors Swirl of George Clooney’s Engagement to Amal Alamuddin

The two-time "Sexiest Man Alive" winner is reportedly off the market.

Hundreds of thousands of people are about to have their romantic fantasies dashed: actor George Clooney is reportedly engaged to human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin.

Alamuddin was spotted Thursday with an enormous ring on her left ring finger, which sparked rumors of the engagement, People reports.

Clooney and Alamuddin have yet to confirm the news, but if it’s true, the union would be Clooney’s second. Clooney married actress Talia Balsam in 1989; the pair were divorced in 1993.

TIME celebrities

Jenny McCarthy: I’m Engaged to Donnie Wahlberg

Miami's Ultimate Baby Affair
Alexander Tamargo—Getty Images

The 41-year old actress says she will marry Blue Bloods star Donnie Wahlberg. McCarthy’s son Evan played a starring role in the proposal, handing her a series of cards with the words “will,” “you,” and “marry,” before Wahlberg walked in with a shirt that said "me" on it

Jenny McCarthy is about to become Mrs. Donnie Wahlberg. The View co-host shared her engagement with the world on Wednesday, showcasing her yellow sapphire ring on the talk show, US Weekly reports.

McCarthy’s 11-year-old son Evan had a starring role in the proposal, handing his a series of cards with the words “will,” “you,” and “marry,” before former New Kid on the Block star walked in with a shirt with the word “me” on it, McCarthy said.

“Of course I said ‘yes,’” the 41-year-old McCarthy said. And her son was excited, too. “In that moment Evan yelled, ‘I have another dad!’ and it made all of us cry,” McCarthy shared.

The two have been dating since last summer. The upcoming nuptials (they haven’t yet set a date) will be the second time around for both stars. McCarthy was previously married to actor and director John Mallory Asher.

[Us Weekly]

TIME

Big Sean and Naya Rivera End Engagement

The rapper and Glee actress won't be heading to the altar any time soon

Cancel the wedding bells for rapper Big Sean and Glee star Naya Rivera.

The pair started dating last year and got engaged last fall. But Big Sean announced the cancelation of their nuptials with a rep’s statement saying, “After careful thought and much consideration, Sean has made the difficult decision to call the wedding off.”

The statement went on to say that rumors of Big Sean’s infidelity are untrue and that the couple will continue to try and work through their issues.

TIME

Prince Harry Could Soon Be A Bachelor No More

Royal-watchers in UK speculate about wedding bells as prince repeatedly appears in public with girlfriend Cressida Bonas

Prince Harry was seen in public with his girlfriend for the second time in three days Sunday, fueling speculation that the party-loving prince might soon be a bachelor no more.

The prince and his partner Cressida Bonas have been dating for two years and had previously tried to avoid the media spotlight. However the couple attended a rugby match together at London’s Twickenham Stadium, a public show of affection that has sparked rumors of another royal wedding on the horizon, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Expectations of an engagement have increased as Prince Harry, 29, nears the end of his twenties. Most members of the royal family were already married by that age. The presence of Bonas, 24, at official engagements with the prince has been seen as a sign that the couple feel more confident in their relationship. Bonas, an aristocrat’s daughter, studied dance at Leeds University and now works in marketing in London.

When he had previously talked about finding a girlfriend who could withstand the pressures of being with a member of the Royal Family, Prince Harry said that he was “not so much searching for someone to fulfill the role, but obviously finding someone that would be willing to take it on.”

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