The week before Thanksgiving, Kirk Cousins tweeted a photo of what was clearly himself proposing to his girlfriend, Julie Hampton, with a picturesque D.C. in the background. I spoke to the Redskins backup quarterback this week and he shared the story of how it all went down.
“I talked to my U.S. congressman from my home area in west Michigan, Bill Huizenga, who I had gotten to know a little bit,” Cousins explained. “I called him to see if I could propose on the balcony of the Speaker of the House’s office, because I had been there before and seen the view and thought it was a great view. He said they could set it up.”
They found a day that worked, which ended up being Friday, Nov. 22, and Huizenga’s assistants agreed to be on hand to take pictures of the moment. Cousins told his now fiancee that they were going to do a tour of the Capitol building so they headed downtown together.
“I was extremely nervous,” Cousins said. “On the way down driving the car, as we got close to the Capitol building I was holding her hand and she goes, ‘Why are your hands cold and sweaty?’ I said, ‘I don’t know,’ but I knew it was because I was super nervous.”
The couple, who have been together a year and a half and met through a mutual family friend, made their way through the building and to the balcony, presumably to check out the view.
“I just mentioned the view, and told her how we’d gotten to know each other in this city and how we had good memories when we used to walk through the city on some of our earlier dates,” Cousins recounted. He then popped the question before Julie could get suspicious. “I went down a knee before it got too sappy, before it got too awkward. I don’t remember exactly what she said, but she said yes. That’s all I needed to hear.”
Cousins presented his bride-to-be with a round-cut solitaire diamond set in white gold that he purchased during the Redskins’ bye week in October, more than a month before the proposal.
“Once I got it, it was tough to have, so I just put it out of sight in the upper corner of my closet by the Christmas decorations and just hid it back there and made sure I wasn’t even looking at it so it would be kinda out of mind,” Cousins said. “I wanted to wait and make sure I did it the right way and not rush it.”
Cousins managed to hold to the ring for a month and a half, and the proposal went mostly according to plan. He did say that there were a few minor details he would have changed about the scene in the background of the happy moment.
“I was hoping she wasn’t starting to get suspicious, and she didn’t, so that was as planned. I wanted to make sure those guys could take good pictures while I was on one knee, and they did, so that went as planned,” he laughed. “The view was great. We were trying to get it at about 5 o’clock, when the sun was setting, but it was a cloudy day, so we didn’t really get the sunset. The scaffolding was still on the monument, but I couldn’t do a whole lot about the scaffolding. I couldn’t pull some strings on that one. Couldn’t pull some strings on the sunset. There were two big cranes in the background. I would have liked to have those removed.”
Despite the minor glitches that only Cousins himself was aware of, it was a perfect moment and the happy couple is wasting no time in taking the next step. They plan to get married June 28 in Atlanta, Hampton’s hometown.
“I didn’t want a long engagement at all,” Cousins said. “If it were up to me, I’d get married next month. But obviously she needs time to prepare and have the wedding she wants and has dreamed about. But I think it’ll just be fun to have family all together in one place for a day. And I just want her to be happy and think positively on it for years to come.”
And perhaps some Potato Oles at the reception?
“That’s not a bad idea,” he said. “Maybe I’ll have to send another email and see what I can do.”