Josh Duhamel proposed at the last minute without a ring: still romantic?

As I mentioned when we discussed Josh Duhamel stepping into the Mighty Ducks: Game Changers role, he was recently engaged to his 28-year-old girlfriend, Audra Mari. I don’t know much about Audra. She was Miss World in 2016 and they’ve been dating since 2019. We know that Josh’s ex-wife, Fergie, congratulated the couple on their engagement, which is a nice sign of harmony in the family. While promoting his partnership with Heluva Good! Dips, Josh let us in on a few details about the actual proposal. The couple was vacationing in the Florida Keys were he was inspired to stage a proposal involving a message in a bottle to wash up on shore. That’s a cute concept and fortunately the bottle didn’t wash into the hands of some obsessed fan who now thinks she’s Josh’s intended. The only downside to the impromptu proposal was Josh didn’t have some of the normal proposal props, like a ring.

The right time. Josh Duhamel knew the exact moment that he wanted to propose to fiancée Audra Mari, but his surprise proposal left him without one crucial item.

“I just sort of decided last minute that was how I wanted to do it,” Duhamel, 46, exclusively told Us Weekly while talking about his proposal on Tuesday, January 25. “I didn’t have anything planned. I didn’t have a ring yet. I was like, ‘OK, you gonna do this today. Today’s the day.’ And that’s just how it all kind of happened.”

Even though the Transformers star was on vacation in the Florida Keys with Mari, 28, he still wanted to pop the question in a “beautiful” way and settled on sending the former pageant queen a literal message in a bottle. “I coordinated with [the concierge] there to make sure that bottle was floating up to shore as we were walking out there,” Duhamel recalled while promoting his Heluva Good! Dips partnership.

[From Us]

I think it’s sweet that Josh got caught up in the moment. In my hierarchy of proposing, that would be more important to me than having a ring present. But, of course, that’s me. And coincidently, how it happened for me. My husband proposed with no ring, concierge, ocean or message in a bottle present. So I guess I’m biased. Plus, this way Audra can help select her ring.

The Us article gave a little more information on the couple. Josh said they were long distance for a while due to the pandemic. Audra had moved back to her hometown of Fargo, North Dakota at the start but they made it work. Josh also said the distance is what probably delayed the engagement. That makes sense. Most importantly, though, he said Audra and his eight-year-old son, Axl, have a strong bond and that Axl’s “very excited” about their engagement. That would explain Fergie’s approval. So you know what – good for them. It’s a hell of an age gap and hopefully Josh has left his wandering ways, but they sound good on paper at least.

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22 Responses to “Josh Duhamel proposed at the last minute without a ring: still romantic?”

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  1. RoyalAssassin says:

    Well, let’s face it: we’ve seen some huuuuuge rings on a million fingers, and it never amounted to anything. Bless him for being spontaneous and original and just in love!

    • Snazzy says:

      Yes! Plus the whole ring this was just a marketing ploy created by De Beers to sell more stones anyway! Better to be romantic and just tell the person you love them.

    • Nikki says:

      I agree!! Too much is scripted, monetized, and staged about proposals now; more spontaneous and from the heart is great!!

  2. North of Boston says:

    I don’t know much about either of them but I do know this:

    Message In A Bottle > Ring

    A ring is just a ring. You can buy one anywhere especially if you have the funds these two likely do. But a Message in a Bottle? It’s a freakin’ Message in a Bottle! It’s so much more special and says “I want to be your person; do you want to be my person? Please?” Sweet!

  3. Songs (Or It Didn't Happen) says:

    Audra can pick out a ring with him that they both love and is, you know, something she would and can actually wear day to day. I think I’d prefer that and it’s sweet to do together, no?

  4. Wiglet Watcher says:

    Doesn’t seem last minute. Idk why he said it like that. She wasn’t going away.
    My husband and I decided we were going to marry each other. The ring was still being assembled. There were 2 proposals in that sense. First the agreement and then the ring. I’m sure he’ll do it again with a ring.
    I think it’s a lost idea of one person springing the question on another without previous agreements.

  5. Harla says:

    My husband proposed at the spur of the moment and without a ring too. We went the next and picked one out together and then he re-proposed in the jewelry store, much to my extreme embarrassment! 22 years later and we’re still going strong.❤️

  6. Jen says:

    I found out my husband wanted to propose back in March 2020 and had bought an expensive ring, but since it was the beginning of the pandemic we were out of money since I lost my job and he was able to return it to get his money back. I told him if an expensive ring was the only thing keeping him from proposing, not to let that stop him because I didn’t want anything expensive anyway. He ended up proposing with a $10 ring he got on eBay after the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup, and that ended up being the perfect proposal. And my eventual engagement ring and wedding ring stack cost about $100 together!

  7. Lucy2 says:

    I think lots of people do that, especially if it’s spur of the moment, and then if you want a ring you pick one out together later. Not everyone even wants a ring.

  8. Scal says:

    He’s also from North Dakota (minot) so I think it’s nice he’s with from someone back there. It’s a small state they prob know some of the same places/people. They can talk about the winters lol

    • Meg says:

      Yes for that reason i feel like their connection may be better than with fergie. She refused to go to his cabin in Minnesota he built because she didn’t seem to have that interest which sounds like a big part of his life

      • bananapanda says:

        I always got the sense that Josh wanted more kids bc he likes being a dad and Fergie didn’t want more than one. It may be why Josh went after a younger woman (to be blunt about).

  9. Lila says:

    It’s cute. I like it. Plus she’ll get to pick out exactly the ring she wants. That’s awesome!

  10. Twin Falls says:

    That’s cute and they seem happy.

  11. Julie says:

    I always think a woman should pick her own ring. You’re going to wear it for the rest of your life, so you should be able to get something you really like! My husband knew better than to pick a ring for me. I designed my own, and I still get compliments on it.

  12. LeenaK says:

    I proposed to my husband without a ring. He said yes and couldn’t give two hoots about the jewelry. I get that a ring might be really important to some people, but the genuine feelings and desire to communicate “I want to be with you forever” are the main things. Without those, a ring is just decoration.

  13. meloroast says:

    Oh look another washed up actor marrying a woman half his age. Yawn.

  14. jferber says:

    It’s not the ring thing for me, but the getting down on one knee. It may seem ridiculous to some, but I really wanted that and didn’t get it. It’s been over 23 years and marrying him was one of the best decisions I ever made. I know it’s a small thing, but: Question: How many guys actually do this and does/did it matter to you?

    • Nope says:

      Mine did, and it mattered to me that he did.
      I have another friend who got down on her knees when he did, just because that felt right to her.

      It’s an old-fashioned formality, and we have so few formal rituals left these days. There are a lot of advantages to a less rigid and structured expectation, but sometimes you want the classic, not the a freeform or modernized iteration, and that’s okay.

      For me an aspect that was important to me to evade was the “asking of permission”, or the more modern “blessing”. I really didn’t want to have a serious intense spiritual moment with my parents about it. So we decided we were announcing it by him showing up with a 10-lb sack of rice and a six-pack of root beer (they don’t drink) and a “here’s the bride price”. It was really funny and made the announcement while circumventing the moment my parents would have wanted to have and that I did not–I think without them realizing it, which I also wanted, to avoid them being upset.

  15. Alexia says:

    He’s much older than her. I suspect she just goes along with whatever. I’m getting Chris Pratt/ Katherine Schwarzenegger vibes from this pair.

  16. E says:

    They look like siblings to me in that pic of the proposal on the beach.