“Falling in love while making a movie about falling in love is pretty special,” the actor told PEOPLE’s former Editor-in-Chief Jess Cagle in an episode of
The pair made their first public appearance together at the premiere of
“It definitely got noticed because I try to keep my personal life different,” the notoriously private Elba said of the attention he and his date garnered at the time.
In February 2018, Elba popped the question. Of his romantic engagement, the British heartthrob told PEOPLE that his bended-knee proposal “was the most nerve-wracking thing for me ever,” adding, “But in terms of wanting to make someone feel super special and feel my love, that was pretty romantic for me.”
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Elba, who is a father to 17-year-old daughter Isan and 4-year-old son Winston, had planned to propose to Dhowre on Valentine’s Day “but that was going to be problematic” so he decided to do it at a screening of his film,
“It was a little spontaneous if I’m honest,” he said. “I was at a cast and crew screening and among people I loved. We had all worked so hard for this project so I was like I’m doing it right now, here, today.”
The actor’s proposal also unexpectedly went viral when someone posted a video of it online.
“Yeah, I didn’t expect it to quite make British news and American news and Japanese news, for that matter,” Elba said, laughing. “It was quite a public affair. But it really wasn’t meant to be on the news.”
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Following the engagement, Elba said he was looking forward to planning the couple’s perfect celebration. “It’s a special day, but we both have our own ideas,” he shared. “I want about 19 deejays. There have to be, C’mon!”
As for what made Dhowre “the one,” Elba revealed the two “have good chemistry.”
“She makes me laugh and we share common goals. She makes me happy,” he said. “She makes me celebrate my successes and when I’m not too sure about stuff, she makes me think.”