Already have an account?
Get back to the

‘Below Deck’ Alum Ashton Pienaar Is Engaged to Girlfriend Sarah McAlpine Cooper: ‘My Love and Respect for You Grows’

Below Deck Alum Ashton Pienaar Is Engaged to Girlfriend Sarah McAlpine Cooper
Courtesy of Ashton Pienaar/Instagram

His other half! Ashton Pienaar is engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Sarah McAlpine Cooper, after his exit from Below Deck.

Related: Former 'Below Deck' Stars: Where Are They Now?

The former reality TV star, 32, took to social media on Tuesday, September 27, to reflect on the personal milestone. “Over the last 5 years, my life’s journey has been really all over the place. I’ve shaken things up, put myself out there, done hard work on myself, and peeled back my layers,” he wrote via Instagram. “I followed my personal mantra of having security in the unknown, and kept faith that if I remained true to myself and put in the work, good things would come my way.”

Pienaar noted that he worked on himself to improve his future with Cooper, adding, “I did this all for the sake of establishing a better, more fulfilling life for myself… And for you @sarahmcalpine. For us.”

In the lengthy post, the former bosun gushed about the major life change. “From here on out, it’s you and me — taking on life’s challenges and succeeding together. My love and respect for you grows with every passing day. I am honored to call you my fiancé!❤️,” he concluded.

Related: ‘Below Deck’ Cast Through the Years: A Guide to Who’s Dated Who

The South Africa native received plenty of well-wishes from fellow Below Deck stars. João Franco, who appeared in Below Deck Mediterranean, replied, “Congrats mate ❤️❤️.”

Meanwhile, Pienaar’s former coworker Tanner Sterback praised his progress, writing, “Congratulations my friend! Happy for you and all you have accomplished. Much love! Yeewww.”

Below Deck Sailing Yacht‘s Ciara Duggan offered her support as well alongside Below Deck Med alums Anastasia Surmava and Kasey Cohen.

Pienaar previously appeared in season 6 and 7 of the hit Bravo series. He later made headlines for his altercation with chief stew Kate Chastain, which ended with him punching a window in a van. At the time, Chastain, 39, revealed that she was worried about her safety during the crew night out.

“I was scared but also just in shock,” she explained to Decider in December 2019. “I was in a place where I could not have escaped if I wanted to. I played possum, just froze and held still. Why is [Ashton] so mad right now? Why is he punching windows? Why is everybody screaming stop the van? What’s he gonna do? What is happening? It all kinda happened really fast.”

Related: Below Deck's Biggest Drama Through the Years

The Below Deck alum pointed out that her issues with the deck team continued throughout season 7. “I was working with illogical assholes. I don’t know what I could’ve done differently. I was outnumbered but also it was a very bizarre situation,” she added.

Pienaar, for his part, offered an apology to Chastain during the cast reunion amid online backlash. “I was completely drunk, I was out of my mind, I’m sorry for that,” he said in February 2020. “I hate the fact that everything has been spun the way it is. But you know what, I have to take responsibility for that because I’m the one that behaved the way I did.”

The former deckhand continued: “I’m making serious changes in my life because I’m not proud of the person I saw on camera that night. And I am extremely sorry. I have amazing relationships with all the women in my life. The way everything has turned out and the way everything has turned out in the real world now and the labels I’m being labeled with, I’m extremely ashamed of.”

The costars ultimately didn’t return for future seasons of Below Deck. Pienaar has since ventured into fitness coaching with his company AP Elite.

In this article

Got a Tip form close button
Got a tip for US?
We're All Ears for Celebrity Buzz!