Dancing is their love language! Derek Hough and Hayley Erbert began captivating audiences with their stage chemistry well before they started dating.
The former Dancing With the Stars pro first connected with Erbert after she was cast as one of the dancers in his and sister Julianne Hough’s Move Live Tour in 2014. By July 2015, the performers had become a couple — and one year later, Erbert made her DWTS debut as a troop dancer.
The Nashville alum has played coy about his plans to propose to the So You Think You Can Dance alum for years, telling Us Weekly exclusively in December 2017 that he felt no pressure to walk down the aisle from his family.
“Oh, no. If anything, [we have] a lot of [family], there’s like 55 nieces and nephews,” he said after Julianne married Brooks Laich. “We got plenty, we’re fine!”
Two years later, Derek hinted that an engagement could be close while attending the 87th Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Center in New York City.
“Who knows. You never know. It’s the end of a decade, sorry, it’s the beginning of a new decade!” the Hairspray Live! actor told Us in December 2019. “2020 vision, we’ll see.”
Three months later, Derek gushed over his girlfriend and how close they became amid the COVID-19 crisis.
“We have been having date nights, which has been nice. We’re getting ready, we’re going to go out to Club Living Room,” he jokingly told Us in March 2020. “We’re going to Chateau Kitchen and, yeah, we’ve been cooking together, which has been really, really nice and it’s been good.”
When it came to taking part in the coronavirus quarantine baby boom trend, however, the Emmy winner said he and Erbert weren’t ready to start a family just yet.
“Who knows? Probably not,” he said. “[Erbert has] been trying to get a new puppy here [though].”
The couple, who share four rescue animals, used their time at home to further cement their relationship. Once COVID-19 restrictions lifted in 2021, the pair took to the road to perform alongside one another as part of Derek’s two-month residency at the Venetian in Las Vegas.
During one of their first shows in September 2021, Derek joked about getting married at one of the city’s famous little white wedding chapels.
“Honestly all jokes aside, we’re just playing up here,” he told the crowd after dropping to one knee to tie his shoe alongside Erbert. “But it really is really special to be able to do something that you love on the stage with somebody that you love so much. It really is special.”
The Ted 2 dancer agreed, saying, “Speaking of love though, I just absolutely love when he jokes around with me, like that little proposal shenanigan. Funny, wasn’t it?”
Erbert then poked fun at her love, adding, “Yeah, so because of that I have a little surprise for him. … If I’m not going to wear a ring, he’s not going to wear his pants! Let’s see how this goes.” The twosome announced their real engagement in June 2022.
Scroll down to relive Derek and Erbert’s love story: