South African actor Emmanuel Castis has asked his girlfriend, Sharlene Economou, to marry him.
“She was completely caught off-guard because she didn’t think I’d do it in front of her entire family,” Emmanuel (44) says to YOU. The couple, who’ve been together since 2015, got engaged at the Komati Gorge Lodge in Mpumalanga.
With help from Sharlene’s cousins, Emmanuel prepared a spot near a dam for the big moment. Sharlene was under the impression they were only going there for cocktails. Emmanuel then said he’d spotted something through the binoculars and asked Sharlene (37) to look through them. There she saw a sign with the words: “Will you marry me?”
As the natural next step in their relationship, things don’t feel that different now that they’re engaged. “To get engaged is something we both wanted,” the Isidingo actor says.
“But we’re on cloud nine. I’m happy that I can call her my fiancée and not just my partner.”
Emmanuel also can’t wait for Sharlene, a senior revenue coordinator at a management consultancy, to see her engagement ring. During the weekend he gave her a promise ring as the engagement ring must still be designed. And he’s not just asked the help of any jewellery designer – the ring is being created by Cheryl Kruger, the wife of his Binnelanders co-star Ben Kruger.
“We’ve talked about rings before, so Sharlene had an idea of what the ring will look like, but as the more creative one in the relationship she gave me the space to also be creative,” Emmanuel says.
The actor, who was born in Johannesburg to Greek parents, also mentioned that lockdown can sometimes be challenging. But he’s glad he could spend time with Sharlene and Anthea (9), her daughter from her first marriage.
“You discover what you’re like as a couple when you’re forced to go through something like this. It brought us closer together and made us realise we really like each other,” he says, laughing.
“We realised we can do this for the rest of our lives.”