The Cheetah Girls alum Adrienne Houghton (née Bailon) and Grammy award winning artist Israel Houghton never thought they would end up together when they met five years ago. But now it seems like a romantic relationship was all a part of God’s bigger plan for the couple who admit to becoming fast friends and bonding over their shared passions.
Meeting just moments before taking the stage together for a promotional event at the Christian Cultural Center in New York, the pair jokes about the one-armed hug they exchanged, and how nonchalantly they addressed one other. Little did they know that they’d end up seeing a lot of each other, telling Yahoo Lifestyle that their lives seemed to be evolving at the same pace.
“I just remember both of us going through pretty seismic changes in our lives, and kind of sharing our story with each other,” Israel recalls. “And out of that came this, ‘I like hanging out with you.’ And that’s the short version.”
However, the longer, and more interesting story involves Adrienne setting her future husband up on dates with a number of her friends. The Real co-host shares that she was committed to finding a girl for Israel, “to the point where one of my girl friends was like, ‘Well, damn, if you like him so much, why don’t you date him?” she admits.
And although she didn’t yet know that he was for her, Israel jumps to the punchline and says, “so we did.”
An unconventional first date kicked off the couple’s romantic relationship, when Israel joined Adrienne and her friends on a trip to Mexico. On day two, the paparazzi captured photos of the pair and immediately started writing stories about them.
“It was a mess,” Israel explains. “They said I was a sheik from Dubai.” Adrienne clarifies: “He was an Arab sheik that was paying for my lifestyle.”
Despite the inaccuracies of the stories that appeared in the tabloids, those headlines ultimately forced Israel and Adrienne to have a conversation about their relationship status.
“The proof is in the pudding that it was supposed to happen that way,” Israel says, “because 8 months later, we were married.”
On a trip to Paris, Israel took Adrienne on a boat ride on the Seine River. What she expected to be a restaurant boat was actually a private yacht cruising by the lit up Eiffel Tower. But he still managed to catch her by surprise with the proposal by baiting her with an Instagram opportunity.
“He told me that I was taking a picture for Instagram,” Adrienne explains. “He’s like, ‘If you take these rose petals and you turn around and you throw them, we’ll get you in slow motion and it’ll be such a cool thing for Instagram.’ So I’m like okay I got this. And so when I turned around to throw the rose petals, he was on his knee.”
The romantic moment ended with Israel nervously shoving the beautiful engagement ring onto Adrienne’s middle finger, before properly placing it on her ring finger.
Israel and Adrienne married just three months later on November 11, 2016, to commemorate the deep meaning they’ve placed on 11:11. Now, the loving couple is releasing two songs together on Israel’s new album Road To DeMaskUs. Available on Friday, the gospel singer’s latest record celebrates God’s ever-present love, while Israel and Adrienne celebrate their love for one another.
“I still really like you,” Israel says coyly, before Adrienne responds, “I like you too.”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
• Gabby Reece and Laird Hamilton on when they first met: ‘It was no love at first sight. It was infatuation after first conversation’
• How these ‘Shahs of Sunset’ stars went from a Tinder fling to the real thing: ‘Great minds swipe alike’
• How ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ alums Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon went from friends to fiancés