Remembering that magical day. Orange Is the New Black star Samira Wiley and fiancee Lauren Morelli are still on cloud nine after getting engaged this past October.
In a new interview with Out, the lovebirds shared romantic details from Morelli’s surprise proposal. “We’d planned this weekend in Palm Springs. I’m pretty laid-back; if it’s five in the afternoon and Lauren wants to beat the traffic, I’m just hanging around,” Wiley, 29, told the magazine. “That day, I wanted to be good and get my packing done. She got home and was just not ready to go, and I was confused.”
Morelli–who first met Wiley back in December 2012 while writing for OITNB–asked her girlfriend to take a seat. To Wiley’s surprise, Morelli then pulled out an engagement ring from behind the sofa.
“Lauren has been married before, so I wanted her to tell me she was ready, [for] her to be the one to propose,” Wiley said of her fiancee. (Morelli was previously married to a man when she and Wiley first met.) “I didn’t know she was as ready as she was. I was completely shocked. I was crying uncontrollably and kept backing away from her. I asked her after, ‘Who knows about this?’ and she said, ‘Oh, everyone. Your parents know.’ We didn’t tell anyone else for a few days. That was really important to us–to have some time where it was just ours.”
Before the proposal, Morelli was tasked with writing the OITNB scene in which Wiley’s character, Poussey, was (spoiler alert!) killed off. Wiley then moved from New York City to Los Angeles to be with Morelli.
“We were coming up on our three-year anniversary, and I was like, ‘I will wait until we have our three years and then propose,”’ Morelli recalled. “Then I thought, ‘What am I waiting for if I know I want this woman to be my wife and I want to spend my life with her?’”
The lovebirds were scheduled to spend time apart due to conflicting work schedules–Morelli would soon be back on set in New York and Wiley would be traveling to Toronto to film The Handmaid’s Tale.
“We’d planned this trip to Palm Springs as a light at the end of the tunnel,” Morelli explained. It was also ideal timing for a proposal.
“I found a ring, and they shipped it to me, and it was as if someone had handed me a ball of fire and said, ‘Here, tend to this,’” Morelli told the publication. “I was so nervous and terrified she knew it was coming, but she was so shocked that I couldn’t get her to stop crying. She was very clear she’d wait for me to be ready, so to give her something I knew she wanted so much was incredible. It was the most magical day of my life.”
Although the women felt an instant connection when they met back in 2012, it took a while for Morelli to become comfortable with her sexuality. “There’s this Sara Bareilles song we love called ‘I Choose You.’ For so long in our relationship, I wasn’t ‘the one;’ I was just waiting and being supportive of Lauren’s journey,” Wiley said. “To see her embrace her sexual orientation the way she has is like that song: ‘I choose this life as a gay woman, and we choose to spend this life together.’ I know I would not be where I am without Lauren. When I was first being thrust into the public eye, I wouldn’t talk about my orientation. Being with Lauren taught me self-love.”
Morelli said of her future wife, “She’d always tell me jokingly that she was just trying to get ‘chose.’ She’d do the dishes, and I’d go, ‘Oh, thank you, that means a lot to me.’ And she’d go, ‘Just tryna get chose, bae. Just tryna get chose.’ So when I proposed, I made that the theme of the proposal: ‘I choose you.’”
On October 4, 2016, Wiley took to Twitter to share the couple’s engagement news. Alongside a photo of the happy couple, she wrote, “I’ll do anything with this one.”
I’ll do anything with this one…💍 pic.twitter.com/CIS5nMVeS4
— Samira Wiley (@samirawiley) October 4, 2016