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    Reese Witherspoon & LeAnn Rimes: Can Their Men Afford Those Huge Rings?

    Eddie Cibrian, LeAnn Rimes, Reese Witherspoon, Jim Toth Fame Pictures; Flynetonline.com

    Where does someone like Eddie Cibrian get the cash for a 5-carat engagement ring? Same with that unfamous guy Reese Witherspoon is marrying.
    —jasmolak, via the inbox

    You assume that the future groom has wobbled into a jewelry store and dropped a few months' salary on a princess-cut solitaire like every other schlub in America.

    That's cute.

    But no. Celebrity engagements don't work that way:

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    In fact, if either member of the couple is paying for that ring—not always a given—it's often the woman. Read on for a blind item that'll blow your mind.

    First of all, don't assume that anyone in the future marriage is paying for the ring at all. That is, if the marriage is even real.

    Take it away, Johnny Brookheart.

    Yes, the groom pays for the ring "in most cases if it's a sincere engagement," the celebrity jewelry outfit tells me.

    But, "for a well-publicized and planned marriage you'll see the publicists and handlers shopping around for the best deal, and then the production company may write the check."

    And, dear readers, you should also know that there are sham marriages out there in Hollywood. Don't all faint at once. In those set-up type situations, jewelers have told me that engagement rings are often—not a misprint—rented for a period of time.

    Anyway, back to Brookheart. Here's what the company has to say about the money.

    "When boyfriends are paying we often arrange creative financing," I am told.

    "For celebrity clients I typically ask for half the value down and generously finance the rest for a long term....We keep a team of experts on retainer who can help us value and collateralize almost everything under the sun. Houses, horses, art, watches, etc. We'll either help them secure a loan with their assets, or we may just make a trade."

    If the guy really needs help, the couple may shill for the jewelry company in exchange for a break. After all, the Brookheart people tell me, most celebrities wouldn't be caught dead in a ring worth less than $50,000. (A more typical value for a star's engagement ring these days: At least $100,000 to $250,000.)
     
    "There are discounts for celebrities, and oftentimes those discounts depend on how willing the star is to assist in crediting the jeweler after the proposal," the Brookheart people say. "It's always a negotiation, but this is where being A-list really pays off."

    That isn't to say the groom is powerless in all this.

    "In almost every instance, the man is a significant part of making the engagement ring happen," says fellow celebrity jeweler David Alan Wegweiser of David Alan Jewelry.

    And now we've come to the blind item portion of our program.

    Once upon a time there was a pop star who wanted to get married. So the boyfriend proposed. The ring was so massive it had its own gravity field. Moons wobbled. Black holes materialized in random locations throughout Malibu.

    But the ring also looked an awful lot like a bauble that the boyfriend had tried to present to the last girl he dated.

    The newly engaged singer would have none of this.

    Through her minions, she contacted another jeweler, saying she wanted her engagement ring totally reworked. The new jeweler pried out the main stone, melted down the rest in the Cracks of Mount Doom, and created a new setting that carried none of the stench of the ghosts of girlfriends past.

    The guy had paid for the first ring. The pop star paid for the second one. No discount.

    And no kidding.

    PHOTOS: Stars' Blingtastic Engagement Rings!

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