Courtney Stodden is engaged to partner Chris Sheng, a year after the reality star ended their controversial marriage to actor Doug Hutchinson, who they wed at age 16.
Courtney, now 26 and who came out as non-binary last month, announced the news on Instagram on Sunday, May 30, almost a year to the date of their past wedding. In a video, Courtney flashes a giant halo-style cushion-cut diamond ring. The star captioned the pic, "I said yes ...OH and the ring made me gag it's so beautiful #engaged #stopasianhate #diamondsareagirlsbestfriend."
"Chris got down on one knee while I was crying my eyes out!" Courtney told E! News exclusively. "We returned home from a night out in Palm Springs and in between the rosè and pent up feelings, I needed a good cry!"
The star added that they got emotional because "everything within the last few weeks has dredged up a lot of past trauma."
"It really was such a sweet moment," Courtney continued. "He reminded me that I'm not alone and said, 'I'm never going anywhere. I'll always be here for you.'"
Chris, a 41-year-old entrepreneur who founded and works as a consultant for several startups, and Courtney have been together for more than three years. On Sunday, He posted a couple of photos of the star wearing the ring and a shot of a candlelit dinner table on Instagram, writing, "So this happened! Not how I planned but the moment was right. On Friday, May 28 I proposed to the love of my life and they said Yes."
Chris continued, "I feel so blessed and fortunate. We have both grown so much since we first met, and the fact that we have both been able to grow into better, stronger, more secure individuals while still being in a relationship together makes me have faith that this partnership will last a lifetime. For the first time we're both experiencing unconditional love. The truest kind of love. The kind where we may not always like each other but will ALWAYS love each other. I promise to always be your rock, support, and shoulder to lean on - no matter what. I got you. Ily."
Courtney told E! News that they "never pictured myself getting married again," adding, "But I knew in that moment that it was right and that he truly loves me. He's stayed by my side through some of the hardest times in my life. I said 'yes' and hugged him tight. And then I said, 'Let's see the ring!!!' My head was spinning!"
Courtney said the engagement ring reminds them of Daisy Buchanan's from The Great Gatsby, one of their favorite movies. "It was blinding!" they said. "I was so excited and overwhelmed, I took the ring out of the box myself and ran around the corner with it, like a child."
Courtney added, "I know this time around I want a huge princess wedding. Something that makes me feel like it's all been worth it. This time I don't need parental consent. This time is real. I'm one hundred percent showing up as an adult and making my own choices. But the wedding — that'll take some time (and a lot of help) to coordinate. I'm just so overwhelmed! And can't believe it's all happening so fast."
In 2011, a 16-year-old then-unknown Courtney made international headlines and faced some online bullying after it was announced they had married Doug, then 51 and known for his roles of Horace Goodspeed on the hit series Lost and corrections officer Percy Wetmore in the 1999 film The Green Mile. He married the teen, his third wife, in on May 20 of that year in Las Vegas. In Nevada, 16 is the age of consent and people that young are allowed to legally marry with permission from a legal guardian.
Following a backlash over their relationship, the couple said in a statement, "We're aware that our vast age difference is extremely controversial. But we're very much in love and want to get the message out there that true love can be ageless."
In 2012, Courtney, who the media often dubbed "Teen Bride," and Doug appeared on Couples Therapy. In 2013, Courtney also appeared on Celebrity Big Brother. Also that year, the couple broke up after less than two years of marriage, saying in a statement that at age 19, Courtney was "interested in exploring life as an unmarried single young adult."
In 2014, the couple reconciled and got engaged again. Also that year, Courtney opened up about their controversial relationship and marriage on E! True Hollywood Story: Reality Ex Wives, saying, "I had no idea what I was getting myself into, to be honest. But it was exciting to me to be with the man I loved and experience my first sexual encounter."
In 2016, Courtney announced they were pregnant with the pair's first child but miscarried a couple of months later. In 2018, Courtney filed for divorce from the actor. It was finalized two years later.
"It's March 3rd, 2020 - today I am officially divorced from actor Doug Hutchison," Courtney wrote on Instagram at the time, alongside a throwback photo of the former couple, according to CNN. "It's an emotional day for me. God only knows how he's feeling, but I can tell you that it's for the better."
Courtney also addressed Doug directly. "I'll always love you; yet I'll always be angry," they wrote. "You've left me — a child woman, feeling belittled and confused. These things I shall overcome. I wish you well. But please don't ever do this to another minor again. It's not right … even if the parent signs off. Wait a respectable amount of time before marrying. Children aren't on your level. I'll always love you regardless. Be better. As shall I."