Some people just know when they've found their person.
They tell stories of returning home from first dates only to call up a parent or best friend, excitedly announcing that this is it: They've met their future spouse. Others require years of joint holidays and family gatherings and shared bathroom space to be absolutely certain they have their match.
In Megan Fox's case, though, it was love at first mention.
Chatting with Midnight in the Switchgrass director Randall Emmett on his and then-fiancée Lala Kent's podcast in July 2020, she recalled inquiring who was going to fill the empty chair on set. "And he was like, 'Oh, we just got Machine Gun Kelly,'" she said, "and immediately, I was like, 'Uh oh.' Because I knew, I could feel that some wild s--t was going to happen to me from that meeting but I wasn't sure what. I just felt it in my solar plexus that something was going to come from that."
Something turned out to be a lifelong romance, the hip-hop star turned pop-punk artist, 31, dropping to one knee Jan. 11 in the same spot on their Puerto Rican movie set where he first fell hard and fast for the 35-year-old actress.
"It's a place that's special to them and where they first fell in love," a source told E! News of the banyan tree where Kelly proffered the custom emerald-and-diamond bauble. "He asked me to marry him. And just as in every lifetime before this one, and as in every lifetime that will follow it, I said yes," Fox shared in her Instagram announcement. "…and then we drank each other's blood."
Sounds about right for a pair who have been telling friends that they are soul mates practically from the beginning.
Or whatever the term is for a connection even stronger than that. Because from that first meeting on the Puerto Rico set, when Fox—newly single, having quietly separated from husband of nine years Brian Austin Green in late 2019—invited her costar for lunch in her trailer, she was 100 percent sure.
"The second I was in a room with him and said hello to him and looked into his eyes, I knew right away that he was what I call a twin flame," she shared on the Give Them Lala…With Randall podcast. "Instead of a soul mate, a twin flame is actually where a soul has ascended into a high enough level that it can be split into two different bodies at the same time. So we're actually two halves of the same soul, I think. And I said that to him almost immediately, because I felt it right away."
Really, what she felt, she shared in a September 2020 Nylon profile of Kelly, was this all-consuming sensation that this was something she simply had to pursue. "I looked into his eyes [and] I felt the most pristine, most gentle, most pure spirit," she recalled. "My heart shattered immediately and I just knew that I was f--ked."
And if that's where things started, it's not all that surprising that she and Kelly—who wears a vial of her blood Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton-style—have been describing their love in forever-type terms, seeing themselves as "life partners," as one insider described it to E! News, well before making things official.
Having met each other's families (she shares sons Noah, 9, Bodhi, 7, and Journey, 5, with Green; he's dad to Casie, 12, with ex Emma Cannon), "They are taking steps every day to build on that," the insider continued. "MGK has met her kids and is becoming a part of their lives. She wanted to make sure it was going in a serious direction and they both feel very strongly that it is."
Like, verrrrrrrry strongly, in case that wasn't clear.
Because Kelly (born Colson Baker before creating what he called his "gangster" alter ego at 15) was every bit as done for as Fox at that initial meeting, gamely submitting to what she called her "900,000" questions. "I put him through all of this astrology stuff," Fox said of discovering that their late April/mid May birthdays put them both in the Taurus category. "I went deep right away. I knew before I even did his chart, I said to him, he has a Pisces moon. I could tell by his energy."
From there, MGK continued on the podcast, "I just waited outside on my trailer steps everyday I worked just to catch one glimpse of eye contact. She has the most gorgeous eyes I've ever seen."
When the coronavirus forced production to shut down in mid-March 2020, the two didn't miss a beat, returning to California to grow their connection together in solitude. And by May, when they were seen grabbing takeout in Calabasas, it became clear that Fox's separation from Green wasn't going to be quite as temporary as the Beverly Hills, 90210 alum may have hoped.
"They've been hanging out a lot since their movie was shut down," a source told E! News of Fox and Kelly at the time. "The down time has been good for them....They are intrigued by each other and having a lot of fun."
A self-described homebody who once told Cosmopolitan, "I've never been a social butterfly," Fox was excited by the change of pace after spending much of her adult life in the same romance. "She has only been with Brian for many years and this is very different," said the source. "She's into it."
For Kelly, who had most recently enjoyed a brief romance with model Sommer Ray (she claimed during an appearance on Logan Paul's Impaulsive podcast that he "kinda cheated" on her with Fox), it was also unlike anything he'd experienced.
True love and a soul-shaking connection were just ideas to him "until me and her made eye contact," he said on The Howard Stern Show in September 2020. "That's when I was like, 'Whoa.'" Falling hard for Fox, he continued, "was my first experience with being open to love and stuff like that. I definitely wasn't set up to believe that that's something that could ever exist."
By the time they reported back to the Midnight in the Switch Grass set in July, they'd already cemented their place in pop culture, immortalizing their chemistry in his "Bloody Valentine" music video. So making things Instagram official was the next logical step, Fox memorably telling her "Achingly Beautiful Boy" in an Aug. 5 post that "My heart is yours."
So, yes, while 2020 wasn't on most people's highlight reels, the year gave both the Transformers alum—a men's magazine fixture since bursting onto the scene in the mid-aughts—and the actor-musician much to celebrate.
In September, Kelly released his fifth album, Tickets to My Downfall. The first of his discs to top the Billboard charts, it tackled recurring issues of addiction, heartbreak and self-destructive behaviors, themes he hopes to put in the past with Fox's support.
"Currently, my drug of choice is happiness and commitment to the art, rather than commitment to a vice that I believed made the art," he told pal Dave Franco in a December 2020 chat for Interview. Hoping to firmly ditch the Adderall he once felt was responsible for his creative genius, "I'm taking steps," he continued. "I had my first therapy session last Thursday. That's the first time I ever went, 'Hey, I need to separate these two people,' which is Machine Gun Kelly and Colson Baker. The dichotomy is too intense for me."
The journey, he admitted, hasn't been the easiest, as he untangles the wounds of a childhood that included an absent mother, a strict and religious father and the bullies at his Cleveland high school who didn't believe the Chipotle employee in hand-me-down clothes who insisted he was destined for superstardom.
"I'm early in the process. The tools that I've been given to start with seem helpful, I think," Kelly said. "I'm still kind of ripping my hair out. Why am I not changing overnight? How am I supposed to meditate for 10 minutes when I can't even sit in my own brain for two minutes without distracting myself by doing something? That's really hard. But the commitment to change is inspiring, and I think will reverberate through the universe and definitely through my family. I can see it already with the people around me. The willingness to finally be happy with my own self has invited a much more vibrant energy around us than before."
He's been leaning hard on friend and collaborator Travis Barker "because he's lived it," but Fox's unwavering support has been crucial. "When you have a partner, mine being Megan, sitting there with you on those dark nights," he said, "when you're sweating and not being able to figure out why you're so in your head, to help you get out of your head and put it in perspective, that really, really helps."
With Fox at his side, he's transitioning away from the guy who once rapped about seeing a wife as "just somebody I f--k." In the public eye since he signed with Bad Boy Records in 2011, "You have in your head that you're this rock star, with multiple women and all that…" he riffed to Nylon. "So finding someone that can take you out of the fast lane and make sure that you're safe, because at any minute you can crash—I love that it can evolve into that."
And it's not so much that Fox, who told MTV in 2012, "I hate going out and being in crowds or being in clubs," is policing his behavior. "There's never an attempt to control him on my end," she explained to Nylon. "It's more that he looks to me to avoid his own self destructive tendencies. And that's where I'm useful because on his own and left to his own devices I don't know how much interest he has in caring for himself."
Now as the couple tick off the type of relationship milestones that only take place in Hollywood (first joint red carpet: check; tattoos suggestive enough to drive their combined fan base wild: uh-huh) and tie up loose ends, including Fox officially filing for divorce from Green after they'd worked out all the necessary custody arrangements, they can only envision a world that has the other in it.
A "once in a lifetime thing," Fox said of their romance, "Loving him is like being in love with a tsunami or a forest fire. The intensity of merging with him is just overwhelming, and the threat it poses is so powerful but so beautiful that you have no choice to surrender with reverence and with gratitude."
In other words, prepare for more photos of the impossibly (dare we say achingly?) beautiful couple, concert PDAs and chatter about her future baby daddy. As Kelly put it in his own engagement announcement, "yes, in this life and every life."
(This story was originally published on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020 at 12 a.m. PT.)