Chris Pratt is someone who just knows.
While he waited a restrained number of months to ask previous wife Anna Faris to spend forever with him back in 2008 he just as easily could have done it the day she confessed she was leaving her first husband, actor Ben Indra. "I knew I wanted to marry her pretty soon [after I met her,]" he told People at the 2009 premiere of Parks and Recreation. "It took a while for me to admit it, because it would be crazy to be like, 'I want to marry you' the first day I met her. But I could have!"
He just as easily might have rushed in full throttle after fellow churchgoer Maria Shriver introduced him to her eldest daughter Katherine Schwarzenegger last spring. But mere months removed from announcing the end of this eight-year union to Faris, he was determined to ease his way back into the whole finding a life partner process. As an insider told E! News at the time "Chris intentionally took his time to get back into the dating field."
But try as he might to be pragmatic about love, there comes a point in every successful romance where it simply feels unnecessary to move forward with your foot hovered above the break in anticipation. And for the Avengers: Infinity War actor, 39, and the 29-year-old author and lifestyle blogger, that moment came right about the time their burgeoning relationship was outed, when they were spotted enjoying a casual Father's Day picnic. "Chris was taking things slow with Katherine at first," said the insider, but by then they had pretty much decided on exclusivity and weren't all that bothered to let the outside world in on the magic they'd found. Noted the insider, "He's not afraid to show his affection for her in public."
Or shout it aloud for his 22 million-plus Instagram followers to hear. Because just two days after the couple took one major relationship step—moving into a shared L.A.-area home—they leapt into another. "Sweet Katherine, so happy you said yes!" he wrote in the Sunday post revealing their engagement. "I'm thrilled to be marrying you. Proud to live boldly in faith with you. Here we go!"
Among the thousands offering up their congratulations on the announcement was Faris, proving the parents of 6-year-old Jack Pratt really do have that whole conscious uncoupling thing on lock. But few people are as thrilled as Schwarzenegger's clan. (Younger brother Patrick Schwarzenegger even added a "Love you brother" to the chain of well wishes streaming in for Pratt.) "Chris is treated like one of the family," a source recently told E! News. "They all really think the world of him. He makes Katherine incredibly happy and everyone is excited about them and their future as a couple."
Really, the star of the Jurassic Park franchise should have seen this coming. On paper, the L.A. native appears to be a perfect match. Growing up the daughter of legendary journalist Shriver, 62, and body builder turned actor turned Gubernator Arnold Schwarzenegger, 71—not to mention a member of the famed Kennedy clan—means she has at least some comfort with being in the spotlight. (Plus Patrick has already tested the celebrity dating waters thanks to his 2015 romance with Miley Cyrus.) But unlike Pratt's previous relationships with Faris and Everwood costar Emily VanCamp, she's not an actress, meaning they'll never have to coordinate shooting schedules or commit to crazy travel arrangements just to guarantee a little facetime.
"He really likes that she's not in the industry," one insider noted to E! News. "He likes the idea of dating somebody who isn't as heavy in entertainment."
And there's no need to have matching careers when the rest of your interests are in lockstep. Much like the Washington state native, Schwarzenegger has a love of the outdoors, often making use of the California sunshine to ride her horses and walk rescue pup Maverick.
Then there's the bond that's cemented them from the start—a shared devotion to faith. After all it was Pratt's regular churchgoing that connected him to Shriver in the first place, the onetime stripper (a career he took on temporarily to make ends meet) theorizing his Christianity was something he could give back to the world in thanks for his many blessings. "Nothing fills my soul more than to think that maybe some kid watching that would say, 'Hey, I've been thinking about that. I've been thinking about praying. Let me try that out,'" he recently told the AP.
The University of Southern California grad is also at home in a pew, often sharing inspirational faith-based quotes with her followers on social media.
So when the two crossed paths last spring, they were content to let Jesus take the wheel so to speak. Said an insider, "Chris was telling friends that he is genuinely excited to see where things go with her."
And so they set upon the path towards commitment-ville, moving at an admirably fast clip. "From the moment they met, it just seemed different for Katherine," a source told E! News last year. "This is definitely the most serious relationship she has had."
Together, they settled into the sort of easy routine that comes about when things just work. They both gravitate toward the quieter, more casual type of dates like grabbing frozen yogurt with Jack (they opted for matching medium-sized froyo with cookie dough during a July trip to L.A.'s The Bigg Chill) or just going for a walk. And when they really want to go big, it's usually for Jack's benefit, like when they brought the gradeschooler to Disneyland in December to take in the festive holiday decorations and parade, stalking through the grounds in matching Disneyland fanny packs.
"Katherine is very bonded to Jack and really loves being around kids," said the source. "She has always been good with children, but she really shines and has stepped into this role perfectly. She knows her place with him and is there to have fun and support him."
As for the weekends, those are reserved for prayer. "They go to church together and spend time with Maria," notes the insider, "and it's something they really enjoy doing together and connect on."
Their post-bible study tête-à-têtes give Shriver a chance to revel in a job well done. "Maria is very excited for Katherine," a source told E! News. "They think Chris is an amazing guy and a great catch. They are really perfect together and have similar goals and values."
While the ASPCA ambassador has spent time with Pratt's brood, savoring a day-cation with his older brother Cully Pratt to the Round Pond Estate Winery in Rutherford, Calif. in September, the couple seem to log most of their days with Schwarzenegger's L.A.-based clan.
Pratt has double dated with her dad Arnold and his girlfriend Heather Milligan, treated her brother Patrick to courtside Clippers tickets, and celebrated both Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve with her mom and the rest of her siblings, the crew spending much of 2019's early hours swimming in the pool at their resort in Cabo San Lucas and basking in the Mexico sun. "Everyone loves him and has welcomed him with open arms," noted a confidante. "Maria is crazy about him and treats him like a son."
By the time Pratt was counting down toward midnight, he already knew the months ahead would include a betrothal.
Schwarzenegger had so seamlessly fit into his world—even happily chatting it up with Faris when she and cinematographer boyfriend Michael Barrett joined the couple to take Jack trick-or-treating—that it no longer seemed like a leap of faith to dive into forever. It just felt right. "Everything seems to click with them and works," a pal explained to E! News. "They have the same values, lifestyles and priorities."
Chief among those concerns is simply making each other feel loved and happy. "Chris is enamored with Katherine," says another source. "He feels very open with her and she makes him feel at home."
It's the type of sensation that makes a guy willing to take his previously private romance public, willing to share how he feels in a gushing Instagram post that literally thanks God for putting her in his path and willing to take on another life-long commitment. "He can definitely imagine Katherine as his wife," says the source.
And once he knew, he really knew, there was simply no need for a delay.