You may recognize Ashlan Gorse as a correspondent and fill-in anchor on E! News or the new face of Murad Skincare, but lately, she’s jumping into a different role: fiancé. Last month, her boyfriend of two years, Philippe Cousteau Jr., proposed on top of the George V Hotel in Paris.
“I was totally surprised!,” Gorse says of the romantic proposal. “Our friend, Jeff Leatham, is the artistic director for the hotel, and he decked out the roof with candles and flowers. Just before the stroke of 10 p.m., Philippe snuck me up there and proposed while the Eiffel Tower sparkled in the background.”
Of course, the famous landmark wasn’t the only thing sparkling that night. Cousteau popped the question with an engagement ring he designed with the help of jeweler Jorge Adeler. Considering how shocked she was at the proposal, Gorse had no input when it came to her ring. However, Cousteau did keep her opinion in mind. “I had shown him a vintage oval ring that I loved a while back,” she shares. “He used that ring when designing mine but made it his own.”
She adds, “Honestly, it’s more beautiful and more perfect than any ring I’ve ever seen.”
The couple met in 2010 at an environmental event where Cousteau was giving a speech. Gorse knew right away that they had something special. “I called my sister the next day and told her, ‘I think I just met the man I’m going to marry.”
Given their successful careers and busy schedules, they’ve had to make an effort to ensure that they get to spend time together. Of their long-distance relationship – Gorse has to be in Los Angeles during the week, and Cousteau often travels for work – the entertainment journalist says, “It’s not always easy, but you make it work. Philippe always comes home to me in between expeditions, speeches and meetings, and we are usually together two or three weeks each month.”
Keeping a long-distance love going can be challenging, but Gorse believes that “if it’s meant to be, you’ll make sacrifices to see each other.” When she and Cousteau our apart, they talk, text and e-mail all day long – “unless, of course, Philippe is off somewhere like the Arctic.”
When they’re lucky enough to be in the same place, they always make time for just the two of them. “Philippe is the most romantic person I’ve ever met or even heard of!,” Gorse shares. “Our favorite nights are at home, cooking together or sitting in the backyard with our dog.”
Her go-to date with her fiancé is just as low-key as those relaxing nights at home: a simple picnic, something they can do “on the beach, in the hills or just around the corner.” She’s even got a menu planned: two really good cheeses, apples, radishes, cherry tomatoes, grapes, a baguette, butter and salt along with a half bottle of white wine and a half bottle of red wine.
“It doesn’t really matter where we are as long as we’re together,” she adds.
Now, in their limited time together, they have a wedding to plan. They’ve started to kick around some ideas: “We want to get married in France at a vintage estate. We want to have a fun three- or four-day party with our family and friends and lots of great wine.”
We all look to celebrities for ideas and inspiration – especially when it comes to weddings – and given her line of work, Gorse is no different. She thinks Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds as well as Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied did a great job of making their big day personal, something that she hopes to emulate with her own wedding. “I really want to make the day about me and Philippe, so we are going to make everything as meaningful as possible to us and our guests.”
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While it’s easy to get caught up in craziness of their daily lives or the many details of wedding planning, Gorse keeps what is most important in mind. “We both know how truly blessed we are to have found each other, and we cherish every moment we have together, especially the little ones,” she shares.
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