‘Barefoot Contessa’: Ina Garten Revealed that Her Husband Jeffrey Never Actually Proposed to Her

Ina Garten is best known as the host of Food Network’s popular Barefoot Contessa. The name comes from Ina’s former specialty foods store, which she purchased in East Hampton in 1978.

Ina’s husband, Jeffrey, has been a huge part of her life — and is one of the reasons she ever moved to the Hamptons. But it turns out their romantic love story didn’t go exactly as planned.

Ina Garten with her husband, Jeffrey Garten, in 2012
Ina Garten with her husband, Jeffrey Garten, in 2012 | Jim Spellman/WireImage

‘Barefoot Contessa’ star Ina Garten has Jeffrey to thank for her career

When Ina met Jeffrey back in the 1960s, she immediately knew he was the one. Ina was only 20 when she and Jeffrey walked down the aisle, but more than 50 years later, they seem happier than ever. Ina and Jeffrey moved to Washington, D.C. early in their marriage for Jeffrey’s job. At first, Ina didn’t have a true career. However, at Jeffrey’s encouragement, she took a job at the White House. But it wasn’t enough.

Ina eventually saw an ad for a specialty foods store for sale in East Hampton, New York, called Barefoot Contessa. She and Jeffrey went to view it, and on a whim, the couple purchased the store in 1978.

“I hold it all to Jeffrey,” Ina once told Katie Couric of her success.

Jeffrey Garten kisses Ina Garten in 2011
Jeffrey Garten kisses Ina Garten in 2011 | Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images

RELATED: ‘Barefoot Contessa’: Ina Garten Revealed the Secret to Her and Jeffrey’s Happy Marriage

Ina Garten once revealed that Jeffrey never actually proposed

Jeffrey and Ina appear to be the love story everyone wants. Ina often features her husband on her cooking show, including cooking some of his favorites and hosting parties to celebrate his milestones and achievements. Jeffrey seems equally thankful to have Ina in his life. But the two didn’t quite have the conventional fairytale proposal most couples do.

While speaking with Willie Geist of TODAY, Ina revealed that Jeffrey never actually asked her to marry him. Geist explained that he proposed to his wife in their sixth-grade classroom “many years” after he first met her.

“That’s actually very different from us because Jeffrey still hasn’t proposed to me,” Ina said, putting her arm around her husband. “He just basically told me when we were getting married.” Ina didn’t give too many more details on the couple’s conversation, but it looks like she is technically still waiting for Jeffrey to get down on one knee.

Ina Garten has the best response when people ask her why she never had kids

Ina and Jeffrey once revealed that the secret to their happy marriage is trust. When Ina once purchased a home in Paris, she renovated the entire place by herself, and Jeffrey trusted that she’d make it beautiful.

Still, some might think the couple’s secret was never having kids — something uncommon for two people who wed in the 1960s. But Ina always handles it with grace when people ask why she and Jeffrey chose not to start a family.

“We decided not to have children. I really appreciate that other people do, and we will always have friends that have children that we are close to,” Ina Garten told Katie Couric in 2017, according to Insider.