CHICAGO star Taye Diggs had to propose to his wife five times - because she was convinced his romantic gesture was another of his practical jokes.

The hunky actor - who wed his lover Idina Menzel on 11 January (03) - asked his wife to marry him when they were naked in bed, because he wanted to ensure he caught her by surprise.

Taye recalls, "I wanted to have an anti-proposal. Because everyone around me was getting married, and you hear all these crazy, elaborate stories where it's on top of the EMPIRE STATE BUILDING.

"I really wanted to surprise her, I didn't want her to have that moment where she said, 'Okay, he's about to ask.'"

The romantic star continues, "I wanted us to both be in our natural state - just completely naked, so I waited til we were in bed and I looked at her face and did the thing and brought out the ring. And she kept on asking me if I was serious, like four of five times.

"She said, 'I don't wanna look at the ring unless I know you're serious, is this a joke?' I'm a pretty good practical joker, and she didn't want to be left out there."

08/08/2003 02:37