Today show contributor Jill Martin got engaged to her long-time boyfriend, Erik Brooks over Memorial Day weekend, after what Martin called a “storybook” proposal. Martin told the New York Post that she had never been so surprised in her life. She said that Brooks set up what looked like a casual party in order to distract her. Then he walked her into a large tent full of cut flowers, candles, and photographs from memorable moments in their relationship. That’s when he got down on one knee and proposed.
“I started hysterically crying and it was a few minutes that I understood what was going on,” she told the Post. “I had never experienced anything like that in 43 years. To say I was happy and overjoyed — they were, of course, tears of happiness, but I could cry telling the story right now.”
Here’s what you need to know about Erik Brooks:
1. He & Jill Started Dating in 2017 After Meeting on a Dating Site
Jill Martin wrote an essay for Today in February, describing her relationship with Brooks and explaining just how happy she was with him. The 43 year old says she had already made her peace with being single before she met Brooks, whom she describes as a “Prince Charming” and the love of her life.
Jill also said she decided to try online dating after being “nudged” by her mother. She said she went on one failed date after another until she met Erik. ‘After summing up my life in three sentences and finding a picture that represented me, I had finally swiped correctly,’ she wrote. ‘Erik is kind, honest, funny and puts family first: he has three beautiful children whom I adore.’
2. He Has 3 Kids from a Previous Marriage
Jill has praised Erik for being a family man; she says she adores his three children from a previous marriage. She doesn’t have any children of her own, although she has gone public about her decision to freeze her eggs several years ago. She made the decision to freeze her eggs at a time when she was single and wanted to keep her options open for the future.
‘I thought it was giving myself an option in the future, whether I met someone or I did it on my own,’ she told the New York Post at the time. ‘I wanted to give myself that choice.’
3. He’s a Managing Partner at a Private Equity Firm
Erik Brooks is a managing partner at Abry Partners, a private equity firm based in Boston specializing in communications and media. Brooks has been with the firm since 1999, according to his LinkedIn page. Prior to that, Brooks was a vice president with New Century Holdings. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from Brown University.
4. His Parents Have Been Married for Over 5 Decades
In a February essay for Today, Jill Martin gushed about her relationship with Erik Brooks. She also said that both she and Erik come from stable families in which their parents have long-lasting, happy marriages. She wrote,
“My parents just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on Feb. 1 and Erik’s parents have been married for 55 “glorious years” as his mother Toni always chuckles! We were both lucky enough to grow up in households filled with love, support and tons of laughter (which our parents say is a huge part of the recipe for success) and we both emulate our parents’ relationships and joke that in 50 years we will be celebrating and just as in love as they are.”
5. He Designed Jill’s Engagement Ring with Help from Her Friend Jennifer Miller
Erik spent months designing Jill’s engagement ring, drawing on the input of her longtime friend, jewelry designer Jennifer Miller.
“They were in cahoots for about three months,” Jill told the New York Post. She said that she was amazed when he proposed, since, she said, she hadn’t been expecting it and she usually figures things out ahead of time. Jill said that she’s not used to surprises but that this was a very happy one. “I’ve never in my life been surprised,” she told The Post. “I’m like a detective.”