The 2022 GLAAD Media Awards turned out to be an impromptu engagement party for Nico Santos and Zeke Smith.
Smith, a two-time “Survivor” performer, surprised Santos onstage at the event – which took place at the Beverly Hills Hilton in Los Angeles on Saturday – by getting down on one knee and popping the question.
“Nico, your love taught me to love,” Smith proclaimed as the audience burst into cheers. “You are my other half and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
Although Santos’ response was inaudible to the applause, he confirmed he had accepted Smith’s proposal in an Instagram post early Sunday.
“I said yes,” he wrote in the caption alongside photos of the special moment. “You have my heart forever.”
Watch the surprise proposal video below.
The GLAAD Media Awards hold special significance for Santos, an actor beloved for his stunning performances in NBC’s “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Superstore,” and Smith. The two were introduced at the 2018 ceremony and confirmed they were a couple later that same year.
Prior to meeting Santos, Smith was introduced as transgender in a 2017 episode of “Survivor” by fellow castmate Jeff Varner. Although Smith acknowledged how devastating the moment was for him personally, he has become an outspoken LGBTQ rights advocate committed to supporting people learning to live like themselves.
“I was really scared because I didn’t know what was going to happen to my world. I didn’t know what the reaction would be,” he recalled later that year. “What this experience has shown me is that I have so much love in my life…I have never felt more loved than I do right now.”
Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Smith moved to Los Angeles shortly after his second “Survivor” stint ended. Since then, he has pursued a career as a writer for television.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly last year, he hinted that marriage would soon be in the cards for him and Santos.
“We just bought a house and are mired in the domestic bliss of choosing paint colors, figuring out where exactly that draft is coming from, and replacing appliances that were working perfectly on inspections!” he told the publication.