Evelyn Lozada hit a slam dunk in the love department!
The Basketball Wives alum, 47, is engaged to Lavon Lewis, who she met on Peacock’s Queens Court, PEOPLE can exclusively reveal.
Lewis, 42, popped the question on Lozada’s birthday in December at a small gathering with friends and family in Los Angeles.
“The thing about Evelyn is, it is very hard to surprise her,” the marketing firm cofounder tells PEOPLE. “I told her to pack her bags, we’re going somewhere. She was blindfolded until she got to the front door. She walked in to about 20 close friends and family and the big ‘marry me’ letters, roses on the ground, things like that.”
The proposal also featured a custom cake with butterflies; one side said “Happy Birthday,” while the other read, “She said, ‘Yes.'”
Courtesy of Ziv Sade/Peacock
Lozada — who was briefly married to NFL player Chad “OchoCino” Johnson in 2012 — didn’t expect the proposal, even though she and Lewis talked in the past about tying the knot. In fact, only Lozada’s manager and two of Lewis’s friends knew that he planned to pop the question when he did.
“I didn’t know that he was going to propose that day,” Lozada says. “I didn’t know what I was walking into. He was being very sneaky and, in all honesty, I was a little irritated because I’m such an alpha female and I’m kind of like, why do I have to pack? Why do I have to do this? It was really, really difficult for me to just let go and allow him to do his thing.”
Despite wanting be in the know, Lozada loved the Twila True ring Lewis picked out. “It was the perfect size and shape,” says Lozada, who partnered with Twila True on her BX Glow jewelry line. “I’ve never had that stone, so he did a really, really good job. But I’m not surprised. Lavon is a creative mind and he doesn’t forget anything.”
On Queens Court, Lozada and singers Tamar Braxton and Nivea dated a group of 21 men who could be their potential kings. Lozada met Lewis on the second episode and, while their connection grew over the course of the show, the reality star worried that the physical distance between them (she lives in Los Angeles, he resides in Atlanta) could be an obstacle in their relationship.
Though Lozada and Lewis still live on separate coasts, she says “Lavon has been very proactive of making sure he gets on a plane to come visit.”
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Once Lewis’s 13-year-old son Jordan heads to high school, Lewis says he plans to relocate so he and Lozada can bring their family under the same roof.
Jordan also got to meet Lozada’s 8-year-old son Leo over the holidays and “they were like two peas in a pod,” says Lozada, who is also mom to daughter Shaniece Hairston, 29, from a previous relationship. “In the morning, Jordan would be sleeping and Leo would want to wake him up to go on the trampoline at 7:30 in the morning.”
Because of how much they value their kids, it’s no surprise Lewis wants his son to be involved in this next phase of his life.
“I make sure he’s included in all of the conversations, so he doesn’t feel like it’s my journey. It’s our journey,” Lewis says. “He even texts Evelyn, ‘I love you. Goodnight.’ They’re really, really close, so I’m happy about that.”
Lewis also calls Lozada “the most amazing woman I’ve met” — and he didn’t even believe he’d find love on the show.
“Before the show started, I told my friends that I don’t believe in the process,” Lewis admits. “I came on the show thinking, ‘They called me, this is a new adventure. It’ll be fun. I’m a pretty private, introverted person, but why not do something new? You can’t find love in this type of process? It’s impossible?'”
Accordingly, Lewis hopes he can inspire Queens Court viewers to take risks.
“I would challenge people to think outside of the box and have faith and push themselves,” he says. “I didn’t think I would go into it and come out of it with a wife. But look at what happens when you open yourself up and challenge yourself and step up to the plate.”
Lozada points to the fact that she, Braxton, 45, and Nivea, 40, found connections on the show as proof that you can find love at any age. Braxton even got engaged in the series finale. “Sometimes as women, you think, ‘I’m 40, my life is over,'” Lozada says. “But just to keep working at it. Never give up on love.”
Now, Lozada and Lewis look forward to getting married this coming winter.
“We know I’m not going to wear white,” Lozada jokes. “But I’m just now trying to figure out, ‘What is this going to look like? What am I going to wear?’ I have a bunch of things on Instagram saved.”
Lozada expressed on Queens Court that she felt like she settled in past relationships — but that’s not her perspective when it comes to Lewis.
“I’ve never experienced this energy,” she tells PEOPLE. “In hindsight, it’s clear, I had the wrong person in my life.”