Derek Hough and Hayley Erbert engaged after 7 years of dating

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Derek Hough and Hayley Erbert will soon be dancing down the aisle!

The “Dancing With the Stars” judge and his longtime girlfriend are engaged, the couple announced via Instagram on Thursday.

“It’s only the beginning…the beginning of forever ♥️,” they captioned the sweet pic, which showed Hough picking his new fiancée up in the air.

“Congratulations!!!!!! About time man !!!!” wrote “DWTS” pro Sasha Farber, with Lindsay Arnold adding, “OH MY GOSH 😍😍😍😍❤️❤️❤️❤️ I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU BOTH 😭😭 love you so much @hayley.erbert @derekhough.”

“Step Up” star Jenna Dewan also chimed in, commenting, “Awwwwww yay congratulations!!!!!!❤️❤️❤️❤️.”

Model Heidi Klum added, “finally ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ most gorgeous couple ever 😍.”

Fans have been speculating for awhile now whether an engagement was coming, after Hough, 37, and Erbert, 27, started to become more open with sharing the more private details of their relationship in recent years.

The lovebirds, who started dating in 2015, initially tried to keep their romance under wraps but admitted that doing so felt “exhausting.”

“It’s just tiring. It was liberating, honestly, just being like, ‘Hey, this is our relationship. This is cool. This is what it is and it’s great,’” Hough told Entertainment Tonight in October 2020.

“I think I just kind of got almost conditioned to feel or believe that I have to hide everything. When in reality I was just like, ‘You know what? There’s a freedom to just being open about it,’” he continued. “It’s been wonderful and it’s brought us closer together in certain things. It just feels good. It feels light.”

In another ET interview from 2017, Hough detailed the importance of really getting to know a partner before getting down on one knee.

“I want to marry once. I want to be with that person that I love dearly,” Hough said at the time. “I want to get to know that person. I feel like if anything, it’s something that I don’t feel like should be rushed into doing at all.”

No longer feeling the need to hide their undeniable chemistry, Hough and Erbert have since allowed the world to watch their love story unfold off the dance floor in a series of videos posted to their joint YouTube channel.

In a video from September 2020, Hough even acknowledged the No. 1 question fans kept sending in: “When are you going to propose?”

Hough shrugged it off, explaining at the time that it wasn’t due to a lack of commitment, but because he simply didn’t feel pressured to get engaged when what he had with Erbert was already so strong.

In another video, posted one month later, Erbert spoke about their early days as a couple and admitted that she initially kept Hough at a distance.

“I wouldn’t say I was playing hard to get, but I definitely didn’t show Derek me,” she confessed.

Hough, meanwhile, said that he was smitten from the get go, gushing over everything from her smile to the affection she displayed to her cats: “I saw her heart and I was like, ‘I love that.’”

He also adorably shared that whenever Erbert chews a certain type of gum, or wears a specific type of perfume, it immediately takes him back to the moment when they first locked lips.

“Five spearmint gum, if she chews that now, I get transported back to that first kiss,” he said.

Even before getting engaged, Hough and Erbert were open with their fans about wanting to start a family together in the future.

Erbert said she ideally would like three kids, adding, “But I might pop out one and be like, ‘I’m done.’”

Hough agreed, saying, “I want children, [but] I don’t know how many. I guess I’ll know after the first one, like, ‘Yeah, let’s do this again!’”

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