After Friday’s concert at the Resch Center, Tom Mittelsteadt kept waiting for TMZ to break the news that Chilli of TLC was engaged — to him.
He popped the question backstage during the I Love the ’90s — The Party Continues Tour. She said yes. She was spotted wearing the ring onstage when TLC closed out the night.
You don’t need a fancy rose ceremony to know it doesn’t get any more by the book than that. His fiancee Nicole Brunner even gave it her blessing.
“I’ve always had a thing for Chilli,” said Mittelsteadt, of Green Bay. “Ever since I was a kid, I had a big crush on her. My fiancee knows that.”
While the two of them were waiting in line for a meet and greet with TLC’s Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas — part of the prize package Mittlesteadt scored by correctly answering a Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes question on the air with 95.9 KISS-FM’s Doug and Mary — they thought it might be fun if he proposed when he got up there. It was Brunner who suggested he up the ante by using the promise ring he had given her before they were engaged.
So when it was his turn to meet T-Boz and Chilli, he got down on one knee, pulled out the heart-shaped ring with a small black diamond in the middle and white diamond accents and asked for Chilli’s hand.
The moment was captured by a backstage videographer with the tour. A surprised Chilli, 46, first checked to make sure Brunner had given her permission and then accepted.
He proposed to me with his fiance's permission!!! First time I've ever said yes to a proposal lol. The cutest couple ever!!! I luv a Confident Woman! #greenbay was AWESOME tonight 😙😙😙😙😙😙😚😚😚 #DEMTLCGULS #demtlcfans
A post shared by Chilli (@therealchilli) on
“This is the first time I’ve ever said yes to a proposal,” she says on the video posted on her Instagram account, where it has been viewed more than 45,000 times.
“The ring fit perfectly, too,” Mittelsteadt said. “It was funny.”
Now, if you’re Mittelsteadt, a TLC fan ever since “CrazySexyCool” came out in 1994 (the first CD he ever bought), a fan who stitched a TLC pattern when his mom taught him how to cross stitch as a kid, your Friday night at the Resch can’t get much better. You’ve met Chilli. She’s wearing your ring. You’re about to head back to your seat to hear songs like “No Scrubs” and “Waterfalls” live for the first time.
And then this happens ...
Someone from the tour, who had asked to take a photo of Mittelsteadt’s ticket before he left backstage, came and found him during TLC’s performance and asked if he wanted to come up onstage when the duo performed “Red Light Special.”
Next thing you know the guy in the bright yellow I Love the ‘90s T-shirt and backward cap is being escorted onstage by a couple of TLC’s dancers, seated on a chair, his hands tied behind him and Chilli is giving him a lap dance during the very sexy 1995 hit.
The crowd loved it, and, well, so did Mittelsteadt.
“Obviously, I felt like a teenager again. It was a childhood dream come true,” he said. “I was awestruck, to be honest with you. ... I don’t even know how to explain the feeling.”
When the song was over, Chilli sent him off with a hug and he told her he loved her. He racked up a good number of high-fives from fans on his way back to his seat, and still more at night's end.
“People were saying, ‘Oh, you got a dance from Chilli!’ I had both men and women saying they were jealous about it,” he said.
It was a memory well worth the $300 promise ring he’s out.
“I was in seventh heaven on that one,” he said. “... I never would’ve guessed that would have happened in a million years.”
Brunner doesn’t mind, either, since she has upgraded to an engagement ring.
“She’s got the better of the two rings,” Mittelsteadt said.
The couple plans to marry in August 2019. You can bet there will be some TLC songs played at the reception. But for now ...
“Technically, I’m engaged to Chilli, because she said yes, and she’s wearing the ring.”
Hear that, TMZ?