'Boy Meets World star Rider Strong engaged, designed fiancee's ring (Photos)
Rider Strong, who starred in the hit 1990s Disney Channel series "Boy Meets World," is engaged to actress and longtime girlfriend Alexandra Barreto, who played his love interest in a horror movie and also starred with him on a different TV show.
This will be the first marriage for the 33-year-old actor. Strong said in a statement via his rep to OTRC.com that he proposed to Barreto on December 23, while her parents were visiting for the holidays.
"I took her for a walk under the redwoods on the property where I grew up in Northern California," he said. "It was pouring rain, but it didn't look like it was going to stop anytime soon, so I just decided to go for it."
Strong also said he designed her engagement ring and that his father had done the same for his mother. (Check out exclusive photos of the ring and the process of making it, as well as more pictures of Strong and Barreto.)
"I spent weeks making the ring in secret," the actor said. "I found an old-school jeweler who works out of his basement in Echo Park and asked him to teach me how to do a lost wax casting (it took a while to convince him I didn't want to become an apprentice jeweler -- I only wanted to make this one ring)."
"My brother and I write together at his loft in downtown LA, so I was able to set up a workspace there," he added. "I carved the ring out of wax, and then cast it in white gold. I had my dad make a wooden ring box for me. My dad made my mom's ring, so I was following in his footsteps."
Strong and Barreto met on the set of "Pepper Dennis," a WB comedy series starring Rebecca Romijn as a Chicago local news reporter. Strong played her cameraman Chick, who has the hots for her, while Barreto played a weather reporter. The show debuted in 2006 and was canceled after one season.
That year, Strong and Barreto also filmed the horror movie "Tooth and Nail." They played a romantic couple in the film, which is about people trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic Philadelphia that is overrun by cannibals. The actor told FEARNet in 2008 that the two fell in love on the set of the film.
"We had actually done a show together before, 'Pepper Dennis' for the WB. So when 'Tooth and Nail' came up they were asking if I knew of any actresses, so we brought her along," he said. "And then of course it worked in my favor because we fell in love during the course of filming."
Also in 2008, the two and Rider's brother Shiloh filmed a television ad for Barack Obama's presidential campaign.
Strong rose to fame playing Shawn Hunter in "Boy Meets World," a Disney Channel comedy series that aired between 1993 and 2000 and starred Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel. The latter two stars are set to reprise their roles in a new Disney channel spin-off pilot called "Girl Meets World." Strong said in a statement on his and his brother's website that he is not involved in the project currently.
"'Boy Meets World' was a defining aspect of my life, and I cherish those seven years," he said. "It was never just a job - on a personal level, many of my best memories and friendships were formed because of it. So I am extremely happy for Ben and Danielle to be able to continue the story. At this point, I have no official involvement in 'Girl Meets World.'"
"There might be a chance to see some of the 'BMW' cast in a guest spot, and I think it would be nice to find out where our characters have been all these years," he added. "But 'Girl Meets World' will be, and I think it should be, its own show. It will be about Cory and Topanga, their daughter, and a new set of characters."
After "Boy Meets World" ended its run, Strong went on to attend Columbia University and graduated in 2004. He also continued his acting career. He did voice work for the Disney Channel animated series "Kim Possible," portraying Brick Flagg, and also starred in the 2002 horror film, "Cabin Fever" and its 2009 sequel. He has also had parts on shows such as "Bones" and "Castle."
Barreto appeared on a different episode of "Castle" and also starred in shows such as "Pushing Daisies," "NCIS" and "Justified." Before "Pepper Dennis" aired, she played Maria Rodriguez on "The District."
Barreto and Strong have not announced a wedding date.
"Thanks for the love today!" she Tweeted on Thursday. "Excited to start this marriage thing with @RiderStrong. Not the planning. Maybe someone else can do that. Mom?"