Karina Smirnoff On How She Knew Fiance Brad Penny Was ‘The One’

Karina Smirnoff is planning to keep her last name when she and fiancé Brad Penny finally tie the knot – and she’s got a good reason to do so.

“I’m gonna keep mine because I think together, it’s Penny-Smirnoff, one cent liquor, you know, it’s got something to it,” she laughed.

During a visit to Tuesday’s Access Hollywood Live, Karina explained that she and her husband-to-be, a former pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, met through Season 9 “Dancing with the Stars” contender Chuck Liddell.

“Chuck Liddell and Brad are really good friends and Chuck is like, ‘You gotta meet my friend, you gotta meet my friend!’ And I’m like, ‘No, I think I’m good,’” she recounted to Billy and Kit. “Eventually, we were at the same place at the same time and that’s where the sparkles flew.”

Karina said that from their first meeting, she found Brad intriguing.

“He was completely different to what I usually would start dating or go after, but it was just different in a good way. I wanted to know more about him,” she said. “I wanted to get to know what he’s like outside of going out and in a restaurant or clubs.”

After getting to know him, Karina said she knew just a few months in, that Brad was the right man for her.

“Especially in the industry we’re at, support means so much in the relationship,” she said. “You want the other half to be there with you, to support you, to help you out, to give you advice and I think with Brad, I kind of found that strength and support I can lean on, so I think I knew, probably, half a year into it [that he was the one].”

A year after they first met, Karina said Brad popped the question, with a big ring.

“When I saw it, I said, ‘Thank you!’” the brunette said of her rock.

Karina’s new workout DVD, “Shape Up with Karina Sminroff” is currently available on KarinaSmirnoff.com.

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