Why Britney Popped The Question

'He was like a magnet ... it was beyond my control,' she says.

Britney Spears said that she's kissed "a bunch of frogs" and has "finally found her prince" in dancer Kevin Federline — which is why she proposed to him.

Spears and Federline talk about how they met, how they fell in love and how they got engaged in this week's cover story for People (on newsstands Friday). Though the couple initially met when he was a dancer for pop group LFO during their opening slot on Spears' 2000 tour, she doesn't remember much about the encounter, since they "never really talked," she said. Then, this past April, they ran into each other again while she was out with some girlfriends at the Hollywood club Joseph's, where she beckoned to him after spotting him across the proverbial crowded room.

"I always sit at the same table," she told the magazine. "On the far right. In the corner. Where I can see everything. And I saw him. He was just standing there. I was like, 'Hi, just come with me.' ... We liked each other right away. ... A boyfriend was the last thing on my mind. But he was like a magnet. I was being pulled. It was beyond my control."

The two spent the week together — Spears' last week before shipping out to go on her European tour. She didn't want to leave him, and told her mother she didn't want to go on tour. She thought at first Federline would never join her "because we'd just met," but then she canceled her first flight out, turned the car around and called him. After a week, she told him to get his passport and join her in Europe. They realized they were falling in love while in London (see "It's True: Britney's Engaged").

"It was really beautiful and romantic and special between us," she said. "My other loves were like puppy love. They were like practice for the real thing. This is just deeper."

On the way back from the European tour — on the plane from Ireland to New York, to be exact — Spears and Federline started talking about their future together, and during that talk, she said, she proposed.

"It was an intimate conversation," she said. "And we'd always talked about how some people don't have to get married when they're in love. ... Then all of a sudden I said, 'What if you want to get married?' And I kind of went from there to asking him if he would marry me. I asked him."

"And I said no," Federline said.

"He said no because he thought it wasn't the right way to do it," Spears said.

"It wasn't like a 'Will you marry me?' It wasn't that straightforward," Federline said. "The way she said it was kind of beating around the bush. Still, I was taken by surprise. I thought the guy was supposed to ask the girl. So a couple of minutes went by and then I asked her. ... I wasn't really thinking about asking her right away, but I did without reservation. I'd known for a while that she's the one."

Spears said yes — because she felt that this, unlike her quickie Vegas marriage that was later annulled (see "Britney On Her Marriage: Vegas Made Me Do It"), was the real deal. "That thing was a total ugh," she said. "I was not in love at all." She insists that getting married was consequently the last thing on her mind because of "the big stink" people made about her Vegas marriage. "But then I said, 'You know what? This is my life and I don't care what people think. I'm going to get married. I'm in love with him.' "

Spears started planning the wedding right away, with the help of a wedding planner her assistant found for her. The planner brought over a selection of about 10 rings, and the singer chose a five-carat diamond on two platinum, diamond-encrusted bands. "It's kind of spectacular," Spears said. "Even though it's a really big diamond, it's still simple and elegant. It's gorgeous and classic."

They've met each other's families — but so far, Spears has yet to be introduced to her future stepdaughter, Federline's 2-year-old daughter, Kori (the mother is "Moesha" actress Shar Jackson, who is currently eight months along with her and Federline's second child, a boy). Some have surmised that the reason behind Spears' whirlwind wedding plans is that she's pregnant too, but while the singer said she "definitely" wants kids in the future — four or five of them — she plans to start small by raising her new Maltese puppy, Lacy, first. "I love little ones," she said. "[But] I'm not pregnant."