While celebrating his birthday last weekend, McLean said he knew it was time to make Karidis an honest woman.
"I have had this on my mind for months now, and there was talks amongst me and some of the friends of mine, and actually, I kind if brought it up to [bandmate] Howie [Dorough] once before, as well as Nick [Carter], about possibly doing it on New Year's," he revealed. "I said, 'No, I'm going to wait a little bit longer.' Something clicked. We were having dinner at Nobu prior to it, and I was like, 'I'm just done. I'm done, and this is the one, and she's absolutely phenomenal.' "
He very publicly asked her to marry him at a gig on Friday, which also happened to fall on his 32nd birthday. He admitted that he didn't have a doubt that she would accept his proposal. "I [wasn't] nervous that she'd say no," he said. "I was more nervous that she wouldn't feel comfortable in front of a crowd."
McLean said proposing onstage was the way he always imagined he would pop the question. "That was something else that I always wanted to do," he said. "I kind of had this childhood fantasy of, once I do propose, it's just somehow got to be onstage. I just went up there and grabbed a mic."
Karadis and McLean have been dating for nearly a year, and the Backstreet Boy said he's found his match. "She is my true best friend," he said. "She is absolutely amazing. She's very talented ... supportive ... understanding. She's everything you can possibly want in someone, plus 10-gazllion more. That night, I looked at her, and I was like, 'I'm gonna do it tonight.' "
Now to the important stuff: the bling. "The ring is actually a one of a kind," McLean explained. "It is a square head with princess-cut diamonds surrounding and a one-carat diamond in the center and there's also about 20 or 25 princess-cut diamonds on the actual band. It's a gorgeous ring."
McLean isn't the only Backstreet Boy excited about the engagement. "Nick was extremely happy for me," he said. "Howie didn't know. I actually texted Howie [on my birthday] ... and he sent me one back all capitals, all exclamation points: 'Finally! Congratulations.' And I haven't heard from Brian yet, but I have heard through management, because Brian has been swamped with his family, that he sends his best."