updated 04/12/2006 AT 5:00 PM ET
•originally published 04/13/2006 AT 7:30 AM ET
Given the speed of Chad Michael Murray’s engagement to Kenzie Dalton – just one year after he wed One Tree Hill costar Sophia Bush – Internet rumors abounded that Dalton might be pregnant. But she’s “definitely not,” Murray tells PEOPLE in its upcoming issue.
Describing how he feels about Dalton, Murray chooses to speak metaphorically. “Imagine you are walking along,” he says, “and you trip over something and you turn around and find that it is a huge diamond. You would pick it up and do everything in your power to take care of that diamond because it might take care of you for the rest of your life.”
It is perhaps not surprising that Murray, 24, has diamonds on his mind: He just presented Dalton, 18, a Wilmington, N.C., high school senior, with an elegant oval-cut diamond engagement ring estimated to be worth between $25,000 and $35,000.
Dalton, a Tree extra whom castmates first publicly spotted with Murray last August, was seen wearing the rock last week at the state s 59th Annual Azalea Festival.
As for the couple, they are simply crazy for one another, says Dalton s mother, Jeannie.
Although wedding plans are yet to be made, Murray says he is determined to have a long-lasting marriage.
All he wants, he says, is to be 80 years old and to have been married for 50 years and still be soooo in love.”