By Kat Giantis
With spring just around the corner, the tabloids' fancies lightly (or heavy-handedly) turn to thoughts of love. For Star, that means yet another round of engagement speculation for Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal.
Seems the tab is convinced "the third time was the charm" for the actor, who purportedly received the "yes!" he'd been denied during two previous on-bended-knee proposal attempts.
The proof, such as it is, is a honkin' sparkler the Oscar-winning mom of Ava, 9, and Deacon, 5, was said to be sporting on her all-important finger when she arrived at a recent Los Angeles-area shoot for an Avon commercial.
"It was gorgeous, and everyone noticed it right away," tattles a source. "But she took it off as soon as she saw people staring. Reese stuffed it in her bag and didn't put it on again the rest of the day."
Adds another snitch, "There was already word out that she and Jake had gotten engaged, so the ring absolutely confirmed everybody's suspicions."
Star believes the A-list amours, who will mark their two-year anniversary this month, are eager to get hitched, and posits that an "intimate and simple" vow swap could take place at Witherspoon's retreat in Ojai, Calif., possibly with a Southern barbecue theme.
"Jake and Reese want to get married sooner rather than later," blabs a mole. "They've been playing house for far too long, and they're ready to make it official!"
But don't break out the celebratory ribs and cornbread just yet.
Jake's rep assures us that the betrothal talk "is false," with a source close to the actress echoing the sentiment, telling us the story is "absolutely not true."
Also keep in mind that, three months ago, Star reported that the actor had unsuccessfully popped the question a trio of times last year -- on March 22 (the actress' 32nd birthday), then again in July, and once more in mid-October.
Granted, math isn't our strong suit, but we figure that would make this latest alleged question-popping episode No. 4, not No. 3.
Whatever the status of their romance, the pulchritudinous squeezes appeared as smitten as ever while taking in the sights last week in Paris, Madrid and Rome (Witherspoon, hitting new fashion highs, has been in Europe promoting the forthcoming animated flick "Monsters vs. Aliens").
The former Mrs. Ryan Phillippe, who was photographed Monday in Los Angeles sans any suspicious jewels on her digits, has remained relatively tight-lipped about her relationship with Gyllenhaal, although she did tell the April issue of Elle, "He's fabulous. He really is a fantastic guy."
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