The former 'One Tree Hill' star began dating the 'Walking Dead' actor over a decade ago, but can still remember the night they met at an Irish pub in Los Angeles, where they were introduced by Hilarie's pal and former co-star Danneel Ackles and her husband Jensen Ackles.
Hilarie claims she wasn't used to being ''pursued'' by men before she met Jeffrey, and loved how determined the 54-year-old actor was to woo her.
She recalled: ''When he came along, he was so sure of himself. I was not a girl anyone pursued. I've always been alpha. And Jeffrey was like, 'You're going to be my girlfriend.'
''It was so nice to be pursued. He's a cute dude! And I liked that he knew exactly who he was. His confidence was intoxicating.''
The 37-year-old actress tied the knot with Jeffrey - with whom she has son Gus, 10, and daughter George, two - last year, but the pair have been together since 2009.
And Hilarie has also recalled how ''easy'' it was to settle into family life with her spouse, after they moved out to the quiet Hudson Valley shortly after Gus' birth in 2010.
She said: ''The ease in which Jeffrey and I were able to live together was a surprise. I think it was really shocking to my family members and friends, because I was always the girl who was very cautious. I'd thought my entire life out, and [moving] was crazy, like, 'Let's do it! Let's run away!' But it worked out!''
When the family first moved to the peaceful region of New York State they bought a fixer upper cabin, but have since upgraded to a 100-acre farm.
Hilarie explained: ''Moving here was a let go. There is a very different view of what is attractive. An attractive woman is one who is hard-working, who can handle animals and lift up bags of dirt, not one with highlights or abs or nails. I've never felt more valued.''
And despite the years that have passed, Hilarie and Jeffrey are as happy together as ever.
Speaking to People magazine, the 'White Collar' star - who is gearing up to release her memoir, 'The Rural Diaries', on May 5 - said: ''Jeffrey is the same guy now that he was when I met him. He knew 100 percent who he was and that was a delight. Because I could be the one who could experiment. Being with someone so solid allowed me to grow.''
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