Hilary Duff expected her boyfriend to propose this year.

The actress-and-singer was caught off-guard when hockey player Mike Comrie asked her to marry him when they went on holiday in February, but admits she had an inkling he had been getting ready to ask her.

Speaking to US TV host Ellen Degeneres, she said: "I thought maybe it would happen this summer, so I was pretty taken off-guard. My girlfriend was like, 'You guys are going to Maui, he's going to propose for sure,' and, I'm like 'No way.' "

Mike phoned Hilary's mother just half an hour before to check she was happy for him to pop the question - but had been unable to risk telling her earlier as he worried she would tell her.

The 22-year-old star said: "He knew better than to tell my family beforehand," adding that her mother was "really close, so I'm sure it would have been hard to keep that secret."

Hilary - who has been dating 29-year-old Mike for two years - recently admitted she hasn't done "one thing" about planning her wedding.

She said: "I haven't done one thing. We don't have a date; I haven't picked a dress so we're just gonna be really casual and easygoing about it."