updated 01/17/2012 AT 8:00 AM ET
•originally published 01/17/2012 AT 9:30 AM ET
It wasn’t a skin-baring top or a hip-hugging dress that won Steven Tyler over when he met his fiancée.
When the American Idol judge first fell for Erin Brady, it was a hair accessory that caught his eye.
“She had on this hair band on around her head,” he says on Tuesday’s The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “She looked really old-fashioned, so I took her back in the room and she tied me up with it and I thought, ‘I’m marrying this girl.’ ”
He adds of the attraction: It was “the imagery” of the scarf-like wrap – “and how deep one can get into it.”
Despite that physical connection, it wasn’t love at first sight for Tyler, 63, whose engagement news was revealed in December when Brady, 38, was photographed with some new bling. After all, the very first time he saw Brady, just before her hair band piqued his interest, she was a Clear Channel Communications employee paying the band.
“I didn’t notice her,” he tells Ellen DeGeneres. Before Brady, his wife was clothing designer Teresa Barrick; their marriage ended in 2006. (He was also married to Cyrinda Foxe, an ex-Warhol model, from 1978 to 1987.)
Now, after five years of dating Brady and two years of sobriety, the once-troubled Aerosmith frontman says he’s not living his life for drugs anymore. He’s been to rehab five or six times, he says – and he doesn’t want to go back.
“I can’t get back into that world. I can stay high on stage and stay high,” he says. “I just keep with my program, wish and hope.”