updated 03/29/2012 AT 9:15 AM ET
•originally published 03/29/2012 AT 10:05 AM ET
Marriage is a pretty big step. Or, you know – not.
“We’ve been living a married life for over six years now,” the Brazilian model, 29, tells ET Canada. “We have homes together, we have family together, we have kids, we’ve built a life together. So, we’ve been living a married life this whole time.”
The one truly meaningful part of it, she adds, is what it means to their children – Levi, who will be 4 in July, and Vida, who just turned 2.
“I think it’s great for the kids,” Alves says. “Levi actually understands what it means now that Mama’s going to have the same last name as they have, so that’s neat.”
But what’s important in the long run? Being healthy and happy. “A lot of people, sometimes they’re so stuck on ‘I gotta get married, I gotta get married,’ ” Alves says. “They forget that the really important thing … is to have a healthy home, a healthy family, a healthy environment for your kids and to have everything going in a good, peaceful way.”
Alves and McConaughey, 42, got engaged in December but still haven’t set a date for the nuptials. “I really haven’t thought much about the wedding,” Alves says. “We just got a new home, it’s just been really busy. I’m just really enjoying being engaged.”
But when the time comes, she may in fact become a bridezilla. “I don’t know what kind of bride I’m going to be,” she says. “I may turn into a crazy woman, I don’t know!”