I'm engaged! I'm so happy and excited and lucky — he's such a wonderful guy. When I met George, I really needed somebody to understand where I was in my life. My last divorce was life changing. I had lost myself entirely. When your partner has deceived you so much — it's a much larger heartbreak. My sense of trust had been crushed and I didn't know if I ever wanted to jump back into any of it.
With George, it seemed clear from the start that we were coming to this from the same experience. We don't know why, but we both had a level of trust that neither of us had ever experienced before. He was patient enough to work through what I was going through. I needed someone like George, someone who had been divorced, who had kids, and who got that there was still going to be ongoing confrontation with people from the past. Those confrontations might, indeed, last a lifetime. I can hope that they don't. But it's nice to be with someone who understands.
The engagement itself was everything an engagement should be. It was tender, and touching, and emotional, all at the same time. We had been in Lake Como for three days, just the two of us, and George is such a romantic. Every hotel room I walked into, pretty much the whole trip, there were roses everywhere. In the bathtub, on the bed, always next to a box of chocolate. Always chilled champagne.
We went out for a hike to these ruins on the side of a hill, overlooking the lake. I noticed that George was starting to sweat, and he looks nervous, and I have this sudden flash, "Oh my God, he's having a heart attack from the..." and then he holds on to me. And he says that he has figured out a way to make these kinds of moments last forever. And then he asked if I'd be his wife. And I said, "Yes, of course I'll be your wife." And we stood at the top of the hill, holding on to each other. Tender, loving, emotional, and perfect. I'm incredibly lucky. In fact, I've always had this habit of looking at my watch when anything very important happens (I'm an absolute freak about recording things.) I got engaged to George at 7pm on July 7th. 7pm on 7/7. Besides the seven kids, that's the luckiest streak of sevens I've ever had.
Europe in the summer is amazing because of the World Cup. No matter where you go, no matter what country you're in, someone is celebrating. And it doesn't seem to matter if their country is winning or losing. It's a party that doesn't end. By the time we got to San Tropez, after twelve days of relaxing, we were ready to party. We announced our engagement to a group of 20 of our friends and got down to four days of serious non-stop, no-sleep partying.
My youngest, Sophia, was excited for me to leave for the trip, because it meant that she would be staying with my mother in Idaho on a horse ranch. She only gets to do it once a year, but that kid was happier than I've ever seen her — riding horses, doing chores, milking cows. There are endless acres for a kid to run around on. And I have to say, knowing that she was with my Mom made my trip a lot easier to enjoy. In fact, she had such a good time that when I got home, she asked if she could spend another week. I think that's one of the things that people don't get to see on the show. The show very much focuses on George and I. Most of my filming was done while the kids were in school, so it must confuse people to not see all of these kids everywhere. Josh was in his treatment program at the time, so the only time that the audience gets to see Josh is during his vacation periods. Which are brief, at best.
It's a four hour drive to the treatment program, and those moments, driving the distance with him, were very important to me. Viewers don't see the extraordinarily precious and personal time where Josh and I are having conversations in that car. Those conversations are priceless. It's a difficult time, and it's a time that I'm very careful to use effectively.
There are things we do as parents that would make for incredibly boring television. You don't see me spending all those hours every night night helping the kids with their homework. You don't see the endless errands and trips to the doctors (there are seven kids — there are plenty of trips to doctor's offices.)
I keep seeing these commercials where I'm sitting in a chair saying, "Having money is easier." Aside from the obvious part where money helps you simply pay your bills, I have to say that money does bring a certain amount of freedom. Money can bring you the security that your children are going to be cared for properly. And there are the extra things, the experiences that money can bring. Travel and adventure are such rewarding and overlooked values.
I grew up a farmer's daughter, and always felt like I was the richest girl in the world. We had a modest income, but as a child, I didn't ever feel that way. I danced, I rode horses, I played the piano. Money can open up a world to you, that you wouldn't be able to experience otherwise. Having money releases that mental weight and that worry. Like I say, I'm pretty lucky.