Ten months after the death of his wife, Duane Chapman is engaged to a new love he's been dating for just a few months.
The "Dog the Bounty Hunter" star, who lost wife Beth Chapman to cancer in Hawaii in June 2019, proposed to new girlfriend Francie Frane, the couple told Britain's The Sun in a story published on May 4.
Francie, 51 — who, like Duane, 67, recently lost her husband to cancer (he died six months before Beth) — detailed the TV star's proposal in an interview with The Sun, explaining how he surprised her at the Colorado home they now share. (The Sun also has a photo of her ring.)
"I wasn't expecting it at all. I think I had gone to pick up some food and then when I came back he had all the lights turned down with just a few lights on and a bunch of candles lit," she explained. "So when I came in I was like, 'Wow, this is awesome.' Then he said, 'Come in, sit down because I need to talk to you.'
"So I put all the food in the kitchen and I came in and he said, 'I know that God brought you into my life and I don't want to spend one moment of it without you,'" Francie continued. "And he got down on one knee and he opened the ring box and he said, 'Will you marry me and spend the rest of our lives together?' Who can say no to that? It was wonderful."
Dog was elated. He's so thrilled to be in love again and to have found Francie that he wants to have, he told The Sun, the "biggest wedding there's ever been."
As for when the pair will wed? They'll wait until COVID-19 lockdown orders have been lifted, they said. They want their families there, including Dog's 12 children from his past relationships, plus Francie's two sons and all of their grandkids. Dog also told The Sun he hopes to find a way to open up their wedding to the fans who've supported him.
"I've had so many fans ask 'When you marry Francie, are you going to let your fans come? So we're word negotiating right now because I want to open it up," he explained, adding of desiring a huge wedding, "I'm sorry but that's just me. I hope I can talk Francie into it and open it to my fans, the Dog Pound, to everybody."
Dog added, "It would be one hell of a party and it's just what people need right now. I told Francie, people, they need a little love after being locked down. I love the idea of that."
While some have criticized the widow and widower, who went public with their romance on Instagram in April, for moving too fast, they say they know they're on the right path. "You know there's always going to be haters, and I probably arrested half of them," Dog quipped.
Two of Dog's kids have publicly voiced their support, with daughter Lyssa telling The Sun that Francie is an "amazing woman," and daughter Bonnie writing on Instagram, "Everyone who's judging my father should sure pray that they never have to lose their loved one and get judged for trying to fill the void." She told a critic, "Your opinion is invalid. My mother would've wanted him to be happy."
Francie acknowledged that there are always going to be people "who say we did this wrong or we did that wrong or we've moved on too quickly or too fast. But the truth is that both of us have spent three years walking alongside our spouses sick and we know that God brought us together and that's why we don't believe that it's too soon."
She added, "…for us to come together the way that we did and build this friendship because of what we've been through, that turned into a love story. We don't believe that it's too soon."
They connected in the most unexpected way. As The Sun reported, Dog didn't know Francie's husband, Bob, had passed away and called and left him a voicemail asking him to do some work on his property. After Francie called Dog back and told him what happened, they became friends, which led to a romance.