From the time she was just 17 years old, Bristol Palin was thrust into the national public spotlight. Now, nearly a decade after the country first learned her name, the mother of two is closing a chapter on the constant highs and lows of her tumultuous personal life.
At 25, the eldest daughter of former Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin secretly wed Dakota Meyer, a Medal of Honor recipient and Marine Corps veteran. "Life is full of ups and downs but in the end, you'll end up where you're supposed to be," Palin and Meyer told Entertainment Tonight in regard to the news of their nuptials. For the new bride, life's ability to yo-yo could not have rung more true.
This week was not the first time fans had heard the 27-year-old Kentucky native's name. Over a year ago in March, Palin and Meyer were engaged for the first time. "Truly the luckiest girl in the world, cannot wait to marry this man!!!!" Bristol wrote on Instagram at the time of their initial engagement. However, it seemed she could wait to marry him because they called off their May wedding just a handful of days before the big day.
Though they had no wedding rings to bind them together, seven months later, Palin gave birth to her second child, a daughter named Sailor Grace. Though she had not initially confirmed the father of the baby, many suspected that Sailor belonged to Meyer—especially after he made these remarks about the baby on social media. "Best Christmas present ever!!" Dakota wrote on his Twitter account. "I couldn't be more proud of this little blessing."
By March, the war hero had been granted joint custody of the newborn and the former couple began coparenting the baby, chronicling their joint ventures with their daughter on social media. As signs of their togetherness grew more frequent, suspicions rose until the two surprisingly revealed the reason behind all their recent quality time—they had become husband and wife and were busy honeymooning in a secret location.
AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
While the mom of two may have finally found married bliss with Meyer, he wasn't the first and only man to stand by her side in the limelight.
When her mother ran as Republican hopeful John McCain's running mate in 2008, the family's conservative principles were infamously called into question when it was revealed on the opening day of the National Republican Convention that Palin, at 17, was five months pregnant. "Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realize very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family," Sarah and husband Todd Palin said in a statement released on Sept. 1.
The father of the baby was fiancé Levi Johnston, Bristol's high school boyfriend. While the Alaskan native and her beau would continuously deny claims that the wedding was a result of the political campaign, three months after Bristol gave birth to their son Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston in December 2008, the couple broke off their engagement.
However, as history would later repeat itself (with a new ending the second time around), the estranged couple announced they were going to give marriage another try on the cover of Us Weekly in July 2010. That wedding would never come to fruition as they ended the engagement again the following month. At the time, Johnston thought he might have accidentally impregnated someone else, which contributed to their relationship's end. However, Johnston's ex-girlfriend, who had been pregnant around the time, later denied his paternity.
Nearly ten years removed from the start of her personal rollercoaster, Palin thanks God for "keeping me protected from what I thought I wanted, and giving me what I never knew I needed."
It seems her new husband's latest social media remarks couldn't be more apt. "On one hand, we know that everything happens for a reason, and there are no mistakes or coincidences. On the other hand, we learn that we can never give up, knowing that with the right tools and energy, we can reverse any decree or karma. So, which is it? Let the Light decide, or never give up? The answer is: both."