For someone who's created a career—an entire multimillion-dollar brand, really—out of refurbishing fixer-uppers, Jonathan Scott wasn't entirely prepared for his future to arrive in an already perfect package.
And yet, somehow, more than two years into his romance with Zooey Deschanel, the HGTV personality is still marveling at all of the boxes she manages to tick. "She's a very considerate person, and that's what I'm looking for," he told People in January 2020. "I had said before that the most important thing for me was a sense of humor. But you have to be kind, and she definitely is." Plus, as he told the mag, "She's smarter than me, she's funnier than me, and she's cuter than me!"
So there's that.
While quarantined together in her hometown of Los Angeles, Jonathan also learned Zooey was an accomplished chef in addition to her skills as an actress and singer, the New Girl alum often dipping into her garden of tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchinis and kale to whip up vegetarian fare before helming the piano for a singalong session. And there was the time she gave him a trim and root touch-up "better than I think the salon could do."
But it was when she wielded a crowbar that he realized he literally couldn't ask for anything more. Joining him and twin brother Drew Scott for the December 2020 season two premiere of Celebrity IOU, just one of the series born from the Property Brothers stars' massive home design empire, she was willing to get her hands dirty to help childhood bestie Sarah have the 900-square-foot, open-concept, family-friendly space of her dreams.
Marveling at her ability to remove a countertop slab, Jonathan confessed to his girlfriend, "That's the most romantic thing you and I have ever done."
Though she may have some other nominations.
While the rest of us were labeling 2020 a dumpster fire and chucking the whole lot of it in the trash, Zooey, mom to 6-year-old Elsie and 4-year-old Charlie with ex-husband Jacob Pechenik, was prying out the bits worth highlighting, most involving the guy she recently labeled "My 2020 MVP."
And not just because of the outsized gestures, like when he helped her ring in her 40th birthday with the neon hued- and spandex-filled birthday party of her '80s kid dreams. While the festivities were decidedly understated for her 41st, "I have a few surprises up my sleeve," he promised in tribute last year. No wonder Zooey, turning 42 this Jan. 17, has found the joy in every last moment with the guy she credited with making her "feel happy in spite of a weird and uncertain year."
As she put it in an August 2020 post acknowledging the anniversary of their first meeting, "I am so grateful for every smile, kiss, hug, snuggle, laugh, scrabble game, escape room, breakfast, lunch and dinner we share together. Even during the weirdest year for humanity I want a million billion more with you."
Who knew James Corden was this good of a matchmaker? Because it's the The Late Late Show With James Corden host who deserves the credit for the successful Hollywood fix-up that E!'s Jason Kennedy was lobbying to call "Jonaooey."
When the Scott brothers were paired with Zooey and her equally musically inclined sister Emily Deschanel for the popular "Carpool Karaoke" segment, "there was chemistry right away," Jonathan later shared with People, confessing that producers had their work cut out for them to edit out much of his flirting.
And the more the 43-year-old learned about the actress he'd watched in Elf and 500 Days of Summer ("I had never seen her TV show," he admitted), the more transfixed he was.
"You know, we both went to college for a short period of time and then we decided to jump into the real world and actually just, you know, make a mark for ourselves," said the Vancouver native, who tried his hand at illusion work before landing in the world of home design. "Strange things, too, like some of our music tastes—love '70s—some of our food tastes. And so it's just impressive when you have this many things in common."
He gets that "opposites attract" is a well-worn phrase for a reason, he said, "But, damn, it's so much easier when things are all aligned."
Because he checks off a few of her boxes as well, a list that includes someone who works in a creative field and the type of guy who makes you wake up every day and want to commit.
Though he joked to People, "I've got perks! I can fix your plumbing, I can paint, I can design a space," he's every bit as thoughtful as advertised. Asked on Access Hollywood in April 2020 about his most recent romantic gesture, he revealed he may have cut a piece of pink tissue paper into a heart, wrote a quick something and slipped it into her purse: "Just a little note saying, you know, 'You're magic,' and the rest I'll leave to secrecy."
They both place kindness as a premium ("I just think Jonathan is just the nicest person in the world," Zooey told Us Weekly in June) and, perhaps most crucially for the mom of two, he loooooves children. Prior to crossing paths with Zooey in 2019, he'd looked into the adoption process, eager to set forth on his plan to become a dad.
"I wanted to be with the right person," he explained on the Tamron Hall Show. "Otherwise, I was very confident in being a single dad, to raise somebody because I think I would be a great dad." He'd done the research, he continued, "and I was quite confident, you know, that that would be an option for me. And then, lo and behold, out of the blue we're filming 'Carpool Karaoke.'"
Suddenly he's showing off his storytelling chops, he and Drew reading the children's books they co-wrote, Builder Brothers: Big Plans and Builder Brothers: Better Together, on Facebook Live and gushing about a partner who, as he told Access Hollywood, "can literally do anything."
Including change his entire life trajectory.
"Zooey and I have a very, very great communication style. Everything jives with us," he told Tamron Hall. "It was exciting for me to realize that all of a sudden I'm on this new path with somebody who, I know she's an amazing mother, she has two beautiful kids. And so I think, for me, all of a sudden I'm like, 'I don't have to go this road alone and this is somebody who I absolutely love and adore.'"
It's a situation that's become all too clear the past few years as they survive a test that might undo less solid pairs. And it's not just a healthy perspective of how fortunate they are that's getting them through.
"I was doing an interview yesterday, and someone said that the coronavirus and self-isolating is going to all of a sudden, you know, make you change your priorities and want to spend more time at home," he said on Access Hollywood. "And I said, 'I've got to be honest, it's falling madly in love with somebody that does that. It has nothing to do with the COVID situation.'"
Though, if you are going to be homebound, doing it with a master chef and hair stylist who has the ability to best you in Scrabble and then lead a singalong of your favorite '70s tunes is definitely the way to go.
"Being here and being together all the time has been fantastic," he said during a Zoom appearance on The Talk. "If I had to pick anyone on the face of the planet to be isolated with, she's the one."
So, like, the one, the one?
"We literally make each other laugh nonstop," he told People. "I have never been in a relationship where my partner is as romantic as, if not more romantic than, I am. I'm usually the one who carries the romantic load."
And you can't blame us for thinking just maybe he's got a charming little something up his sleeve?
"I'm pretty confident that I will ask my girlfriend to marry me before I tell a reporter," he said on SiriusXM's The Covino & Rich Show in November 2020 when asked about proposal rumors.
Whether Drew—who put together his own elaborate plan to ask now-wife Linda Phan to be his bride in 2016—will be involved remains to be seen.
"We were actually laughing because almost every story that comes out is 'Drew Gives Permission for Jonathan to Wed Zooey' or 'Drew Gives His Nod to the Relationship,'" Jonathan joked on The Covino & Rich Show. "And so we coined the phrase, we were laughing, we're like, so is Drew my 'Brother-Daddy?' Does he have to approve everything that happens in my life?"
Though, to be clear, if asked, he absolutely would. Telling Today's Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager that he hasn't seen his brother "smile like this in a very long time," Drew said that it's "amazing to see him so happy."
It's something the HGTV star has grown used to hearing. "People keep saying to me, like, 'Jonathan, you feel so alive.' I'm like, 'Was I a dud before? What happened?'" he joked on Today. "I will admit she brings out the best in me and she makes me want to be the best version of myself."
So it's not crazy to think the person who spun off one popular home renovation show into a seemingly endless line of books, CDs, product lines and, of course, additional television series might add husband to his collection of titles.
Particularly now that they're deep into fixing up their forever home, a 1938 Georgian-style spread her kids dubbed "the Park House" due to its lush lawn and massive California sycamores. Though the old home has brought with it a bevy of necessary projects, "We have each other, and we have time—the rest of our lives together in this house," Jonathan noted in a personal essay for the Winter 2022 of his and Drew's mag Drew + Jonathan Reveal. "Our house. Our dream home, where we'll see the kids grow up laughing and adventuring in the yard, where we'll play host to friends and family."
(Originally published Jan. 17, 2021, at 12 a.m. PT)