How Golden Bachelor's Gerry Turner and Theresa Nist Plan to Honor Late Spouses at Their Wedding

Before Gerry Turner and Theresa Nist marry on The Golden Wedding, the Golden Bachelor couple spoke to E! News about how they intend to pay tribute to their late spouses Toni and Billy.

By Elyse Dupre Jan 02, 2024 11:00 AMTags

As Gerry Turner and Theresa Nist embark on their journey to forever as husband and wife, they'll be remembering the ones who are forever in their hearts.

Which is why The Golden Bachelor couple want to honor their late spouses Toni and Billy at their upcoming nuptials. 

"We will definitely mention them during the wedding," Theresa told E! News in an exclusive interview. "I know that I picked out a song that Billy loved, and so maybe we'll pick out a song for Toni. We have yet to write our vows, but I plan on incorporating that into my vows. So, we'll see. And we'll be thinking about them the entire day."

But while they're still holding on to that feelin' of being in decades-long unions, Theresa, 70, and Gerry, 72, admit they're both in a different place in life than when they each wed their high school sweethearts in 1972. As a result, tying the knot this time around holds a new meaning for the pair.

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"The first thing that comes to mind is how important honesty is with each other," Gerry said. "When you're younger…you have a lot of priorities about children and earning a living and all those things. With us now, all we have to do is, if we feel like we're in a rough patch, look at each other, be honest and start talking—have the communication."

And they're excited to make memories that are truly golden. "When you're older, your priorities tend to gravitate towards what's gonna be fun for years to come rather than what's gonna be work?" the retired restaurateur continued. "And that's where we're at."

Though they're undoubtedly in the relationship for the right reasons, "It's such a different set of priorities," Theresa agreed. "Gerry's right. We know that we have to enjoy life. We don't know how much time we have left, and we want to enjoy every single second."

Disney/John Fleenor

And they'll start enjoying their new life as a married couple when they say "I do" during The Golden Wedding televised ceremony on Jan. 4. Theresa described the theme of the wedding as a "beautiful, gorgeous garden look" that will include flowers in pale pink, cream and white. And yes, she said there's some "gold thrown in there," including in the cutlery, as a nod to their journey to find love on the first-ever season of The Golden Bachelor.

Fans may also recognize a few familiar faces from their hometown date as Theresa's youngest grandson Henry will serve as the ring bearer. In fact, members from both her and Gerry's families will have roles on the big day.

"It's a lot of people," the financial service professional shared. "We want everybody involved because we love family."

And as they enter this new chapter, they'll be carrying over lessons they learned from their first marriages. For Gerry, this includes the value of communication.

"I think that's really important as you get older," he said. "It also becomes somewhat easier. You've already gone through so many things. There's not gonna be any surprises, I don't think, between Theresa and I. So, communication will be easier once it gets started. The main thing is be able to start that conversation about something that's a little bit difficult for us." 

John Fleenor/Disney via Getty Images

After all, life isn't always a bed of roses. One of the challenges Gerry says he and Theresa have faced since their time on The Golden Bachelor is dealing with life in the public eye, which he admitted they've navigated "with great difficulty."

"It's hard to hear negative comments about yourself when you know that they're not true," Theresa noted. "I mean, things like I'm a dependent personality—I lived by myself for nine years. And just comments about my intelligence, that was very hard. But you know who you are, and everybody's entitled to their opinion based on what they see. So, it's hard, but we're dealing with it."

Still, Gerry—who faced scrutiny after The Hollywood Reporter published an article about a romance he allegedly had in the months following Toni's death—tries to tune out any public criticism and stay focused on his future with Theresa.   

"Oh, I try not to let any of the negativity bother me," he said. "People can write and say whatever they want. And as soon as it's in print or spoken, it takes on a life of truth. So, I'm really more interested in all the positives that Theresa and I have together moving forward."

The Golden Wedding will air live on ABC Jan. 4 and be available to stream the next day on Hulu.

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