How They Met: Maple Leafs centre Brooks Laich and movie star Julianne Hough
New Leaf Brooks Laich and star Julianne Hough on making an L.A. to Toronto relationship work
Laich proposed to Hough on the front veranda of their lake house, and the two are currently planning their wedding
New Maple Leafs centre Brooks Laich — formerly of the Washington Capitals — brings the maturity the team is looking for and a fiancée the city will swoon over. He is engaged to actress and former Dancing With The Stars champion and judge Julianne Hough. Laich tells us about their storybook romance.
How they met
We were introduced through a couple named Teddy and Milissa Sears. I had been friends with them for about three years when Teddy called me and said he got offered a role in a movie named Curve, opposite Julianne Hough. After a few days of filming together, he thought Julianne and I would be very compatible, and he let this be known to Milissa. For the next three weeks, with Milissa continually urging him to do so, he played matchmaker. Finally we agreed to give it a shot, and the rest, as they say, is history.
The first date
It was at a quaint little tapas restaurant in Washington, D.C. Our waitress came to our table six times over the first 45 minutes asking for our order, but we still hadn’t even opened the menu. We just hit it off instantly and were immersed in conversation and laughter. That still happens to us to this day when we go out, so if you ever end up serving us, please just bear with us! Just bring her a glass of wine and me a glass of whisky, and I promise we’ll eventually get around to ordering.
There are too many to count, it was just so much fun. One moment that sticks out for me is when I asked her if she would be my girlfriend. It was on a lazy Sunday morning and we were having a light and easy slow dance in the kitchen. I looked her in the eye and tried to ask her if she would be my girlfriend, but it took me a second to get the words out because I got a bit emotional! I already knew she was the love of my life and that, if she said yes, that I would never let her go. I had even sized one of her rings a few days before this, so in my mind I was really asking her to marry me!
I proposed to Julianne on the front veranda of our lake house. It was a beautiful evening with the sun setting, and the lake was quiet. We were overlooking the lake, having a drink and enjoying another light and easy slow dance, when I reached into my pocket, got down on one knee, conveyed my feelings for her and asked to her to marry me. Luckily she said, ‘Yes!’” It was probably the single greatest moment of my life so far.
Battling long distance
This is a learn-as-we-go thing. With her career, she is based out of Los Angeles, and currently I am in Toronto. The long distance is hard, I will admit that. But we understand and appreciate that we are both living our childhood dream every single day. Julianne loves to sing, dance and act, and I love to play hockey. We are extremely fortunate to do what we love for a living, and we support one another in our careers. That being said, we make every career decision together, based upon what our relationship can handle. There are some sacrifices we must make, and we do miss each other a lot, but wholeheartedly knowing that our relationship comes first and everything else lines up behind that, makes it possible. That, and FaceTime, thank God for FaceTime!
Our respective careers have brought us to Toronto many times, but never together. Julianne is coming here shortly, and I can’t wait to show her the city and introduce her to the people. Toronto is full of life; the people here have welcomed me with open arms; and I can’t wait to share all of that with Julianne. The city is so beautiful too; it will be a lot of fun to explore it together.