Dana Perino wasn’t looking for love when she boarded a flight from Denver to Chicago back in August of 1997. But after being seated next to Peter McMahon on the plane, she welcomed the idea of starting a relationship with the Brit, and even taking a break from politics, as, she recalls, “Things in Washington, D.C., were pretty gross.”
Talking to Yahoo Lifestyle about the unusual circumstances of their initial meeting, the pair recalled the moment they noticed one another.
“I was walking down the jetway behind this cute little blonde with her ponytail swinging, and I thought, I hope I sit beside her,” McMahon said of the Fox News host, who quickly echoed the sentiment, acknowledging that the businessman checked all of her boxes. “Oh, he’s cute, and he’s not wearing a wedding ring, and he has a British accent,” Perino says.
Two and a half hours later, she was eager to continue talking to McMahon, but didn’t want to come off as too aggressive. So instead of giving him just her phone number, Perino handed him a card with all of her information, aiming to look more professional.
“Her home number, office number, fax number and email address,” McMahon jokes. Still, he chose to write her an email to express what he had been feeling since their first chat. Ten days later, Perino finally checked her inbox.
“I spent those 10 days unable to eat or sleep or even read,” she says. “And I logged onto my computer, and I got his email then.”
Shortly thereafter, the couple spent both their time and money making international calls to each other to make up for the distance between D.C. and the U.K. Finally, they met in New Orleans for a weekend.
“I got to New Orleans on the Friday evening, rushed to the hotel to freshen up, then went back to the airport and walked around like a teenager on his first date waiting for Dana’s flight to arrive,” McMahon says. As for Perino, she decided that she had to run off of the plane as soon as it landed, or she would never work up the courage to do so.
Less than one year later, McMahon got down on one knee, impulsively, outside the Washington Cathedral, asking Perino to marry him. “It’s the only way we could be together,” he had told her. But it wasn’t until a full year from the day that they met that Perino gave her response.
“Dana gave me a letter and the letter told me how much she loved me, how much she had enjoyed her time in the U.K., how much she enjoyed being with me. And then at the end she said, ‘Yes, I will marry you,'” McMahron explains. “It’s true,” Perino confirms.
Ever since they married in 1998, Perino says that her husband has fully supported her work — through the times that she decided to step away from D.C. and head to the U.K. (such as during the Monica Lewinsky scandal), and then to San Diego, and finally back to Capitol Hill after Sept. 11.
Now, the Fox News host is embarking on her latest show, Dana Perino’s Book Club, as part of the network’s on-demand short-form programming called Fox Nation, where she’ll showcase selected authors and popular books on a monthly basis.
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
• ‘GMA Day’ co-host Sara Haines met her husband on OkCupid — and he had no idea she was famous
• TV chef Carla Hall says her mom was concerned about her being 42 and single. Then, online, she met her husband, Matthew Lyons.
• ‘I’m only dating you if you’re not dating anyone else’: Dr. Oz had to meet Lisa’s requirements before their disastrous first date