Former ‘Bachelorette’ Emily Maynard Reflects on Late Fiance Ricky Hendrick and Husband Tyler Johnson Sharing a Birthday  

‘Bachelorette’ star Emily Maynard
‘Bachelorette’ star Emily Maynard Lizzy Sullivan/Getty Images

A bittersweet day. Former Bachelorette Emily Maynard opened up about how April 2 — the birthday of both her late fiancé Ricky Hendrick and her husband Tyler Johnson — went from being a a tragic reminder to a celebration.

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“April 2nd used to be a day of sadness for me, as it’s the birthday of Ricki’s dad and it would remind me of all the celebrations his family and I missed out on,” Maynard, 32, began in lengthy Instagram post on Monday, April 2, referring to the late race car driver.

“But because of God’s redemptive love, I’m able to celebrate on this day again. On our first date when Tyler told me his birthday I felt in that moment, as crazy as it sounds, God sitting in Heaven smiling at me,” she continued. “Now, 5 years later, he is absolutely nothing short of the best thing that’s ever happened in my life. Tyler, to try to put into words how special you are would be a disservice to you, but I hope you never doubt how much joy and love you bring into all of our lives. I pray every day our kids will have your heart. And looks. 🙂 I love you to all the stars and back. HAPPY BIRTHDAY @mtylerjohnson!”

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April 2nd used to be a day of sadness for me, as it’s the birthday of Ricki’s dad and it would remind me of all the celebrations his family and I missed out on. But because of God’s redemptive love, I’m able to celebrate on this day again. On our first date when Tyler told me his birthday I felt in that moment, as crazy as it sounds, God sitting in Heaven smiling at me. Now, 5 years later, he is absolutely nothing short of the best thing that’s ever happened in my life. Tyler, to try to put into words how special you are would be a disservice to you, but I hope you never doubt how much joy and love you bring into all of our lives. I pray every day our kids will have your heart. And looks. 🙂 I love you to all the stars and back. HAPPY BIRTHDAY @mtylerjohnson!

A post shared by Emily Maynard Johnson (@emilygmaynard) on

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Maynard was engaged to Hendrick when he died in an airplane accident in October 2004 at 24 years old. The reality TV personality discovered she was pregnant with Hendrick’s child after his untimely death. She gave birth to their daughter, Josephine Riddick Hendrick, whom she calls Ricki after her late fiancé, in June 2005.

After a brief engagement to Brad Womack following season 15 of The Bachelor in 2011, Maynard went on to star as The Bachelorette for season 8 in 2012. She said yes after contestant Jef Holm popped the question, but the duo ended their relationship three months after the series wrapped. The I Said Yes: My Story of Heartbreak, Redemption, and True Love author finally found her match in Johnson and they wed in 2014.

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In addition to Ricki, now 12, Maynard has three children with Johnson: Jennings Tyler, 2, Gibson Kyle, 18 months and Gatlin Avery, 4 months.

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