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‘The Golden Bachelor’ Winner Theresa Nist’s Most Emotional Quotes About Her Late Husband Billy

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ABC/Ricky Middlesworth

Gerry Turner wasn’t the first love of Theresa Nist’s life.

Theresa lost her first husband, William “Billy” Nist, nearly a decade before appearing on The Golden Bachelor in September 2023. “It’s been almost nine years since my husband passed away, and I want to be in love again,” she said in her episode 1 intro package.

Throughout the show’s debut season, Theresa and Gerry bonded over their shared experience of losing a spouse. Gerry’s wife, Toni Turner, passed away in 2017 from a bacterial infection.

“Neither one of us thought this was gonna happen,” Theresa stated during their one-on-one date during episode 2. “We thought we were gonna live with our spouses for the rest of our lives.”

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The couple’s love continued to blossom, with Gerry ultimately popping the question during the season 1 finale in November 2023. “I can’t even believe that this is happening,” Theresa exclaimed in a post-proposal confessional. “And we know that Toni and Billy would absolutely be so happy for us right now.” Gerry and Theresa officially tied the knot on ABC’s The Golden Wedding televised special in January 2024.

Keep scrolling to see Theresa’s most heartfelt quote about Billy:

Theresa and Billy’s Love Story

Theresa opened up about her and Billy’s relationship during her first one-on-one date with Gerry, revealing that she and her “high school sweetheart” met when she was 14 and he was 16.

“We were married 42 years and he passed away,” she shared during the October 2023 episode. “What happened, ultimately, was that his kidneys were not good, and Billy always had hope of a kidney transplant. But one day, when I was at work, he all of a sudden takes a turn for the worse. And I ran home, and I watched him take his last breath.”

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Courtesy of Theresa Nist/Instagram

A Trip Down Memory Lane

On Veterans Day in November 2023, Theresa shared a memory from the early days of her relationship with Billy via Instagram. “Billy and I met when I was 14 and he was 16. We got married at 18 and 20. He was stationed in Berlin during the Vietnam war,” she wrote alongside throwback pics of their time in Germany. “I took my first plane ride and we lived there for almost a year. Living in Berlin, I realize now and at the time, was a once in [a] lifetime experience.”

The holiday also marked the ninth anniversary of Billy’s death. “Remembering my late husband and remembering all the veterans who served our country so that we could be free, not to do whatever we please, but to do the right thing,” she concluded her post, which also featured photos from their wedding.

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Theresa’s 1970s wedding gown featured long sleeves and a high neckline. She completed the look with a white floral bouquet, a lace floral headpiece and a short veil. Billy complemented his wife’s ensemble with a white tux jacket, a black bow tie and black dress pants.

New Beginnings

While waiting to see whether Gerry would pop the question during the November 2023 Golden Bachelor finale, Theresa reflected back on her romance with Billy. “The first few years after Billy passed away, I thought, ‘That’s it. I’ll never love a man again.’ But now, I found love with Gerry,” she said in a confessional. “When I got married to Billy, when I was 18 years old, he didn’t get down on one knee with an engagement ring, so it would be something I’ve never had happen in my life before. It would be overwhelming.”

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Disney/John Fleenor

Remembering Their Loved Ones

Ahead of The Golden Wedding special, Theresa revealed that she and Gerry planned to “definitely mention” their late spouses during the ceremony. “I know that I picked out a song that Billy loved, and so maybe we’ll pick out a song for Toni,” she told E! News in a January 2024 interview. “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.”

Close to Her Heart

The night before The Golden Wedding, Theresa shared in a confessional that she was thinking of her and Billy’s final days together. “Before he died, he actually said to me, ‘Are you going to get married again?’ Billy, I’m going to get married again,” she stated during the special. “He would be so happy for me, and you couldn’t get a greater guy than Gerry.”

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