“One of the things that I think fate played a hand in is the possibility of where we might wind up living. For the last couple of years, when my family gets together, I’ve talked about moving to South Carolina, and it’s an idea I’ve toyed with. And then in conversation with Theresa, a private moment, she’s saying, ‘Well, yeah, my son lives near Charleston in South Carolina,’” Gerry, 72, told People in a story published after the Thursday, November 30, finale of the ABC series. “And all of a sudden it’s like, there’s a big problem that is gone. The issue of compromising on where to live and how to reconcile families and all of that is, it’s no longer an issue.”
Gerry, who is from Iowa, has been living in Indiana after retiring to the Hoosier State with his wife, Toni, before she died in 2017. Theresa, for her part, hails from New Jersey.
Both Gerry and Theresa have children (and grandchildren) who they hope will visit them. “We want to have a house that’s so inviting that everyone would want to come. Maybe a pool so they all want to come and have fun,” Theresa said.
“Our daughters, they’re like sisters now,” Gerry added, to which Theresa agreed: “My daughter says, ‘Thank you for giving me two more sisters.’ She has a sister-in-law already but now, two more sisters.”
Gerry shared his two daughters, Jenny and Angie, with Toni, while Theresa shared son Tommy and daughter Jen with husband Billy, who died in 2014 after they were married for 42 years.
“I looked at Jen and it was like, ‘This could be my own daughter,’” Gerry told the outlet. “I literally was having those thoughts, because she was so kind and she was so sensitive to the situation, to her mom and to me. The whole dynamic just worked.”
Members of their families were in attendance at the live After the Final Rose taping on Thursday and will spend more time together for Hanukkah later this month.
“We’ll have a holiday dinner together with everyone,” Gerry told People.
The Turner and Nist families will also come together for Gerry and Theresa’s upcoming nuptials, which will be captured for a televised wedding special, set to air on ABC January 4, 2024.
“We’re going to do it as quickly as we can because, at our age, we don’t have a lot of time to waste. As quickly as we can put together a wedding plan, we’re getting married,” Gerry said during Thursday’s AFR.
Earlier in the evening, Gerry sat down with his runner-up, Leslie Fhima, who accused him of blindsiding her by picking Theresa after telling Leslie she was The One.
“The most important thing I fell in love with was your integrity. And because of your integrity, your words meant so much to me. I didn’t take them for granted. I took them and I put them in my heart, OK?” Leslie said. “And everybody knows what you said on camera. But only you and I know it was said in [during the] overnight. And I would never share that with anyone. It’s our private time. But those words gave me 100 percent certainty that I was your girl. … And your words just meant so much to me, and that’s why I was blindsided. Because I wasn’t sure how it changed or what happened.”
Gerry apologized and tried to explain his actions. “I’m so sorry, Leslie. I’m so sorry. And when I came onto the show, my head was ready to go through the process [and] send people home,” he said. “You were the person I believed was my person until I suddenly knew you weren’t. And you asked, or you mentioned, you don’t know where it went wrong. It didn’t really go wrong, Leslie. It just was better with someone else. It was the right person in another direction.”
Leslie responded by saying that she doesn’t necessarily accept Gerry’s apology, but she “understand[s] it” and wishes him and Theresa the best.