Duane “Dog” Chapman and his wife Beth Chapman rose to fame when their hit A&E show, Dog the Bounty Hunter, sparked America’s passion for what the New York Times dubbed “redneck reality.” Viewers were charmed by the duo’s larger-than-life love story and, of course, their exploits chasing down bail jumpers made for entertaining TV. Add in their signature shades and platinum blonde locks, and you’ve got the perfect mix!
Despite the fact that he’d been married multiple times before, Dog believed Beth was his “everything” (per the Daily Mail), which made her 2017 cancer diagnosis doubly devastating. In an interview with Inside Edition, Dog shed his tough-guy persona when he broke down in tears over Beth’s condition. “I told the doctor, ‘She dies, you die.’ I said, ‘I don’t mean to be like that, and I don’t mean to threaten you because I’m a good person, but Doc, if she dies, you die.'”
While Dog initially reported that Beth was cancer-free after undergoing surgery to remove the tumor in her throat, her condition soon took a turn for the worse. “It’s 5:32 in Hawaii, this is the time she would wake up to go hike Koko Head mountain,” Dog tweeted in June 2019, the morning after Beth’s passing. “Only today, she hiked the stairway to heaven. We all love you, Beth. See you on the other side.” Here, we take an inside look at the couple’s last moments together, as well as Beth’s heart-wrenching last words to the love of her life.
Beth Chapman prepared her husband for the inevitable
As her health declined, Beth Chapman prepared her husband Duane “Dog” Chapman for the moment when she’d no longer be by his side, according to Entertainment Tonight. “For two to three years, she knew this might happen,” the Dog the Bounty Hunter star tearfully shared. “So she would say, ‘Who is going to sit next to you?’ And I said, ‘No one.'”
Beth’s fiercely loyal spouse remained by her side until her final days, keeping up a steady stream of positive reinforcement to help take her mind off the toll that the cancer was wreaking on her body. But once the grim reality of Beth’s deteriorating condition fully set in, Dog reportedly lost hope. Up until then, there had been no planning. “There was no ‘You’re gonna die, Let’s plan it. So what do I get? Where did you put the watch?’ There was none of that,” Dog shared with the Daily Mail, adding that he “didn’t want to hear about death.”
Duane 'Dog' Chapman couldn't accept life without his wife
Beth Chapman proved that she knew her husband best when she understood his reluctance to let her go. (In an earlier interview with Inside Edition, she’d bluntly answered “yes” when asked whether Duane “Dog” Chapman would fall apart without her). Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Dog recalled the last few moments of her life. “Beth said, ‘Come in here right now, in the bathroom,'” he explained. “I went in and she said, ‘Look at me.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, you’re freaking beautiful baby.’ [And she said], ‘Look at me, Duane Chapman.’ And I did, I always saw Beth and she said, ‘Please, let me go.'”
Dog continued, “And I didn’t even make a decision, I almost said, ‘I can’t.’ Before I could say, ‘Alright,’ she couldn’t breathe and I called the ambulance… But every day she talked as if she was not there. ‘Here’s what to do with this, here’s what to do with that. Don’t keep running your mouth. When they ask you a specific question, just answer that.'”
“So, prepared? No, you’re never, ever prepared,” he concluded, stressing that no one can prepare for a tragedy of this scope. “There is no way.”
Did Duane 'Dog' Chapman find love again after his wife's passing?
Just as Beth Chapman predicted, Duane “Dog” Chapman was devastated following her death. In the 2019 interview with Entertainment Tonight, he lamented that “there’ll never be another Beth. There ain’t a girl built like another Beth.”
In his grief, he was admitted to the hospital for breathing problems, which he attributed to the pain of his “broken heart” (per Fox Denver). Still, Dog knew he had to move on. Following a controversial courtship with Moon Angell, whom Dog’s daughter Lyssa Chapman accused of shacking up with her brother, Dog found love again with Francie Frane. When he and the 51-year-old Colorado rancher bonded over the fact that they had both lost their partners to cancer, the friendship blossomed into love.
In May 2020, People confirmed the pair were engaged. “I wasn’t expecting it at all,” Frane said. “I think I had gone to pick up some food and then when I came back he had all the lights turned down with just a few lights on and a bunch of candles lit. …Then he said, ‘Come in, sit down because I need to talk to you.’ And he got down on one knee and he opened the ring box and said, ‘Will you marry me and spend the rest of our lives together?'” The duo are reportedly waiting to tie the knot until after coronavirus dies down, so that all their family members can be in attendance. Congrats to the happy couple!
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