When is too soon to find love after your spouse has been lost to cancer? For Duane “Dog” Chapman the answer seems to be less than a year.
The Bounty Hunter has grieved deeply for his wife, Beth Chapman, who died of lung cancer in June of 2019. But a recent report in The Sun reveals that Chapman’s found a new love in Francie Frane, 51, a Colorado rancher who also lost her husband to cancer. Dog told The Sun that while there will “never be another Mrs. Dog,” he wants Frane to be, “the last Mrs. Chapman.”Read More
The two met after Chapman called Frane’s husband, Bob, to ask him about doing some work on his home. When Frane shared the news that Bob had died several months before Chapman’s wife, Beth, the two stuck up a conversation. Their friendship developed over their shared loss and now, they’ve become a happy couple. Even better, Chapman’s family are voicing their approval.
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Chapman’s daughter, Lyssa said,”they are both so happy together and they are good for each other. Francie has been very respectful to all the kids — and to Beth’s memory — and my dad is the same way with Bob and their children,” Chapman’s daughter, Lyssa confirmed.
“They go to church three times a week and dad is trying to give up smoking — she is a good woman for my dad. He’s the happiest I’ve seen him in a long time – he’s so in love and wants to spend the rest of his life with Francie. They are both lost their spouses to cancer so they know what it’s like to go through that and they are helping each other through it.”
“I honestly believe that Beth sent Francie for my dad,” Lyssa continued. “I feel like Beth and Bob are up there watching down over them.”
In recent months, Chapman’s rumored relationship with Beth’s former assistant, Moon Angell, ignited the anger of his daughters, Lyssa and Bonnie. As speculation swirled, Chapman staged a mock-proposal during an interview with Dr. Oz, to prove that Moon Angell would turn him down. A
ll along, Angell and Chapman insisted she was just helping him with household tasks — and being a friend — after Beth’s passing, but both daughters accused her of moving in on an emotionally vulnerable Chapman with the intention of taking over Beth’s role.
The family has reunited since Angell has faded from the scene. But while fans debated the question of “should he or shouldn’t he” on social media, the real question, as many in the SurvivorNet community know, is how does someone know they’re ready for romance after losing a loved one to cancer?
Gauge Your Ability to Open Up
“Assume you are physiologically impaired after a great loss,” Dr. Pepper Schwartz, a professor of Sociology at the University of Washington, author and relationship expert on A&E’s “Married at First Sight,” tells SurvivorNet.
For some people, grief looks like depression, she says, but others who’ve lost a spouse or partner might experience mood swings ranging from elation to despair. Either way, she explains, it’s important to remember that “for longer than you realize, you are not competent to make life-changing decisions.”
After Loss: Signs of Dating-Readiness
You’re not ready to date if you can’t focus on anything but the person you’ve lost, says Schwartz. “You should at least be in a situation where you can concentrate on the person you’re meeting,” she explains, “rather than have the conversations only about loss.”
If years go by and the grieving spouse still can’t focus on anything but their loss, “then expert counseling is necessary,” Schwartz notes.
Proceed with Caution
Although it may be hard to believe at the outset, “there comes a time, even after the most grievous loss when the heart is ready to open up again,” Schwartz says. “I think most people know when that time occurs.”
Even then, she says, proceed with caution: “Open your heart but don’t sign any contracts — i.e. marriage — or move in with someone.”
Beth Chapman’s Cancer Journey
Beth Chapman was diagnosed with stage 2 throat cancer in 2017 at age 51. After initial treatment, she was declared cancer free. But in 2018, she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. In 2019, Beth decided to forego cancer treatment, instead of choosing to spend her last months with her family doing what she loved most — catching fugitives.
Beth died at age 51 in Honolulu, surrounded by family members. The Chapman family held two emotional memorial services, one in Hawaii and one in Aurora, Colo. The two locations were where most of “Dog the Bounty Hunter” was shot, and where they often spent their free time.
‘Never Be Another Mrs. Dog’
In an interview with ET, Dog confirmed that like so many couples, he and Beth had the difficult discussion about him moving on romantically before she passed away — and they came to an agreement, he told ET. Dog will never marry again, and he will always keep her name tattooed on his chest. “There will never be another Mrs. Dog,” he said with tears in his eyes. He has since denied rumors of a romance.
Dealing Publicly with Grief
Most celebrities have to grapple with their grief in the public eye of course. “Little by little, Day by day” were the words that helped singer Celine Dion as she slowly recovered from the grief of losing her husband to complications from throat cancer. The words became a song called “Recovering.”
René Angélil, Dion’s husband who also managed her music career, also had throat cancer. Dion said Rene was the only man she ever loved and the only man she ever kissed.