“Take my hand, I won’t let go. We’ve waited so long. And all my life, I walked alone. To you, my heart, my home”
It would be even longer until they could settle into the thick of marriage, putting down roots in a permanent home. The morning after their wedding, the couple hopped a 6 a.m. flight out to Oakland, Calif., where East had just been signed to play with the Raiders. By August he’d been released, only to be picked up by the Los Angeles Rams the following March. That two-month stint was followed by brief stops with the Raiders (again), the Jacksonville Jaguars and, most recently, the Washington Redskins.
Johnson, meanwhile, though officially retired from gymnastics in 2012 due to a torn ACL, remains one of the sport’s most public ambassadors. As such she spent much of 2016 on a cross-country tour with Team USA after serving as commentator at the Rio de Janeiro games. All told, save for the four months they spent holed up in an Oakland Hampton Inn, they spent more time apart than together.
“It was a long few months, we went through hard things,” she told People as they approached that first anniversary in 2017. “He got cut from the NFL and tried out for another team, we were both going through stressful times in life.”