When Jeremiah Brent married famed interior designer Nate Berkus in 2014, he paid tribute to his husband’s lost love during their vows.
It was a decade earlier that photographer Fernando Bengoechea had been swept out to sea when a tsunami struck Sri Lanka where the couple had been vacationing. Berkus managed to survive the disaster that took more than 30,000 lives but the pain long remained.
‘I didn’t know how to articulate what I needed from a new relationship,’ Berkus says in a new interview with his mentor Oprah Winfrey on an episode of Where Are They Now which airs Sunday (24 January).
‘I didn’t know how to articulate how to keep that and honor that, but still move forward without any guilt or any fear.’
Brent, also an interior designer, adds: ‘That’s a part of our love story. There’s no two ways about it. Yes, we’re married this time, but (Fernando is) definitely a part of it. I oddly feel connected to him. I honor that story.’
The couple have a young daughter, Poppy, who Brent says ‘will know who he was. We have pictures of him in the home.’
For that, Berkus is forever grateful.
‘(Jeremiah was) the first person to come into my life and not be threatened or afraid, not afraid to poke the damage and say, “That happened. Let’s talk about it. Let’s figure it out, and how can it be part of our world in a way that’s healthy?” And so it is.’