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Home lifestyle The Travelzoo-Winning Fated Love Story of Jill Wagner and Husband David Lemanowicz

The Travelzoo-Winning Fated Love Story of Jill Wagner and Husband David Lemanowicz

Sea Published On Thu Apr 09 2020   Modified On Sat Feb 12 2022
The Travelzoo-Winning Fated Love Story of Jill Wagner and Husband David Lemanowicz

Jill Wagner is not just Hallmark Channel's favorite actress. She's also a great hostess and brings that intriguing flair of fun on TV. Having been a part of 'Blade: The Series, 'Teen Wolf', and those Christmas TV movies for Hallmark, she's been around for almost two decades on TV now. And while 'Handcrafted America' brought her to attention in the mid-2010s as a talented host, her longest-running work 'Wipeout' was something kids of that era will always remember her from.

While her journey on TV is as impressive as it is, her love life is a whole movie. Hallmark has considered it a script for a movie ever since she was engaged, but the filming is yet to begin. And when she submitted the story for Travelzoo's 'America's Favorite Travel Love Story' contest in June 2017, they won the grand prize, a vacation in Bali + $1,500 Honeyfund gift card.

Husband David Lemanowicz in a romantic B/W pose with wife Jill Wagner.

Get ready for a Hallmark movie setup.
Photo: Jill Wagner, Instagram

Wagner just celebrated her third wedding anniversary with her husband David Lemanowicz, and their meeting is unlike anything anyone's ever known. In real life, at least. David is like that bad boy who left a girl without a word when they're young and then came back in her life almost two decades later without a clue in what they've become since then. He's is an army, she's an actress; it'll all cool...

Jill Wagner, 17, Was Not an Actor, and David, 20, Was Still a Hockey Player When They First Dated

Yeah, basically kids in comparison to what they are now. And they know it. If you've read David's own isolated story here, then you know he was just drafted by the Florida Panthers in 1995 from the Spokane Chiefs Ice Hockey team and then was spending his first season, 1996/97, with the Carolina Monarchs.

Meanwhile, Jill had just graduated from Ledford High School in 1997 and was readying to study at North Carolina State University to major in business. With his birth date, he was 20 years old at the time, and Jill was 17 at the time.

A 17-year-old Jill Wagner and 20-year-old David Lemanowicz in two different solo pictures.

Of course, she was a little different back then, but David...
Photo: Hallmark Channel

During an appearance as an engaged couple on a 'Home & Family' episode in January 2017, Jill mentions she snuck out her dad's window and went out one day when she was not supposed to. Yeah, a rebellious daughter at the time. When she met David at the time, she was complete "head over heels" for him.

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They went out three times, and then, she says, "he went missing" and "never heard from him again". Yeah, it's not David's favorite part of the story. But as an athlete, he moved on to Connecticut after Carolina Monarchs was dissolved and moved there.

It was a teenage puppy love that ended sadly for me, as he gave me three dates and decided I wasn't the one for him.

Meanwhile, Jill graduated from NCSU in business management in 2001 and moved to California to further her modeling career and think about acting as well. A smart decision, in the end, something that would reunite her with him later again. But as she writes in the award-winning love story, "My 17-year-old heart got smashed, but I got over it and moved on to date MANY other guys in my life. Staying single while most of my friends got married."

David Himself Went on to Get Married and Have a Baby after Meeting First Wife Gina in College

After three years of pro-hockey career, he took a 5-year "retirement" period to go to college in 2000 and graduate from the University of Toronto. There he met his first wife, Gina, and went on to get married after dating for those retirement years. He was back to the pro league with the Memphis Riverkings just before their wedding.

David Lemanowicz with his daughter Lija.

David is already a dad to a 10-year-old.
Photo: Jill Wagner, Instagram

David moved here and there with different teams, seasons after seasons, until he was tired of the "minor-pro merry-go-round" in 2008 and quit hockey altogether. And he was joining the army in 2009 after months of training & courses. He was commissioned as Lt. David Lemanowicz of the US Army Reserve by 2010, and thus, could travel the world with the army (although not in a fun way).

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Meanwhile, Jill was starting to get successful in her pursuit of modeling and especially acting. She got her breakthrough directly with Ashton Kutcher's 'Punk'd' in 2003 and became good friends with him. She had that little struggle to go through but did have kind of a cult following for appearing in a series of Mercury car commercials. Then, she was hosting 'Wipeout' in 2008 while her fame slowly picked up quite the pace.

Jill, David and daughter Lija sitting in the back of their truck as a family.

Jill already knows how to be a mom.
Photo: Jill Wagner, Instagram

In August 2009, David and Gina were expecting a baby on their way to be born in January 2010. Thus, his first child, daughter Lija Lemanowicz made her way into the world, a little later than expected on February 16, 2010. She's now 10 years old, a milestone in her life too. She's amazing with Jill, by the way.

Their Fated Second Meeting Was in Afghanistan [2013], But They Both Had "Other" People in Their Lives

David's work with the US army's Air Force took him to Afghanistan in 2013, deployed as an OSI agent, and there were morale events at times, for obvious reasons. And Jill, as quite an established actor, accepted "an opportunity of a lifetime" offer to go and meet some of the US troops in Afghanistan as part of a USO Tour. Yeah, a total chance. But they both worked hard for their positions.

Jill Wagner kissing husband David on the cheek with him wearing an army outfit.

Celebrating Veterans' Day.
Photo: Jill Wagner, Instagram

Jill was 34, double the age since she last saw David, while he was 37. "I basically look the same, though," but David had a full beard on his face (yeah, he originally didn't have it). She was to have a talk with David's troop during that morale-boosting entertainment event.

There was a picture of her with another actor in the chow hall. His boss asked him to "check out who's coming to the base" and showed him the picture. He didn't recognize her instantly but did think to himself that he kind of knew her. So he looked up on Wikipedia and cross-checked everything to pinpoint the moment of their first meeting.

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When she was signing autographs in the hall, he went up to her and almost interrogated her to confirm everything he's estimated about her. "I walk up to her and I asked her if she was from North Carolina, she said, 'Yes'. I go, 'Little town outside of Greensboro?' She goes, 'Yes'," he narrates the story while chopping up vegetables for a Salmon with Chipotle Salsa dish on the 'Home & Family' episode. "I go, 'Do you ever go to any Carolina Monarchs' hockey games?' My old team, she says, 'Yes'. And I go, 'Do you remember dating the Goalie?' "

David in his early hockey years.

Yeah, he was in the army and an ice hockey player.
Photo: Jill Wagner, Instagram

Jill says she had some words for him, but he remembers that encounter a little differently. Still, Jill mentions in her story, "The 17-year-old girl still inside me wasn't very happy, but the 34-year-old woman I grew into was very happy to hear about his journey all of these years."

I felt so lucky that in that moment, our travels brought us both to this intersection. ... It was just nice to see a familiar face in a war-torn part of the country. I headed back home after traveling to 12 different bases. It was a trip of a lifetime for sure.

They caught up to their journeys, had a beer on the base that fateful night, but never pursued a love connection because, you know, he was married. And she too had a significant other. 

The Third Meeting: A Couple of Years Later, She Broke Up with Her Other, But a Psychic Accurately Predicts Her Romantic Future

On Valentine's Day 2016, she broke up with the "significant other" she was with when she met David in Afghanistan. She was single again, but one of her friends suggested she should see a famous psychic in Beverly Hills. Despite having skepticism and much to her dismay, she went to him.

Jill Wagner at a base in Afghanistan with the troops in 2013.

Yeah, they didn't think they'd meet up again...
Photo: Hallmark Channel

Here's her experience in her own words, "To make a long story longer, the psychic told me that I would take a trip for work, that my husband was looking for me all over the world, that I would meet him in April, he would be divorced with a kid, and we would have twins. My mouth flew open at how direct and detailed he was, but I still didn't believe it all."

The next week, her work took her to Vancouver, Canada, which, if you don't know, is David's birthplace. After spending most of April there filming for Hallmark's 'Christmas Cookies', she was set to return home in LA at the end of the month. But on April 29, she had dinner with her girlfriends to get to before heading home. So she had that lovely evening and was about to walk out of the restaurant.

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She and her friends were about to leave when she bumped into, guess who, David. "We were leaving and I was looking down on my phone; probably texting somebody that I was bored and I couldn't believe I have to start-over dating people again, and I was out again; and then I hear, 'Jill'," she narrates the third meeting on the 'Home & Family' episode again (the link is somehow the only link among all the other episodes of 'Home & Family' with the date wrong on the website. We triple checked, it's actually January 24, 2017). "And David had just walked in the restaurant I was walking out of. And boom!"

Jill Wagner with her arms through husband David Lemanowicz's left arm as they smile looking away from the camera.

Yeah, a perfect story to be told.
Photo: Jill Wagner, Instagram

As of the meeting, she writes in that contest-winning story again, "I asked what he was doing there, and he told me he flew in to see his daughter. He told me he lived alone in a cabin in Washington and his ex-wife lives in Venice, California. He WAS DIVORCED, WITH A KID, and IT WAS APRIL!!! My head was almost spinning. He then began to tell me that I had been his biggest regret since the day he saw me in Afghanistan and to please give him another shot (he wasn't the stupid 20-year-old boy he used to be). After my head stopped spinning and I came back down to earth, I told him I would love to see if we could work."

Turns out he was looking for her all over the world after all, and the intricate details were just as the 'psychic' had predicted.

And the Rest... Isn't History; Their Love Still Goes Strong — Married with a Baby on the Way

They started dating in May 2016. Jill was relatively private about her new crush-turned army-man boyfriend for the first few months of their dating life. But she then dropped a bomb on her fans over on Instagram with an engagement post on July 26, 2016, which became a boyfriend-introductory post as well. Yeah, it might've been seen to be moving too quickly since they got engaged after about two months of dating, but they had a two-decade history. According to his post, he proposed pretty romantically in a lighthouse.

She continued to keep her beau on the down-low for quite a while, landing little teases of their relationship to her fans on Instagram, and you know, David hadn't set up an account till then. He did start using it later, but his account is set to private, so...

But she did gradually start opening up on social media. She posted a photo of her with David and daughter Lija in September 2016, without mentioning their names yet, of course, saying how she can't wait to begin a future with them.

Jill Wagner, husband David Lemanowicz and his daughter Lija.

"I can't wait for the memories to begin with you all."
Photo Source: Jill Wagner, Instagram

In October 2016, she shared her first engagement photos while also sharing with The Huffington Post's Ilana Rapp that she was engaged, for the first time on paper.

The Halloween and the holidays went smoothly by as she thanked him again for being her favorite. Lija's clothing line also launched in December 2016 as the three moved into their new home in the countryside in Tennessee.

They were traveling around and celebrating the New Year and also planning their wedding, of course. They appeared on TV together for the first time with that 'Home & Family' episode to narrate that story.

Jill and husband David with 'Home & Family' hosts.

It's not like we didn't know the story, we didn't initially know the details.
Photo: Jill Wagner, Instagram

They celebrated her birthday in January, Valentine's Day, Lija's seventh birthday in February, and then David's birthday in March together. Finally, "Let the wedding weekend begin!!"

On April 8, 2017, David Lemanowicz married Jill Wagner at The Rose Hill Plantation in Nashville, North Carolina. It was grand. They had that carriage-with-the-horses and all that. She was absolutely overjoyed. See for yourself.

Watch: Every Snap from Jill Wanger and David Lemanowicz's Wedding

Since then, she's been really open about their relationship going forward as she's already a mom to Lija and is expecting her own. During one of her flights for 'Handcrafted America', she decided to submit her love story for Travelzoo's contest in June that year and won the six-night stay at Hidden Hills Villas in Bali and $1,500 Honeyfund gift card. But it's unclear if they ever went there. Bali was one place David never went with the army, but if they had gone for the vacation, she would've shared something on it. But... She didn't.

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They continue to go-to date nights as often as possible while Jill's career boomed since that trip to Afghanistan. She started getting more movie and TV roles, especially with Hallmark Channel, while also starring with Jason Momoa on 'Braven'. She does get busy and misses him during shootings, but she keeps reminiscing the old days, celebrating every little landmark they went through in their romance life. The love never died. And he probably quit the army.

Highlights of the years by Jill Wagner.

2019 was one heck of a year for the couple.
Photo: Jill Wagner, Instagram

Fast forward a couple of years later, on November 18, 2019, the couple announced her pregnancy on Instagram as they told People that they were trying for quite a while but were actually surprised (however, pleased) she was pregnant. Because they already "stopped stressing" over it.

My husband and I had been trying for a while and I finally stopped stressing over it and made an appointment with a fertility doctor. We actually found out at the doctor’s appointment that I was already pregnant. It was shocking, scary and the best feeling in the world all at once!

The two went around telling their friends about the news as she couldn't contain the excitement of having a child. In fact, they were hosted two baby showers in two/three days. Once in LA, her career-making town, and next in Vancouver, his hometown. They also had a third baby shower thrown by one of her friends and the friend's family.

David Lemanowicz and a pregnant Jill Wagner.

The third birthday shower was actually a celebration of the whole Lemanowicz family.
Photo: Jill Wagner, Instagram

On the more recent note, they just celebrated their third anniversary with David cooking Jill a fantastic meal in their home as he takes care of her during the pregnancy, like he often does for her.

And get this, their baby is due this month, April 2020. And it's a girl!! They didn't plan it, but April seems to be such a lucky month for the two. It's unlikely they will have twins, but despite it all, their story will continue to roll on as romantic as ever.

UPDATE: The Baby's Here! Check Out Her Name

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