Below Deck Mediterranean’s Captain Sandy Yawn revealed she is engaged to her longtime partner Leah Shafer.
The reality TV star, 59, proposed to the gospel singer and skin aesthetician, 49, last weekend during an intimate trip, after dating for more than five years.
‘I have been thinking about marrying Leah for years. I knew from the minute I met her, but the timing had to be right. I wanted to make sure we could truly do life together first,’ she told E! News.
Sandy — who recently spoke out about the sexual misconduct scandal on sister show Below Deck Down Under — said she popped the question during a romantic getaway: ‘Leah wanted the fairytale, and to me, Leah represents elegance.’
‘I planned a boat ride to a beautiful cove. I had it decorated with flowers with a path to a small table accompanied by three violinists where we could sit and have a small date,’ she explained.
Sandy shared that due to her nerves she popped the question right away: ‘I truly could not wait!’
The Bravo star revealed she first shared her ‘vision list of love’ with Leah before getting down on one knee.
Leah then happily accepted the proposal.
‘The look on her face was priceless, and my heart exploded! It was filled beyond capacity of anything I could ever imagine. Somehow I feel closer than I did before, and I can’t explain it. There is an energy that I have never experienced in my life,’ Sandy gushed.
‘I love her beyond; as Leah says Yawn beyond.’
The pair first met in Los Angeles in 2018 after Leah reached out to Sandy on Facebook months prior.
‘She sent me a nice message that said, “I came across your show, congratulations, many blessings,”‘ she told Cheat Sheet in 2019.
‘It was like a spiritual connection in the beginning. She has a passion for inspiring through music and the youth. And broken people and so do I coming from the gospel industry.’
‘That’s what brought us together. And then, of course, the attraction and falling in love with a beautiful soul and knowing you want to be with someone forever. I’ve never felt that way before.’
Earlier this year Yawn gushed about the impact of her relationship with Shafer and caller her ‘God’s gift’, in her book: Be the Calm or Be the Storm: Leadership Lessons from a Woman at the Helm.
In a section of her new book titled, ‘Give Me Grace’, the reality star explains how the pair’s connection has changed her life.
She writes: ‘I believe God has a way of preparing you for “the one.” He knew I wasn’t ready for her all those years ago. And she wasn’t ready for me. We were both being prepared for each other. God waited for us. He gave me opportunities to make different choices and be more conscious, so that when that sweet little Facebook message came across my page, I was open.’
‘That was in June of 2018. It wasn’t until October of that year that I checked my Facebook messages. Leah had sent me a link to her music, and her voice gave me chills. She was also gorgeous. I decided to invite her to perform on my I Believe Tour, where I use music along with life experiences of those who have overcome to inspire and empower others.’
‘That same month, I flew Leah to Los Angeles to meet with her in person. It was love at first sight. We hugged, and we’ve been together ever since. By 2019 we were living together at her home in Denver.
‘My relationship with Leah has taught me grace. Until she came into my life, I never fully understood the true meaning of the word. When someone is having a bad day, you don’t chide them or try to make them stop whatever it is they are doing that’s manifesting the bad mood.’
‘Instead, you give them grace and let them have that bad day without judgment. If I am doing something that’s not nice, I ask Leah, “Can I have a do over?” That’s something I taught her. She gives me that do over, but she gives it with grace. She doesn’t constantly remind me, she doesn’t add it to a list of grievances, and she doesn’t hold me to court.
‘Leah is God’s gift to me. I’ve always been deeply spiritual, but there is something about her faith that makes me feel more settled, more grounded. She makes me feel like I have found my way home.’
This will be Leah’s second marriage walk down the aisle. The singer shares a teenage daughter, Lauren, from her first marriage.
Yawn is one of a few female superyacht captains and found international fame on Bravo’s Below Deck Mediterranean, currently in its 8th season.
Below Deck Mediterranean was the first spin-off of the popular Below Deck franchise.