Duane "Dog" Chapman and Francie Frane had an emotional connection right off the bat, the Dog the Bounty Hunter star revealed while discussing his teary first phone call with his now-fiancée in a recent interview with minister Patricia King. The reality personality first met Frane months after the loss of his wife, Beth Chapman, to cancer in June 2019, when he called looking for her husband to do some landscaping for him. When Frane informed him her husband had died recently due to cancer, an emotional Dog told King they were both "bawling" over their shared losses.
"I’m still crying right now," he added. Dog also opened up about his last days with Beth, when she had accepted that she would not survive her bout with cancer. "She woke me up one night and told me, 'Daddy, I'm going to die,' and I said, 'No you're not,'" he recalled. "So she had accepted it and I would not."
While Dog has faced criticism for moving on with Frane, popping the question in May after months of dating Frane, he told PEOPLE that there would be no forgetting Beth. "I've said it before. There will never be another Mrs. Dog. There is not. Francie couldn't do that. There will be a last Mrs. Chapman." He added that if Beth was able to weigh in on the relationship, she would definitely approve.
"You'll never forget the spouse," he added. "You can't help it. I will never forget. But I've got to get out there. I've got to be able to say, 'I came out of this and you can, too.' As a human being, I don't think you look for — not a replacement, because you can never find one. I'm learning that right now."
Dog has the full support of his family on this engagement, with his and Beth's daughter, Bonnie Chapman, defending the two on Instagram after the engagement, saying her father "deserves to be happy" and that Frane was a "wonderful woman" who was not trying to replace Beth.
"Life is filled with so much sorrow and hurt, in times like this is when love is found unexpected," she continued. "For those who claim to know my mother’s wishes: please remember that we as a family went through every excruciating and painful detail of what was next. I had this talk with her, my mother had so much love for my father, she would never want him to be alone. My mom wanted him to be happy no matter what."