Today show host Jill Martin has announced that she and banker Erik Brooks are engaged — again — a year and a half after they called off their first engagement.
Jill, 44, and Erik had begun dating in 2017 and got engaged for the first time in 2019 — but in May of 2020, Jill announced that they had called it quits, explaining that the pandemic had ‘taken a toll on so many aspects of life’ and that it became ‘too difficult’ to maintain their relationship with her in New York and him in Boston.
But in a new essay for Today, Jill revealed how she worked up the nerve to call him after 18 months without speaking, leading them to rekindle their romance — which culminating in Erik popping the question once again.
And Jill insists that the time they spent apart as fortified their connection, because she now knows she is ‘confident’ by herself.
‘Everyone’s journey is different,’ she said. ‘It took me 45 years to find my fairy tale. When I realized I was confident on my own, that’s when I knew Erik and I were ready to get back together.’
Today host Jill Martin, 44, is engaged to fiance Erik Brooks for a second time after he proposed in the Bahamas (pictured) 18 months after they called off their first engagement
The lifestyle expert (pictured with her fiance after his second proposal) explained the couple needed to ‘take a long pause’ in order to work on themselves before reuniting earlier this year
Trouble: When they split, Jill, from New York, admitted that the stress of the pandemic had ‘taken a toll’ on her long-distance relationship with Erik, who lives in Boston with his children
Erik’s second proposal was more pared-down than his first, which happened on a beach over Memorial Day weekend in 2019.
‘Our first engagement was extravagant and over the top: flowers, a tent, pictures, our families, cameras, lights … very dramatic and grand,’ Jill said.
‘This time around it was different. It was beautiful, but it was different. We were on a small fishing boat in the Bahamas. It was just the two of us and, lucky for us, a couple on another nearby boat told us afterward that they took a picture of us while Erik was proposing.’
He also got straight to the point: ‘Erik simply said, “I can’t wait to spend the rest of forever with you.” And we were engaged. Again.’
Jill and Erik met on a dating app in the fall of 2017, and she came to love him and ‘adore’ his three children.
Then, on Memorial Day in 2019, Eric popped the question for the first time. He took her to the beach, where he had set up a tent decorated with romantic mementos from their courtship.
End of the road: Jill (pictured after Erik proposed for the first time) split from her banker fiance in May 2020, less than a year after the couple got engaged
Going all out: The banker popped the question over Memorial Day weekend last year, proposing to Jill in a tent he set up on the beach in the Hamptons
‘When I looked in the tent there were pics of us from the last year and eight months framed everywhere … candles … flowers … all our favorite songs on a playlist,’ she said.
It was there that Erik got down on one knee, but Jill was so stunned that she admitted she left him hanging for a bit.
‘It took me a few mins to say yes — he actually said, “Is the answer, ‘yes’?” as I hadn’t responded! I said of course! Yes!’ she recalled.
‘He is my real-life Prince Charming,’ she said at the time. ‘I couldn’t have created a better storybook ending.’
But things weren’t perfect, and Jill admitted that they argued a lot — though she imagined they’d work through it.
‘Even though we were fighting and hurting each other to what I thought was an irreparable place, I never thought our relationship would break,’ she said.
But then, on May 17, 2020, she told People that the COVID-19 outbreak had ‘taken a toll on so many aspects of life.’
Dazzler: At the time, a delighted Jill happily showed off a huge rock on her finger as she celebrated the happy news
Opening up: Although Jill remained incredibly private about her relationship before the engagement, she revealed in February last year that she and Erik met on a dating app in 2017
‘It’s such a difficult time for everyone,’ she continued. ‘Erik is the most magnificent person, but with him living in Boston with his children, and me living in New York, the distance just became too difficult for us to maintain the kind of relationship that’s important to us both. He is an amazing man, and I wish him nothing but the best.’
Reflecting on the split this morning, she said: ‘Deciding to end our engagement last year was heart-wrenching.
‘After almost three years of a near fairy tale, the lows became more overwhelming than the highs. It wasn’t working.
‘We were arguing more than we were getting along. Energetically, the timing wasn’t right. We both still needed to grow. It took falling apart to build ourselves back together.
‘I used to say, “It literally takes my breath away to picture my life without him.” But our relationship couldn’t stay the way it was. We needed a pause. A long pause. And we took it.’
In their time apart, Jill said she went to therapy, journaled, exercised, and worked on herself.
Shutting it down: Jill appears to have deleted all images of Erik from her Instagram since the couple’s split
‘Prince Charming’: When Jill and Erik got engaged, the lifestyle guru gushed about their shared values and her excitement at being with him ‘for the rest of her life’
‘I was 44 and honestly didn’t know how I was going to go on … but I did,’ she said.
She also entertained dating again, but admitted it wasn’t an easy thing to approach at her age.
‘Why did people think that if you were in your mid-40s and single that something had to be wrong with you?’ she asked. ‘I needed to have the confidence to say, “There is no catch. I am single because I choose to be and I am proud of who I am.”‘
But eventually, she said, ‘I realized that I would be OK if I ultimately found myself alone … I like me. I like being with me. I’m fun.’
She ‘dated’ herself for a while, and didn’t speak to Erik for 18 months — until one Thursday when she picked up the phone.
She admitted that he was ‘shocked’ she called, but they soon began talking more and rekindling their romance.
They decided they ‘wanted to make sure this time would be different. Better.’
‘I love the way Erik loves me, but I also love how I feel about myself when I am with him,’ she said.
‘I am the best version of myself when we are together. I feel confident, smart and happy. We laugh all the time. While we still fight sometimes, we limit the drama.
‘The realistic version of my fairy tale was ready to be written.’
Struggles: In July, Jill opened up about the initial tension between her and Erik’s children, revealing that she found it difficult to ease into her role as a stepmother
Jill previously revealed that she initially struggled to fit in to Erik’s family dynamic as a stepmother to his kids.
She recalled a heartbreaking confrontation between Erik, his 11-year-old daughter Bella, and herself while they were all on a vacation together, recalling how the tween had packed up Jill’s suitcase for her at the hotel in a clear attempt to get her to go home.
‘I was so upset, I was hysterical crying,’ Jill recalled in in July 2019. ‘And Erik said to her, “How could you do this?” He said, “Don’t you want me to be happy?” And she said, “Don’t you want me to be happy?”‘
According to Jill, the children’s initial hesitation to welcome her into the family soon disappeared, and she said at the time that she and Bella had gone on to become ‘the best of friends.’
However, that hasn’t stopped Jill from wanting children of her own.
Just a month before her first engagement, Jill opened up about her decision to freeze her eggs at the age of 38.
‘I thought it was giving myself an option in the future, whether I met someone or I did it on my own,’ she told Page Six. ‘I wanted to give myself that choice.’
Jill, who was single at the time, gave herself injections twice daily without ever giving up work, though she recalled it being a ‘very intense, painful process.’
In addition to being a Today correspondent, she is a Knicks reporter and also appears on QVC, where she recently launched a decor line, G.I.L.I by Jill Martin Home.