On August 21, 2021, Jeff Bridges escorted his daughter, Hayley Bridges, down the aisle in a romantic ceremony in California's Santa Ynez Valley. As the father of the bride, the Academy Award-winning actor knew he'd be playing an important role during the wedding, so he had a lot of planning to do leading up to the big day. His main priority? Work on is health.
In an interview with The Independent, which was published on November 5, 2022, Bridges opened up about the health challenges he navigated before the wedding. The Tron star was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in October of 2020 and contracted COVID-19 three months later. Last year, the actor announced that his cancer was in remission.
Since Bridges wanted to savor every moment of his daughter's special day, he was committed to improving his health. “The first goal was how long can I stand up,” he tells the publication. At first, the Oscar winner could only stand for 45 seconds at a time. Through working with a trainer, Bridges was able to increase the amount of steps he could take and worked on stabilizing his breathing while leaning on oxygen assistance.
After his hard work and dedication, Bridges gained enough strength to fulfill his father-of-the-bride duties and enjoy the day. “Finally, one day I said, ‘Maybe I can do it, you know,’” he reflects. “And it turns out, I not only got to walk her down the aisle, but I got to do the wedding dance. That was terrific." Bridges and his daughter made their way to the altar while “Sweet Thing” by Van Morrison played. During the reception, they shared a touching father-daughter dance to “Ain’t That Love” by Ray Charles, which was a highlight for Hayley.
At the wedding, Bridges also shared a few words that moved Hayley and her husband, Justin Shane. “My dad gave a welcome speech and touched on a trait of Justin's that I also mentioned in my vows, which is that kids and dogs love him,” the bride exclusively shared with Brides. “I believe this to be an example of his wonderful energy.”
In May of 2022, Bridges told People that he battled the worst of his health struggles when he spent five months in a hospital. Since the True Grit actor was going through chemo at the time he had COVID-19, his immune system was down and he wasn’t able to beat it on his own, he said to People. “I was pretty close to dying,” he revealed. “The doctors kept telling me, 'Jeff, you've got to fight. You're not fighting.' I was in surrender mode. I was ready to go. I was dancing with my mortality.”
Since Bridges was able to regain his strength for the wedding, it made the event that much more special for Hayley. After eight years together, Hayley and Justin tied the knot at Kestrel Park with an aesthetic that combined the English garden landscape with their California coastal vibe. They invited 123 guests to celebrate their nuptials.