It might be hard to picture Bernie Sanders out from behind the debate podium and slow dancing in his living room, but his wife of 27 years, Jane O'Meara Sanders, is claiming that there's really no debate when it comes to the most romantic presidential candidate! In a recent interview with People, Jane revealed the soft side of the Vermont senator, also known as her forever dance partner.
Who knew the senator could be so sweet? The still lovey-dovey pair met at Bernie's first mayoral debate in Burlington, Vermont, back in 1981. "I sat in the second row and I fell in love with Bernie's ideas," Jane shared of that fateful first meeting. Soon after, they reconvened at an election-night soireeée and Bernie asked his to-be-bride to dance. "That was it," remembers Jane.
But after an eight-year-long romance, the couple broke up. Why? The soon-to-be senator just couldn't commit! "I wanted to get married and he didn't," explained Jane. "We were on a break." (Cue Ross Geller screaming on Friends...)
That's not where the Sanders' story ends, of course. Despite their break up, Bernie still maintained his relationship with Jane's children from her previous marriage. "He still came over that Christmas to give them presents and be with them and he made it a point to go out with them even though he and I weren't together anymore. He taught them basketball, baseball, checkers, chess." Aww, Bernie, you ol' softie!
So just how did these two go from being on a break to being married for nearly three decades? "Look when you do a proposal, it has to be done with ambience," begins Bernie. "Proper moment, proper lighting. Right?" Nope! That's not exactly how things went down for this couple!
According to his wife, Bernie took Jane out for ice cream sundaes at Friendly's — ugh, too cute! — and tried to convince her to get back together. When Jane refused as they headed out to the parking lot (she wanted him to put a ring on it, duh), Bernie asked if she wanted to get married. Her reply? "You know I do. Let's not talk about this again." Clearly she was not getting it! In fact, Bernie had to ask his future wife a second time. "He took me by the shoulders and said, 'Will. You. Marry. Me.' And I said, 'When?'"
Hey, we'd say yes if ice cream was provided, too. Being head-over-heels in love is just the cherry on top (just kidding!).