Almost one year after losing his beloved wife Beth Chapman to cancer, Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman is ready to move on to the next chapter of his life with his new fiancé – and is certain his ex would approve of her.
Chapman spoke to PEOPLE about his decision to propose to his girlfriend Francie Frane, what the future for them holds, and why he believes Beth would approve of their relationship.
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“I need a partner,” the Dog’s Most Wanted star admitted. “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. If Beth was here, and saw Francie and saw how she was raised, her morality and this and that, Beth would say, ‘Big daddy, don’t lose her.'”
“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.”
Chapman proposed to Frane over the weekend over a candlelit dinner at his Colorado home.
“They’re very happy and looking forward to a long life together,” a rep for the reality TV star told PEOPLE.
Regarding his decision to propose to Frane, he said, “When you know, you know.”
“I believe in marriage,” Chapman added. “Beth taught me.”
Last week, he declared his love for Frane on Instagram, sharing that she has been able to put a smile on his face. Chapman’s late wife, Beth, who was diagnosed with stage 2 throat cancer in 2017, passed away last June at the age of 51.
“I scream & Cry Beth where are you why did you leave me then I look up & see you Francie & the pain turns to a smile I LOVE YOU WOMAN !!” Chapman captioned the post of Frane.
While many of his fans criticized the reality star for his new relationship, one of his daughters stepped in to defend him and his relationship last month.
“Everyone who’s judging my father should sure pray that they never have to lose their loved one and get judged for trying to fill the void,” Bonnie Chapman wrote. “Your opinion is invalid. My mother would’ve wanted him to be happy. Now please shut up and let me my dad live in peace.”