The 'Mean Girls' star instantly knew he would marry Jaymes Vaughan during a TV interview
Jonathan Bennett found his Hallmark love story with his husband Jaymes Vaughan.
The couple first met in October 2016 on the news program Celebrity Page when Vaughan interviewed the Mean Girls star. Bennett told The Knot in 2021 that when he first saw Vaughan, he thought he was “the most beautiful man” he’d seen and immediately ran to the bathroom to fix his hair.
“I came out of the bathroom and his producer Jade was standing in front of me,” he recalled. “I asked her this exact question: ‘Am I about to meet my future husband?’ And she said, ‘I think so.’ “
Vaughan had a different version of the story, though he did note that he felt “electricity” with Bennett when they took a photo together. He explained, “I love how he says it was love at first sight for him. For me, I was just ready to do my interview, get it done and get on with the day.”
He explained, “We kept having to stop and remind ourselves that we weren't on a movie set, but this was actually our real life. If you had told me this was one of my Hallmark movie sets, I would have believed it. It was that perfect.”
For Vaughan, the couple’s relationship and wedding were also a dream come true for his childhood self. He spoke to Out Traveler in January 2023 about his personal journey leading up to their wedding day, telling the outlet, "Jonathan showed up in my life and changed it for the better."
So who is Jonathan Bennett’s husband? Here’s everything to know about Jaymes Vaughan and his relationship with the actor.
He’s from Virginia
Before he moved to Nevada, Vaughan grew up in the south, hailing from Chesterfield County, Virginia. As an adult, Vaughan settled in Las Vegas, telling Las Vegas Weekly in June 2021, that it was the place that felt most like home to him. He explained, “No matter where you go, Vegas has that small-town feel. Regardless of what industry you’re in, people always have your back.”
“When Jonathan said yes, I was like, ‘You realize it means you live in Vegas with me now, because Vegas is home,’ ” Vaughan said of the couple’s 2020 engagement. “He was like, ‘Oh, my God, I love Vegas. You kidding me?’ “
Bennett and Vaughan previously split time between Las Vegas and Palm Springs, California, with Bennett telling Palm Springs Life in November 2022 that he would drive back to Los Angeles for an audition or work if needed. The pair have since moved out of their Palm Springs home as of August 2023.
He’s a reality TV star and actor
Vaughan is no stranger to television. Throughout his entertainment career, he has appeared as a reality TV star, host and actor in front of the camera.
While he was working as a Chippendales host in Las Vegas, Vaughan and his colleague James Davis appeared on The Amazing Race season 21. In a 2012 interview with the Associated Press, Vaughan revealed he and Davis initially turned down the opportunity to be on the show, but they had a change of heart when Vaughan's dad was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.
As a way to ensure his parents were taken care of financially during the health situation, Vaughan and Davis agreed to compete. Though they set out to win the grand prize of $1 million, the duo ended up as the runners-up. Most recently, Vaughan starred in the MTV reality show The Real Friends of WeHo alongside Brad Goreski in 2023.
After meeting Bennett on Celebrity Page in 2016, Vaughan stepped away from his role as host after eight years in 2022. He went on to play characters in the movies Chocolate City: Vegas Strip and The Plus One, the latter with Bennett as part of the cast, too.
They were the first gay couple to appear on the cover of The Knot
Bennett and Vaughan made history when they became the first gay couple to appear on the cover of The Knot for the magazine’s summer 2021 issue. Reflecting on the moment with Out Traveler in April 2021, the couple shared what it meant to be featured, with Vaughan saying he was “super proud of The Knot and what they did with the issue.”
“I think that’s our job as this generation of LGBTQ+ people, to make it easier on the next, and help them feel seen, normal, and hopeful for their own future,” Vaughan explained. “And to open doors for others in our community to follow through.”
He added, “When you see two men on the cover and then open it up and see the diversity, and the representation for so many groups of people, it’s really dang special to be a part of.”
They had a “Hallmark movie fantasy” wedding
Bennett and Vaughan wed on March 19, 2022. The pair got married in Mexico in a ceremony surrounded by more than 100 of their family members and closest friends. Before their nuptials, they told The Knot in 2021 that they would be “breaking away from tradition a bit” with their wedding plans by foregoing having groomsmen and best men to have one big co-ed wedding party instead.
After their wedding, Vaughan told PEOPLE he had gotten to marry his “best friend” and opened up about the emotions that came along with their special day.
“I knew we'd be emotional but I don't think either of us realized just how overwhelming that moment would be until we were in it," he explained. "Seeing him crying only made me cry harder, and then our guests cry harder, and then we'd all start laughing, and then all back into crying."
Their first dance was to “Our Song,” a tune Vaughan wrote for Bennett as part of their proposal. Bennett described the moment as “unforgettable” in a December 2023 interview with PEOPLE.
"We got to slow dance to the song and I got to hear my husband sing it. Then there were fireworks and all of our friends and family were around us," Bennett said. "It was a moment that looked like a Hallmark movie that I'm in. So it was like for the first time I was living my actual Hallmark movie fantasy."
Vaughan echoed his husband’s sentiment, adding, "There was a point in the wedding where I grabbed him and was like, 'Baby, this feels like I'm on one of your sets, but this is real.' "
They run a company and podcast together
Bennett and Vaughan have separate passions but have joined forces on several projects over the years. They own the LGBTQ+ travel company, OUTbound, and host the iHeartRadio podcast Pridecast together, which was nominated for a GLAAD award.
The idea for OUTbound was born during the COVID-19 pandemic when the couple were yearning to go on a trip with other members of the LGBTQ+ community, Bennett said in a January 2023 interview with Out Traveler.
Alongside their friend, Eric Hodgson, they founded the company to “create a queer safe space for people to travel and see the world, and do these amazing international things.”
As owners of a travel company, they also embrace their love for adventure. The pair have shared glimpses of their trips with their followers on social media. In 2023, Vaughan documented their travels, including to Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, South Africa and Japan.
He’s a supportive husband
Vaughan is an avid supporter of his husband’s career. Across social media, the former TV host has celebrated Bennett’s work and applauded his performances.
In December 2022, Vaughan posted several times about his husband’s Hallmark movie The Holiday Sitter, calling the role his “favorite thing he’s ever done" on Instagram.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of this man,” Vaughan wrote in another post. “I can only imagine how much having a story like this to watch with my family during Christmas would have helped younger me...but luckily the next generation does have this, because of people like my baby.”
Most recently, in January 2023, Vaughan joined Bennett in New York City for his Broadway debut in Spamalot. In honor of the special moment, Vaughan shared a heartfelt tribute to Bennett, praising his determination.
"Every time I think I couldn’t be more amazed by you, you surprise me with something else," Vaughan captioned a selfie of them in a theater. "You are on Broadway! So take in every moment because it’s all your hard work over the years that has got you here. You’ve earned it."
They had a heartwarming reaction to Hallmark’s first film featuring a gay couple
Bennett and Vaughan were together when Bennett got the script for 2020’s The Christmas House, Hallmark’s first movie to feature a gay couple prominently. Bennett recalled the story on the PEOPLE Every Day podcast in November 2022, explaining that he was overcome with emotion after he read the script.
"I got to the first scene where I'm with my husband of the movie and we're talking about adoption and I was like, 'Wait a minute' — and then I had to go back and look at it again because they didn't tell me what the character was. They just said, 'Here's the role,' " Bennett said.
He added, "I remember distinctively screaming to Jaymes, being like, 'Babe, there's a gay character.' And he came running up the stairs. I think I had tears in my eyes actually because it was such a moment of feeling so seen."
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