LOS ANGELES – Captain Sandy Yawn couldn’t be happier with her new relationship with gospel singer Leah Shafer.
Speaking to Fox News, the “Below Deck Mediterranean” boss opened up about the pair’s instant connection and how she fell head over heels for Shafer.
“It’s new and I feel so blessed,” Yawn, 54, told us. “She’s an amazing soul and she has a beautiful voice.”
The couple met over Facebook in October after Shafer sent the reality star a message, and one line in particular — “many blessings” — really grabbed Yawn’s attention. From there, the sparks flew.
“It was like a magical moment,” gushed Yawn, noting that she was initially drawn to Shafer’s “spirit.”
“She’s aesthetically beautiful but as many people know you can have very handsome [men] and beautiful women but they may be not so beautiful on the inside, and it was that part of her,” she added. “Her soul. Her spirit. Her gentleness. Her kindness. She’s the first person I ever met in my life who does not swear. Not one swear word.
“So let’s just say I’m trying to clean up my mouth,” Yawn teased.
Last June, the yacht captain admitted to The Daily Dish that because of her career “it’s hard to have a relationship.” Fast-forward to today, now that she’s found someone, Yawn is even more grateful.
“I feel like through life you meet people, you have relationships, but then you just say: ‘Ok. I don’t want to like meet, go out, you know have a relationship for three years and break up.’ I want someone with me for the rest of my life.
“I mean I’m 54,” Yawn continued. “I’ve lived a long life that’s really great. I’m still very young in my spirit. And you know Leah has come into my life. It was a magical connection. It wasn’t something that was pursued and I feel so lucky and that’s my goal for the rest of my life — is her.”
As for if there are wedding bells in the near future? “[We’re] just enjoying [it] right now — in a committed relationship,” Yawn explained. “So that part may come later.
“For now, it’s just really getting to know each other and spending time [together],” Yawn, who has since relocated from Los Angeles to Denver to be closer to Shafer, shared.
Of the couple’s romance, the Bravo personality added: “I love the balance that we have. It’s not one person takes care of the other. It’s such a great balance and we fit. It fits.”
Before Yawn, Shafer was married to Ross Shafer — with whom she shares a 13-year-old daughter Lauren — for 13 years, according to Page Six.
“I just hope that everyone’s good to her,” Yawn told Fox News, adding that it’s a “big change” for Shafer.
In May, The Cheat Sheet reported that since the couple has gone public with their relationship, “some religious institutions have turned their back” on Shafer. In response to the backlash, Shafer explained to the outlet at the time: “I think you can’t help who you fall in love with.”
Yawn has also been there for her new love, giving Shafer unwavering support and advice.
“In the very beginning I was on television, Bravo was really great at the social media part saying: ‘Listen do not respond to the negative. Just stay focused on what your true goal is the show and just focus on the positive.’ And for her, this has never happened,” Yawn noted.
“It’s brutal,” she continued. “They are tearing her apart — the gospel world — some of them, but she’s also getting a lot of love. So I said Bravo taught us to: ‘Block. Buh-bye.’ And you just shake those people off and you focus on the people who are positive, but somehow the human mind always goes to the negative and it’s so hard. At some point, you just block those people.”
Yawn’s relationship isn’t the only new part of her life though. The yacht captain is also currently starring on season 4 of “Below Deck Mediterranean.”
“It’s an incredible feeling and I’m grateful and gracious to Bravo,” Yawn said of the show being picked up again. “Also, it allows many Americans and other countries to see that this is an amazing time that we have doing a job and there’s actually jobs in this industry and also look at the beautiful places we go.”
She continued: “And I think it also encourages people to go travel and [shows that] chartering is for everyone. There are different sized vessels. Not every boat has to be this massive yacht but there are smaller yachts you can charter. So it’s a great thing. Bravo has done a great thing for the maritime industry.”
Looking back over the last five years since she made her debut on season 2 in 2014, Yawn admits that this is the first time she’s “really stayed focused on being a yacht captain” instead of “thinking about the cameras.”
“[It] is so hard to do,” she added. “And it really helps when you’re not challenged and I think my relationship with [chief stew] Hannah [Ferrier] was a lot better [this season], so I wasn’t so focused on that per se, but I actually was able to do my job.”
“Below Deck Mediterranean” airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.
Former Heaven’s Gate follower says he tried to pull girlfriend out of cult before shocking mass suicide in doc
After 18 years, Frank Lyford trusted his gut and left the Heaven’s Gate cult — along with the woman he loved.
The former follower recalled his terrifying ordeal in the upcoming episode of “People Magazine Investigates: Cults,” which is airing on Investigation Discovery (ID) on June 17.
The show, which recently kicked off its second season, explores how ordinary people “who, lured by promises of eternal life, get caught up in a terrifying web of abuse, deception and manipulation.” It features reporters who’ve covered these harrowing cases, as well as former members.
“It was this deep, gut-felt misgiving of remaining in the group, remaining in the cult,” said the now-65-year-old in the documentary, as reported by People magazine Friday. “I couldn’t express it at the time and I didn’t know what my life would look like — what it’d be like adjusting to life outside of the group — I just knew I couldn’t remain in the cult anymore.”
History.com reported the cult was led by Marshall Applewhite, a former music professor who was recruited by one of his nurses, Bonnie Lu Nettles, after surviving a near-death experience in 1972. The pair then persuaded a group of 20 people from Oregon to abandon their possessions and move to Colorado where they promised an extraterrestrial spacecraft would take them to the “Kingdom of Heaven.”
The outlet shared that both Nettles and Applewhite insisted human bodies were “merely containers” that could be disregarded for a higher physical existence. Membership diminished after the spacecraft never arrived and Nettles died in 1985. The group resurfaced in the ‘90s as Applewhite started recruiting new members. After the 1995 discovery of the comet Hale-Bopp, members believed that an alien spacecraft was on its way to earth.
Lyford and Erika Ernst had been dating for two years when the couple came across Applewhite and Nettles during a 1975 Oregon camping trip. They soon sold their belongings. Lyford defected in 1993.
Lyford soon found himself in his parents’ Canadian home. And two days later, he received a call from “the love of my life.”
According to People, Ernst pleaded Lyford to return and he asked her to leave. The 40-year-old never did.
Ernst, along with 37 other followers, died by suicide over three days in 1997. Their bodies were discovered inside a Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. compound after someone called police with an anonymous tip. The deceased ranged from ages 26 to 72. People magazine previously reported the members left video diaries explaining their reasons for the mass suicide.
History.com reported that the mass suicide occurred around the same time Hale-Bopp reached its closest distance to Earth. Applewhite, who was among the dead, convinced the group they needed to “free their mortal souls in order to board a spaceship that was trailing behind the Hale-Bopp comet” heading towards a distant planet called “The Next Level.”
The bodies were found dressed in black suits with matching Nike sneakers and plastic bags over their heads. All had willfully ingested apple sauce laced with barbiturates, which was also washed down with vodka. Each had their IDs in their pockets.
“I knew it was the same group I was a part of, so it was a very emotional time for me, from the standpoint of feeling the loss of all my friends who I had been with for 18 years,” admitted Lyford.
Lyford said he wished he’d pushed Ernst harder to leave.
“If I were back on that call with her right now, I would be more emphatic about her leaving,” he explained. “We all have a connection to the divine within us, we all have that radio transmitter built in — we don’t need anyone to translate that for us. That was the big mistake that we all made, in my mind – it was believing we needed someone else to tell us what our best path should be.”
“People Magazine Investigates: Cults” airs June 17 at 9 p.m. on ID.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper remembers mom Gloria Vanderbilt as visitor from ‘distant star’
(Reuters) – CNN anchor Anderson Cooper remembered his mother, designer and society grand dame Gloria Vanderbilt, as a woman who endured a string of heartbreaks but still remained deeply in love with love.
Actress Gloria Vanderbilt speaks at a panel for the HBO documentary “Nothing Left Unsaid” during the Television Critics Association Cable Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, California, January 7, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
“I always felt it was my job to protect her. She was the strongest person I ever met but she wasn’t tough,” Cooper said in a seven-minute video youtu.be/cfbRneB9wcA obituary on CNN.
“I always thought of her as visitor from another world, a traveler stranded here who had come from a distant star that had burned out long ago.”
Vanderbilt, who died on Monday at age 95, had been famous her entire life, starting with a legal battle in which her aunt took custody from her mother when “Little Gloria” was a child. She would go on to endure four marriages, three divorces, the death of a husband and the suicide of a son.
Cooper’s obituary featured clips of young Gloria and told how she grew up in France, unaware that she was heir to the Vanderbilt railroad fortune. Portions also were taken from an HBO documentary “Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper.”
When Cooper questioned why she first married a 32-year-old Hollywood figure, Vanderbilt told him, “Sweetheart, I was only 17.”
His mother “trusted too freely, too completely” but always pressed on, Cooper said, and always believed that the next true love was just around the corner.
“She was always in love – in love with men or with friends or books and art, in love with her children and her grandchildren and then her great-greatchildren,” Cooper said. “Love is what she believed in more than anything.”
Cooper said his mother learned earlier this month that she had advanced and spreading stomach cancer. Her response was to cite a 1950 hit song by Peggy Lee with the lyrics “show me the way to get out of this world because that’s where everything is.”
The CNN report included a video Cooper shot in a hospital after the diagnosis as he and his mother broke into laughing fits over a joke. Cooper said that was when he realized they had the same giggle. He said he still giggles every time he watches that video.
Writing by Bill Trott; Editing by Susan Thomas
Jennifer Aniston had one requirement for Adam Sandler kissing scenes in ‘Murder Mystery’
“I did have him learn to oil the beard up a little bit,” the actress said in a joint interview this week. “Conditioned.”
Sandler said kissing his longtime friend on camera wasn’t all that awkward, except when his wife Jackie and children were on set and encouraging him a little too much.
“The only awkward part is hearing my wife on the side going, ’Harder! Harder! Kiss her harder! Deeper!” he joked. “They (Jackie and the kids) watched the kissing. They love it. They love Aniston, and they want her to have good things and they say, ‘Give her something nice.’”
“That was awkward,” Aniston agreed.
“Murder Mystery” follows a longtime married couple who get framed for murder while they’re unlikely guests on a billionaire’s yacht in Europe. The movie premiered on Netflix on Friday.
Fox News caught up with the stars last week and asked them who they would pin a murder on if given the chance.
Sandler, 52, was quick to answer: Rob Schneider.
“It would be fun to hurt him. It would be fun to see him behind bars. And I would visit him every 10-15 years and say, ‘I’m sorry I did this to you,’” Sandler told us.
“Oh yeah, you’d have to have some fun with Rob,” Aniston, 50, said.
When asked what Schneider ever did to deserve the blame in the hypothetical whodunit, Sandler simply said, “Nothing! That’s the beauty of this joke.”
Schneider wasted no time responding to Sandler’s admission, issuing a warning to his former “Saturday Night Live” co-star in a comment to Fox News on Friday.
“I know all of Adam’s secrets for 30 years and that’s why he’d like nothing more than [to] lock me away for a crime he’d like to commit: taking away Kevin James’ Happy Meal!” Schneider teased.
Fox News’ Julius Young and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
CBP rebuked by watchdog, whistleblowers for ‘failure’ to collect DNA from migrant detainees
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Justice Department tells Mueller his House testimony ‘must remain within the boundaries’ of public report
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- Read the letter: Department of Justice instructs Mueller to keep testimony to information from his report
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