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After winning an Emmy at the 2018 ceremony for directing the Oscars, Glenn Weiss got down on one knee to propose to his shocked girlfriend, Jan Friedlander Svendsen. It was a moment from the Microsoft Theatre stage that went viral and led to an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! but Rambling Reporter has learned that the happy couple still has yet to tie the knot.
Svendsen, who serves as chief creative officer of Charity Network, says she loves the word fiancee. “We are not in a rush and our work schedules are insane.” Adds Weiss: “Since we had such a public engagement, we are actually planning to have a private wedding.”
They’ll take a spin in the spotlight again at the Emmys on Sunday where Weiss is nominated for directing both the Oscars and the Tonys. Rambling Reporter caught up with the happy couple to see what the past year has been like since their special moment on TV’s biggest night.
It’s nearly been a year since you got engaged onstage at the Emmys. You’ve been recognized on the street and called out at the Kennedy Center Honors. What has been the highlight?
Weiss: A big highlight for me was not the action, but the reaction. Not just on the night, but in the days and months that followed. The most fascinating thing has been the sheer volume of people who reached out to us from everywhere, and what almost all of them had to say. It seemed everyone who reached out had to tell us about where they were and what they were doing when they saw it. We heard from people literally around the world, all of whom shared with us their experience of our engagement. That was almost as surreal as the engagement itself.
Svendsen: The love everywhere and from everyone was palpable and amazing but the biggest highlight for me was Glenn and his unbelievable proposal and our love. In addition, appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live! was a big highlight for me! Not only was it a blast being on Kimmel!, I developed a relationship with executive producer Jill Leiderman and Jimmy, and now they are clients of mine at the Charity Network and we just launched a big charity fundraising initiative. Just another great outcome from that night — being able to help an important cause and raise money for charity.
What has the response been among TV peers?
Svendsen: Glenn certainly knows how to make great live TV!
Weiss: The first indication was the execs at NBC — who broadcast last year’s Emmys — the Television Academy and the Motion Picture Academy were the first ones to congratulate us and send champagne. That was a good sign! The reaction from peers has been divided down gender lines. Women I work with all said the proposal was so romantic and like a fairy tale. The men I work with all said that I ruined it for every other guy thinking about proposing!
Svendsen: And everyone said that Glenn must have balls of steel!
What’s the latest with the wedding? Have you set a date? Or plans for where/when or honeymoon?
Svendsen: The good news is that I love the word fiancee! We are not in a rush and our work schedules are insane.
Weiss: Since we had such a public engagement, we are actually planning to have a private wedding.
Glenn has directed every major live Hollywood event, and won Emmys for his work. The proposal was great live television — anything you would do differently about that night or the proposal?
Weiss: First, I didn’t know I was going to win so while I thought about this moment and what I might do ahead of time, I also didn’t want to jinx it by overthinking, so I put it out of my mind until I was walking up to the stage. My producer instincts kicked in and I really did try to stay to time and at that point I was because thought I was going to end by saying “I want to call you my wife” and end it there and meet her backstage to propose. What I didn’t expect was the room exploding with emotion and then seeing the “wrap it up” that was on the teleprompter being taken down. I took that to mean, “It’s OK — just do this right.” No planning in the world could have prepared me for that moment’s reaction and how I responded, so no I wouldn’t do anything differently because if it were so planned out, it wouldn’t have been the magical moment it became. I also just want to thank Hamish Hamilton, the director of the Emmys, for going with the flow and capturing this live TV moment so beautifully.
Svendsen: I was just in shock as evidenced by my reaction. My kids loved that their mom’s reaction was turned into a meme! I think I blacked out and vaguely remember that Jimmy Kimmel, Mandy Patinkin, Brandon Victor Dixon and Milo Ventimiglia helped me up to the stage, but I honestly don’t recall it all. I’ve had to watch the playback over and over again to really digest everything that happened. I wish I remembered Milo holding my hand. Sorry Glenn!
One of the unexpected benefits of the engagement on TV was how it put a focus on life in the midst of so much negativity. How did that feel and what were your conversations with friends/strangers like after that?
Weiss: I’m still shocked about the reaction onstage, so you could imagine how it feels to see how the reaction travelled around the world. Strangers were stopping us in the streets. We heard from people who were parts of our lives now as well as years ago. The fact that there was so much interest in this story from media outlets in an age of negativity and adversity made us feel so hopeful. Not because we were a part of it. But because we were able to help deliver a message that people were actually interested in hearing: Love. That’s it.
A version of this story first appeared in the Sept. 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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