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06.16.2022

The Heartwarming Story Behind Megan Wachspress’ Contestant Interview on Her Engagement

When current Jeopardy! champion Megan Wachspress was asked to share a unique bit of information about herself during her contestant interview in Wednesday’s game, one particularly special memory came to mind: her engagement story.

In 2013, Megan got engaged to her now-husband Nathan in Central Park. Knowing that she did not want an engagement ring, Nathan opted for an unconventional surprise and proposed with a plaque bench. 

“Instead of an engagement ring — I got an engagement bench,” Megan said. “It was just really romantic. I think it says so much to me about who he is as well as our relationship.”

Megan and Nathan began dating in August of 2011 when they were living in the Bay Area. About a year into their relationship, Megan moved across the country to attend law school at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Soon after, Nathan followed her to the East Coast and relocated to New York.

“He lived near Central Park. I came up to see him every weekend,” Megan said. “It was sort of a long distance but not too far of a distance relationship.”

Megan Wachspress and her husband Nathan sit on their engagement bench in Central Park.

Megan and Nathan sit on their engagement bench in Central Park. (Courtesy of: Megan Wachspress)

As their relationship became more serious, Megan said it was clear to them that they were moving in the direction of marriage.

“We talked about it [getting married] and I said, ‘You know what, why don’t we just get engaged?’” Megan recalled. “‘I don’t want to do this big fancy engagement thing. I don’t really want a ring. Let’s just do something very egalitarian.’”

To Megan’s surprise, Nathan said he already knew how he wanted to pop the big question and that he needed her to “just be patient.”

“One night in my tiny, little studio apartment, I was teasing him about it,” Megan recalled. “And he said, ‘I’ll prove it to you.’ He got out a piece of paper and he wrote something down on it. He sealed it in an envelope and said, ‘You sign across the seal, so it’s proof. You’ll see I have a plan.’”

Several months later, when the couple was headed home from helping a few friends move on Roosevelt Island, Nathan insisted on walking through Central Park. 

“We were taking a little bit of a circuitous route, and I was like what is going on?” Megan asked. “Then finally we got to this apparently random spot and he said ‘Let’s sit down.’ I sat down and he reached into his bag and took out the envelope with my name written across the seal. I opened it up and it said, ‘Turn around and look at the bench.’” 

Megan Wachspress and Nathan Naze Engaged in Tupelo Meadow, Central Park New York City, Autumn 2013

Megan and Nathan's engagement plaque bench in Central Park (Courtesy of: Megan Wachspress)

When Megan turned around there was a plaque bench with their names engraved on it that read: Engaged in Tupelo Meadow, Central Park New York City, Autumn 2013.

Today, Megan and Nathan are happily married and living in Berkeley, California. When they are not busy working and hanging out with their two children, they try to squeeze in time to catch up on Jeopardy!

“I often watch and play along, shouting out answers in the kitchen while making dinner," Megan said. “For a while there, Nathan figured out how to fast forward through the commercials so he would do spurts of Jeopardy! each night.”

It was Nathan’s encouragement that got Megan to apply to be a contestant on the show. 

“He’s the reason I’m on Jeopardy! in the first place,” Megan said. “During the pandemic, he was taking the Anytime Test and he said, ‘Megan you’ve got to do it.’”

And now that she’s won two games and a not-too-shabby sum of $28,801, Megan’s pretty happy she followed her husband’s advice.