A love story like no other! Erin Napier met her husband, Ben Napier, while they were both students at Jones College in Ellisville, Mississippi. In an Instagram post shared on Wednesday, December 7, the graphic designer confessed, “I loved him before I even knew him.” 

Erin, 37, revealed that her life was forever changed on December 7, 2004, when she got the opportunity to interview her future hubby for the yearbook. As the design editor, she eagerly volunteered to attend the photo shoot for his spread. 

“I was thrilled by the idea of spending an afternoon with him, my biggest crush since Ryan Dunn in the 10th grade, whether he paid me any attention or not,” the HGTV personality wrote.

Erin, Ben Napier Visit Jones College: Throwback Photo
Courtesy of Erin Napier/Instagram

Erin shared that Ben, 39, was “such a fun person to watch” around their campus. She “wanted so badly to be his friend” because he had a way of making anyone he spoke to “feel like they were special.” For those reasons, the Laurel Mercantile Co. owner was smitten even before they got to know each other.  

When it came time to shoot the photos for Ben’s story in the yearbook, he met up with Erin and shared a moment together that she will never forget. 

“I walked by, and he reached out for my arm — for a hug, and I, ever coolly, gave him a one-arm side hug,” she wrote. “We were only acquaintances who had spoken four times total, but he said, ‘two arms, please!’ He wrapped me in a hug. For the first time, I noticed how very big he was — 6-foot-6 inches and nearly 300 pounds. I felt as small as a bird. I could smell the laundry detergent he used, his cologne and I melted.”

Six days after their meeting, the HGTV duo professed their love for each other and decided that they were going to get married one day. Erin and Ben both transferred to the University of Mississippi and graduated with bachelor’s degrees. The couple got married in November 2008 and welcomed two children together, daughters Helen and Mae. In August 2022, the Home Town hosts returned to the place where their love story first began. 

“Had lunch at our alma mater today and took a picture in the spot where we met in the yearbook office,” the mom of two captioned an Instagram photo with the love of her life. “We were 19 and 21 and had no idea this is what our future would be like. Still my biggest crush.”