'Couple Things Live' to feature former Olympian Shawn Johnson and husband Andrew East
Shawn Johnson and Andrew East have been in the public eye for years.
Johnson won silver and gold medals in the 2008 Olympics and won “Dancing with the Stars” in 2009. East played on several NFL teams, including the Washington Football Team, as a long snapper.
The two married in 2016. Their daughter Drew was born in 2019 and their son Jett in 2021.
In 2019, they launched the podcast “Couple Things,” in which they discuss their marriage and family and host other couples doing the same. By now, they have produced 100 episodes of the podcasts as well as numerous YouTube videos.
And they're now taking their show on the road to a few cities, including Columbus on Jan. 29.
“We've been to Columbus a couple times, and we can't wait to be up there,” East, 30, said, speaking from their home in Nashville, Tennessee.
“We're looking forward to getting in front of people and having a really fun night, talking about dating, marriage, parenting and everything in between. Shawn has a very loyal fan base. There will be lots of laughs and interaction,” he said.
Origins of the podcast
“We actually started the podcast right after the birth of our daughter,” Johnson, 30, said.
“It was a project that we had wanted to do for a while. We love families and we love marriage and we love relationships. We had this common frustration with the way relationships were being portrayed in the world and in media. They were being painted so negatively.
"We thought, why not do a show and interview as many couples as we can and show the good side of it? That it can be done however you want and it can work out and it doesn't have to be this Cinderella story all the time for it to be an awesome thing,” she said.
Celebrity guests on 'Couple Things'
Their podcasts have had a wide range of guests, including Kim Dean and Penn Holderness, known for their satirical songs on YouTube; Olympic skier Bode Miller and his wife Morgan; bestselling author Glennon Doyle and her wife, soccer star Abby Wambach; and football star Tim Tebow and his wife Demi.
“It's fun to see a more personal side of celebrities' lives, and have them sit down with their significant others, who might not be so much in the public eye,” East said.
Upcoming theater shows:'Come From Away' by Broadway in Columbus and a bounty of comedians coming to town
“We've had some really fun ones. We had marriage counselors on, where we did a live therapy session. And we've had a lot of couples on that we met for the first time,” Johnson said.
“Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue were fun. And Dr. Karl Pillemer. He had some helpful tips about how to prevent family estrangement. He's someone who has been doing research in this field for decades, and you just learn from every word that comes out of his mouth,” East said.
The two also do some of the podcasts on their own, including episodes on pregnancy, the birth of their children, post-partum struggles, and that perennial question, inspired by tabloid stories, “Are We Still Together?”
Challenges of working remotely
They also cover the challenges of working together from home.
“We love what we do and we love to work, but we also love being parents. And when you're working from home and you're with your kids all day, it's hard to find that boundary of when do I turn work on and when do I turn work off. We have a hard time with that,” Johnson said.
“I was going to say there weren't any downsides, babe,” East joked.
“We've seen what perfectionism can do to people. When you're trying to paint that perfect picture. For us, we're not trying to coach or teach, because we're not professionals, and we haven't mastered marriage or family life in any way, shape or form, so we believe in transparency, and talking about the hard times and the good times and building a community that can support each other,” Johnson said.
“That's the best part of it,” East said. “The community aspect. People sharing their stories, or how a certain lesson changed their marriage or how they communicate with people. That's why we do it.”
At a glance
"Couple Things Live" with Shawn Johnson and Andrew East will be presented at 8 p.m. Jan. 29 at the Lincoln Theatre, 769 E. Long St. Masks and proof of vaccination or negative COVID test required. Tickets: $40 (614-469-0939, www.capa.com)