After practicing the disciplined exercises of yoga together for 18 months, Paul Grilley, 25, and Patti Davis, 31, actress, singer and youngest daughter of President and Nancy Reagan, have announced they are going to undertake that greatest test of mind over matter: marriage. The tantric match puts a new twist on the saga of America’s First Family—the liberal-minded daughter of a Hollywood-actor-turned-conservative-President winds up marrying the son of a carpenter and a secretary from the area of Glacier Park, Mont. Not that the pair appears in any way kinky. Patti and Paul seem to consider themselves just another clean-living Southern California couple. Faithful adherents to the teachings of yoga master Bikram Choudhury, they are also vegetarians, nonsmokers and teetotalers—except for Patti’s occasional glass of white wine.
“I don’t recall a first date, to be honest,” says Patti. “Paul and I knew each other as friends first, and this is just sort of an evolution of our relationship.” The two met when Patti began showing up for Paul’s classes at the Yoga College of India in Beverly Hills, where he taught until he started giving private classes six months ago. “Everyone acted a bit differently when she came into the classroom,” Paul recalls, “so I knew she was a celebrity of some sort.”
Patti took Paul “home” last Christmas to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, where he met Mom and Dad. The introduction was not at all intimidating, says Paul. “After I kissed President Reagan’s ring,” he jokes, “everything was fine.” There were no political disagreements, since Paul takes a lotus position on the issues. “I have no strong feelings one way or the other about politics,” he says. The possibility of marriage was raised during the visit. The plans became official while the couple was in Paris to do a fashion layout with photojournalist Michael Jacobs. Paul bought Patti a ring with a diamond set in gold and mother-of-pearl, and it soon found a home on Patti’s left ring finger.
The two are presently sharing Patti’s one-bedroom bungalow in Santa Monica while Paul teaches and finishes up his bachelor of science degree in kinesiology (the study of body movement) at UCLA. He describes his hatha-yoga discipline, which he undertook in 1979 as exercise to relieve severe back pain, as equivalent to being “your own chiropractor, your own masseuse.” Davis adds, “You don’t have to believe anything.” Patti’s career plans include the lead role in a Birmingham, Ala. summer-stock production of The Pajama Game, work on a novel and completion of a pop album on producer Blake Edward’s label, Bee Records.
Paul concedes Patti is “pretty much from a completely different world than I’m accustomed to,” yet the couple seems entirely in tune on certain vital emotional matters. He says he’s “not looking forward to jumping into fatherhood,” while Patti says she has “never had a particularly strong desire to have a baby.” She would, however, “like to adopt a child at some point.” Patti says she wants to avoid “a Prince Charles and Lady Diana sort of wedding.” She also wants to avoid the White House. “I just don’t feel particularly comfortable there under any circumstances,” she says. A discussion of possible honeymoon destinations provokes laughter. “Red China? No. Behind the Iron Curtain? No. And maybe,” says Davis, grinning, “Nicaragua wouldn’t be a good idea.”