The awards show holds a special significance for the most decorated Olympian of all time — it’s where he met his wife, Nicole, a decade ago.
“My wife was my escort here 10 years ago, [when] she was working with ESPN. It’s funny, she always tells the story like, ‘I wanted somebody different,’ and I was like, ‘Oh, thanks honey, really, really like that,'” Phelps, 32, told Entertainment Tonight at the 2017 ESPY Awards on Wednesday. “She’s like, ‘Everything works out for a reason.’
“And, you know, we’ve been together on and off for 10 years and now we have a beautiful son together and we are very happy.”
Wednesday night marked the first time they attended the ESPYs together since that fateful pairing ten years ago. Plus, it was Nicole’s birthday, making the evening all the more special.
“We’ll have a good night!” Phelps, who picked up awards for best record-breaking performance and best male U.S. Olympic athlete, told ET.
The couple are now parents to 1-year-old son Boomer, and document his life on an Instagram account (he’s up to 790,000 followers). Phelps says one of his greatest joys in life is watching his son grow up.
“For me, watching Boomer every day and watching him grow up literally in front of my eyes … it’s really awesome,” Phelps told ET. “Now he’s to the point where he’s racing around the house, just walking around, running, you name it, holding my hand and dragging me all over the house.”
“It’s fun. We love it. And it should be fun to see when he starts talking or the next big milestone he hits,” he added.
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When asked if he would let his son play with his award, he said he was “excited to bring [it] home to Booms.”
“He might try to hit me with it,” Phelps told ET. “He just picks things up and just starts hitting things, so maybe I’ll just show it to him and not give it to him yet.”