Don Lemon Says Wedding to Fiancé Is on Hold Until After COVID: 'There Are More Important Things Happening'

"We just decided not to talk about it until the pandemic is over," says the CNN Tonight anchor

Don Lemon (left) and Tim Malone. Photo: Roy Rochlin/WireImage

One day, the scourge of COVID-19 will be behind us. And then, Don Lemon plans to get married to his fiancé, Tim Malone.

"Quite frankly the wedding is still on, but we just decided not to talk about it until the pandemic is over because there are more important things happening in the world," the CNN Tonight anchor, 55, tells PEOPLE in an interview for this week's issue.

In the meantime, Lemon and Malone, a 36-year-old real estate agent, "have decided to just sort of lean into our lives and live more — and so Saturday nights, we have date night ... we actually get dressed up and walk across the plaza or two blocks and we sit down and we have dinner together like we're going on a date!"

It helps that the couple, who got engaged in 2019 when Malone popped the question via the couple's pooches, have been able to spread out a bit during a COVID year where so many have been cooped up.

"We've moved into a bigger apartment, because we were in a small apartment and we needed more space," Lemon says.

He jokes: "Everyone is at home and so I am sitting in the bedroom with the door closed and he is in the living room and I told him, 'Tim, I'm going to do an interview in the bedroom with PEOPLE magazine, meaning don't run in here with a dog.' "

For more on Don Lemon's new book and his life at home with fiancé Tim Malone, subscribe now to PEOPLE or pick up this week's issue, on newsstands now.

don lemon
Don Lemon. Reto Sterchi/Redux

This week, Lemon published This Is the Fire, a book about race and racism in America that he hopes will start important and healing conversations.

Writing it was a relief in its own way.

"The pandemic and the quarantine really took a toll on a lot of us. It did me as well, because imagine all the things that I was dealing with ... George Floyd and all of those things, an election and an insurrection and someone trying to overturn the election and all of these things going on in my life and try not to get COVID and deadly pandemic," Lemon says. "And I got a little depressed. And I think that helped me to realize what's important — and so then I got into this book, I got it out in the book and once the book came out, some of that pressure started to release."

"Now," he says, "I feel hopeful."

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