The ice hockey player has been practicing social distancing away from his wife amid the coronavirus pandemic

By Aurelie Corinthios
April 22, 2020 10:56 AM
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Brooks Laich is living in isolation — and loving it.

During the latest episode of his iHeartRadio podcast, How Men Think, the ice hockey player opened up about escaping to Idaho during the coronavirus pandemic. His wife Julianne Hough is still in Los Angeles, but Laich brought along the couple’s husky, Koda.

“Koda is awesome, man. I’m up in Idaho, I’m at my house in Idaho,” said Laich, 36. “I spend all day outside. I’m outside from like, 7:30 until 5 o’clock. I have 10-and-a-half acres here. Our property’s pretty big and I’ve just been doing a mass cleaning of it. Like, everything. Building some rock walls, chainsawing down some trees, clearing brush, you name it.”

“I have some trees out here, some tall pine trees — the road that comes in here is actually called Tall Pines,” he added. “We have some probably 100-ft. trees.”

Koda couldn’t be happier with the environment, Laich said.

“Koda’s been after moose … he was munching on a deer skull the other day,” he said. “There’s got to be some sort of wolf in him. It’s been great.”

Ali Buck

And Laich himself said he’s actually “doing okay with the isolation.”

“I’m about 15 minutes out of town. I have one neighbor that lives a couple hundred yards away, and then another neighbor that lives another couple hundred yards away, and that’s all that’s out here,” he said. “I see them when they walk their dogs a little bit, but don’t see them much. We’re practicing social distancing, but I’ve been good with the isolation.”

“I think I’m an introvert by nature,” he admitted. “I love having my dog — if it wasn’t for my dog, I’d probably be a little more antsy with the isolation.”

According to Laich, he’s “always wanted to spend more time” at the property, and given the circumstances, this felt like the perfect time.

“I bought this place in 2014, and I’ve never spent enough time here. I come here like, a week a year and it’s my dream property,” he said. “So I wanted to spend more time here.”

Also, “the place needed an overhaul,” he said. “It really needed a cleaning — a landscaping and a cleaning. It got overgrown, it’s kind of in the bush. … So I’ve really been able to manicure it and landscape it. And … with my dog, we have a yard in L.A. and we go for trail runs and stuff, but here he’s outside all day long.”

Plus, “I can fish any day,” Laich added. “And I have a buddy that I can go hunting with. … So there’s lots to do. And I just love being up here. I’ve never spent enough time here, so I’m doing okay with it. But I’ve always been that way, even when I was younger. When I was a young kid, I didn’t need to be around friends all the time. I liked it, I had great friends, I still have great friends to this day, but there’s a part of me that enjoys isolation and there’s a part of me that actually gets drained when I’m around too many people.”

Still, he admitted he does “miss the friendships and companionships where you do get to hug somebody and be in the same room.”

While Laich and Hough, 31, were living together in L.A. when the pandemic hit the U.S. in March, a source told PEOPLE earlier this month that Laich is now “living the simple life in nature, which makes him happy.”

“They are still together, but just not quarantined in the same place,” the source said of the couple. “Their relationship has always been like this, though — they like to do their own thing.”

And while the arrangement might seem unconventional to some, it’s what works best for the stars.

“Their marriage is not perfect, but they continue to work on it,” the source said. “They speak all the time. Brooks is coming back to L.A. once the stay-home order is lifted.”

Last month, a source told PEOPLE last month that the couple, who insiders said had hit a rough patch earlier this year, were working on things.

“They are spending more time together and seem happy,” the source said at the time. “They actually seem to have figured out how they can stay married. Both have had to make changes, Brooks especially so.”