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Degen and Eric: From Snowbirds to Lovebirds

Degen and Eric: From Snowbirds to Lovebirds


Magazine editor Degen Pener (right) and tech executive Eric Bushard met at a gay ski party, fell in love in L.A., and just got engaged in London.

"Eric is the kindest, most graceful and thoughtful person I've ever met, and on top of that, when I saw how important family is to him -- we are hoping to start a family soon -- I knew he was the one," Degen Pener shares about his fiance, Eric Bushard, both of West Hollywood. The pair got engaged January 22.

Degen, 48, is a contributing culture editor at The Hollywood Reporter. Originally from Kansas City, Mo., he attended Washington University in St. Louis. His mother, Beth, and stepfather, Paul Dooley, reside in Kent, Conn.

Eric, 31, from San Diego, attended the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He currently works as global partner manager at Yahoo. He is the son of Donna and Chris Bushard of San Diego.

The couple met in March 2009 during the Elevation Mammoth gay ski event in California. "We were both at an apres-ski event, and while we can't remember exactly, we think that one of us was talking to what must have been a mutual friend when the other came up to say hello," Degen says. "I saw Eric a couple more times over the weekend and he friend-requested me before I had gotten home from Mammoth."

Degen proposed to Eric at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in London.

"It overlooks Hyde Park, and the hotel had champagne at the ready and tuberose candles -- one of his favorite scents -- aglow all over the room," Degen says. "It was our first night in London after five days in Switzerland. I presented him with a box that held a pair of matching rings made by one of our friends, Willie Mack. Eric had seen Willie wearing one a few months back and he said how they would make great rings for us. So I contacted Willie and had them custom-made as a surprise."

"I couldn't wait to tell our families and friends!" Eric says. "There's an incredible feeling that comes with being able to introduce the one you love as your fiance. We were able to get my mom, sister, and niece on FaceTime and share the moment with them. We couldn't wait to call his niece -- she's been a big marriage advocate -- so she can be a flower girl."

Wedding plans are currently in the works.


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