Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman says his late wife Beth would approve of his new fiancée, Francie Frane.
In a new interview with People published Wednesday, the “Dog’s Most Wanted” star defends himself against critics who believe he got engaged too soon after Beth lost her cancer battle last June.
"I need a partner," the 67-year-old reality TV personality declared to the magazine.
Though the bail enforcement agent told Us Weekly last August that he would never marry again after his wife’s death, Duane clarifies that he is not trying to replace Beth with Francie.
"I've said it before. There will never be another Mrs. Dog. There is not. Francie couldn't do that,” he explained. “There will be a last Mrs. Chapman. If Beth was here, and saw Francie and saw how she was raised, her morality and this and that, Beth would say, 'Big daddy, don't lose her.'"
Despite being in a new relationship, Duane contends that he will never forget his memories with Beth.
"You'll never forget the spouse," he said. "You can't help it. I will never forget. But I've got to get out there. I've got to be able to say, 'I came out of this and you can, too.' As a human being, I don't think you look for — not a replacement, because you can never find one. I'm learning that right now."
As to why he popped the question to Francie over the weekend at his house in Colorado, Duane answered, “When you know, you know."
"I believe in marriage," he concluded. "Beth taught me."
This week, Duane and Beth’s 21-year-old daughter Bonnie Chapman defended her father’s engagement and suggested that Beth gave him permission to move on prior to her death.
“I had this talk with her, my mother had so much love for my father, she would never want him to be alone,” Bonnie wrote on Instagram.
This will be Duane's sixth marriage.