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Brooks Laich Opens Up About How Julianne Hough Coming Out as ‘Not Straight’ Inspired Him (Exclusive)

Brooks Laich is a better man because of Julianne Hough.

Related: Julianne Hough, Brooks Laich Engaged: A Timeline of Their Whirlwind Romance

The NHL player, 36, told Us Weekly exclusively about how his wife, 31, coming out has inspired him. Though the athlete didn’t want to speak on behalf of the dancer’s sexual preference, he did get candid about how the America’s Got Talent judge has evolved and how she’s challenged him to do the same. 

“My wife, to her credit, is constantly evolving, challenging, growing,” Laich told Us on the set of Hallmark’s Home & Family while promoting his “How Men Think” podcast with Gavin DeGraw on Thursday, September 5. “[It’s] not out of desperation, but out of curiosity, out of exploring who she is, exploring what’s meaningful to her. She’s grown and shifted in so many ways since we’ve met, which is absolutely beautiful.” 

Brooks Laich How Julianne Hough Coming Out Inspired Me
Julianne Hough and Brooks Laich at the Industry Dance Awards & Cancer Benefit on August 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. John Photography/Shutterstock

Specifically, Laich cites his and Hough’s different personalities as the reason why he’s grown so much in their relationship.  

Related: Celebrity Couples and How They First Met: Love Story Beginnings

“My wife is literally everything I’m not. I love her because of her heart. She has a stronger heart than I do,” he said. “She has a level of compassion that I envy. Her level of compassion for people is not natural to me. When I see how her heart beats with every single person, I just admire it. She’s challenged me to grow in ways that I resist against and push against.” 

Though Laich admits that he and Hough are different from when they met, he considers their relationship stronger than ever. 

“When you enter a marriage or a relationship, you enter it always with appreciation and acceptance of that person,” he said. “Even though they’re going to change over time, if you can remember those two things, she’s still and will always be my best friend. it’s really enjoyable to watch somebody grow and to be a part of their story.” 

The hockey player and the former Dancing With the Stars pro married in July 2017 after three years of dating. For her September 2019 Women’s Health cover story, Hough recalled a conversation with her husband, where she revealed she’s “not straight. 

“I [told him], ‘You know I’m not straight, right?’ And he was like, ‘I’m sorry, what?’” she said. “I was like, ‘I’m not. But I choose to be with you.’” 

The choreographer continued, “I think there’s a safety with my husband now that I’m unpacking all of this, and there’s no fear of voicing things that I’ve been afraid to admit or that I’ve had shame or guilt about because of what I’ve been told or how I was raised.”

Brooks Laich How Julianne Hough Coming Out Inspired Me
Brooks Laich and Julianne Hough at TrevorLIVE on December 3, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Chelsea Lauren/Variety/Shutterstock

In August, the Emmy winner told Us about how she has no hard feelings toward those who label her sexuality 

Related: Celebrities’ Coming Out Stories

“I don’t find it frustrating,” she said at the time. “I know my truth and I know the energy behind whatever I said and what was put out there. People will define or label anything in this world and everything in this world, so I’m not mad at people who do that. It is what it is!”  

Hough added, “The energy behind it is that, love is love. And that’s what I believe. That’s it! Like, it’s actually less complicated than everybody’s making it. It’s just, love is love.” 

With reporting by Kayley Stumpe

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