UPDATE WEDNESDAY: Canceled weddings a good thing?
UPDATED 3:45 p.m. with comments from Campbell
The wedding web site was elaborate and full of pictures of the happy couple. The bride-to-be excitedly tweeted every detail as she counted down the days to the big day. There were 23 attendants — not including the bride and groom — in the wedding party.
But former Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell and fiancée Yenicia “ Jenny” Montes called off Saturday’s ceremony just hours before the couple was scheduled to tie the knot. The 162 guests — who flew to an exclusive Dominican Republic resort for the celebration — were informed at a welcoming party that the marriage was off, but did not receive any explanation why.
In phone conversations with the Washington Post Tuesday, Campbell declined to go into details but said the two came to a decision to “put things off” after discussing it for a couple of weeks. “I love her enough not to leave her at the altar,” he said. “I love her enough to talk to her before it gets that far.”
Campbell, who said he was still in the Dominican Republic with Montes and her family, denied Internet rumors that he had called off the wedding at the last minute.
“That stuff is just crazy,” he said. “Jenny’s a good person and I’m a good person. I don’t even know why people would put all those lies out there. ” He said the two decided to go ahead with the trip to the Caribbean Island and “just made a vacation out of it.” Except, of course, all their guests flew down expecting a wedding.
It was, to put it mildly, a surprising turn of events. Campbell, 30, and Montes, 32, have known each other for seven years and said their relationship was rooted in their deep friendship.
The two met when he first arrived in Washington in 2005 — he spotted the nightclub hostess dancing on a bar on her 25th birthday — and briefly dated.
“She was very independent,” Campbell told our colleague Ellen McCarthy two weeks ago for an “On Love” profile that was scheduled to run after their wedding. “She didn’t need anyone else to help her. I think guys appreciate that — someone who’s out there trying to take care of themselves, rather than trying to lean on somebody.” (Montes has always dreamed of owning a hair salon: “I’m not a stay at home mom.”)
Montes, for her part, was taken by Campbell’s manner. “He was such a gentleman,” Montes said at the time. “I could tell he was brought up by great parents.”
The initial romance didn’t last, but their friendship did. “We wouldn’t call each other every day, but when we talked we would talk for a long time,” she told McCarthy. “When he had issues, problems, anything going on — relationship-wise, family-wise, or even if he had a bad day at work or during a game, he would call. He didn’t hide anything from me. I didn’t hide anything from him, because we were just friends.”
Two years ago, after Campbell had broken up with a girlfriend and was headed to play for the Oakland Raiders, their romance reignited and they started dating again. He proposed on New Year’s Eve of 2010 — his birthday — and the two moved in together in D.C., along with Montes’s 8-year-old daughter from a previous relationship.
Montes had been regularly tweeting about “Papi,” as she called her fiancé, their wedding and their house hunt in Atlanta. (“It Just hit me 2day that My signature is going 2 b Campbell n not Montes anymore,I need to start practicing my new campbell signature ASAP!”)
But her groom-to-be was dealing with career issues: On the verge of becoming a free agent with the likelihood of lucrative new contract, Campbell broke his collarbone in a Raiders game against the Cleveland Browns in October. He was sidelined for the rest of the season, his pro football future suddenly thrown into question.
A subdued Campbell told McCarthy two weeks ago he was stressed and exhausted by the elaborate wedding planning, but that doesn’t appear to be a big factor in the decision to call it off. “It’s just the fact that I have a lot going on right now with recovering from injury,” he said Tuesday. “There’s just so much going on in both our lives right now.”
The wedding web site was taken down Tuesday morning, and it’s unclear if the marriage has been postponed or called off for good. “We’re not trying to force anything right now,” Campbell said. “We’re taking everything one day at all time, trying to let all the air and the dust clear.”
Read earlier: Jason Campbell’s future once again up in the air, 10/18/11