Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg credits the friendly skies for uniting him and his husband, Chasten.
Appearing on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” this week, the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor shared select anecdotes about his nearly three-year marriage, including the reason he opted for a somewhat unlikely location ― Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport ― to pop the question in 2017.
“I know that not everybody understands that O’Hare can be a romantic place, but it absolutely can,” Buttigieg said Monday. “The first time Chasten and I ever communicated was on this app called Hinge, and he was sitting at Gate B5 at the airport. ... I always remembered that, in a certain technical sense, even though it was remotely, that was where we first met.”
Two years after that initial 2015 exchange, the couple were visiting O’Hare before embarking on a vacation, where Buttigieg had planned to propose. And as it turns out, air travel turned out to be a fitting metaphor for their relationship.
“I told him [marriage] would be a lot like being in the airport,” Buttigieg recalled. “Life with me would be hard to steal private moments, but also full of adventure. Luckily for me, he said yes.”
Prior to his chat with Meyers, Buttigieg briefly alluded to his personal connection to O’Hare in December, while accepting the nomination to serve as transportation secretary under President Joe Biden.
Touting his “personal love of transportation,” he said: “Travel in my mind is synonymous with growth, with adventure, even love ― so much so that I proposed to my husband Chasten in an airport terminal.”
“Don’t let anybody tell you that O’Hare isn’t romantic,” he quipped.
Officials at O’Hare have taken notice of Buttigieg’s rare affection for the world’s sixth-busiest airport. In December, the airport thanked the transportation secretary on Twitter “for appreciating all the connections we make possible,” and pledged to work with him “as we continue to make our airport lovable for decades to come.”
Both O’Hare and United Airlines commemorated the site of the Buttigiegs’ first meeting and subsequent engagement with heartwarming photos on social media.
Meanwhile, Pete and Chasten’s love story will soon be making its way to the small screen. On Monday, Amazon Studios announced plans to release “Mayor Pete,” a documentary directed by Jesse Moss that will examine Buttigieg’s 2020 campaign as the first openly gay presidential hopeful from a major party.
According to Variety, “Mayor Pete” promises to go behind the scenes of Buttigieg’s historic victory in the Iowa caucuses, and show him and Chasten at their Indiana home.