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From grand gestures to swoon-worthy speeches
It’s been well established that Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia) is TV’s reigning “super-dad” — but he’s also an incredible husband to Rebecca (Mandy Moore). For every adorable moment with one of the Big Three, Jack has just as many swoon-worthy romantic gestures up his sleeve. Whether it’s his Kleenex-worthy wedding vows, his movie-worthy speeches about their love, or his grand surprises, Jack knows how to woo his wife and keep proving his love again and again. (And then again some more.) In honor of Valentine’s Day, here are the Pearson patriarch’s most romantic moments.
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Jack chooses Rebecca over kids (“The Game Plan,” season 1)
It seemed crazy to This Is Us viewers that there was ever a time when Jack and Rebecca didn’t want kids, but one fateful Super Bowl Sunday, it appeared that subject might tear our favorite couple apart: After hearing Miguel and Shelly’s parenting woes, Rebecca vehemently states she doesn’t want children, and the argument sets off a full-on bar fight. But when Rebecca leaves the bar in a huff, Jack goes after her with a romantic pronouncement. He wants kids desperately but assures Rebecca, “If it’s between you and having kids, you win. Every time. No question.” It goes over so well that the two quickly reconcile and conceive Kate and Kevin in the bar bathroom.
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Pilgrim Rick saves Thanksgiving (“Pilgrim Rick,” season 1)
One of the most romantic things Jack does is consistently provide for his family emotionally. He bends over backward to prevent any suffering or stress for his wife and children, and never is that more on display than Thanksgiving. When family drama and car trouble lead the Pearsons to spend the holiday at the rundown Pinewood Lodge, Jack creates new family traditions with Police Academy 3, hot dogs with cheese and crackers, and Kate’s unraveling sweater. Oh, and the frightening specter of Pilgrim Rick. From the first episode, Jack makes lemonade out of lemons for his family, but it has the most lasting impact and means the most to Rebecca on what could have been a fraught and depressing holiday.
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Jack’s goodbye-hello speech to Rebecca (“Moonshadow,” season 1)
Even when he’s literally on his way out the door and facing a very rough patch in his marriage, Jack summons the ability to be the most romantic man alive. He doesn’t leave Rebecca in anger or resignation. No, instead he gives her a lengthy speech about all the things he loves about her, concluding, “Most of all I love that you’re still the woman who, all those years ago, ran out of a blind date because she simply had to sing. You’re not just my great love story, Rebecca, you are my big break. And our love story, I know it may not feel like it right now, but baby, I promise you, it’s just getting started.”
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The wedding (“The Big Day,” season 1)
Jack and Rebecca rarely have trouble expressing their love, so their wedding vows are, unsurprisingly, one of their most romantic moments. Even if you’re not the type to cry at weddings, Jack’s self-written vows will have you reaching for the Kleenex. “Saying ‘I do’ means saying ‘I will,’” he begins. “I will love you today and every day for the rest of my life. I’ve been trying to focus on all the little moments that I don’t want to forget, but the moment that is burned into my brain and heart is the first time I saw you. Rebecca, you have changed the way I think about love. I know things may not always be easy, but our love has always been worth it. I will encourage you, trust, and respect you. I will create a home with you full of love, laughter, and compassion. I will raise a family with you and grow old with you. I will share my dreams with you, so today in front of everyone here, I pledge myself to you.” Swoon!
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Jack surprises Rebecca with a night in their old apartment (“I Call Marriage,” season 1)
After Miguel and Shelly announce they’re getting a divorce, Jack and Rebecca fret that they may face the same fate. To prove they’re truly soulmates and he’ll never take Rebecca for granted, Jack opts for a huge romantic gesture: He surprises her by taking her to their first apartment, and decking it out in twinkly lights and candles. They share a bath and champagne, and then he tops it off by bringing out their wedding vows. Now that’s a romantic way to renew your bond.
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The dish towel/jewelry fake-out (“That’ll Be the Day,” season 2)
Sure, we kind of hate the dish towel in retrospect for being the indirect cause of Jack’s death, but it was originally a very sentimental item for Rebecca. Jack gave it to her for Christmas, which by itself is sort of a sexist Christmas present. But this is Jack Pearson, after all, so of course it’s not just any dish towel, but the wrapping for her actual present — a diamond bracelet.
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A criminal meet-cute (“Moonshadow,” season 1)
Every great romance has a great meet-cute, and the one that joined Rebecca and Jack is no exception. Down on his luck, he’s late for a blind date because of his plans to rob a local bar. But Rebecca, in a way, saves him, because when he goes to steal the cash, the sight of her singing “Moonshadow” stops him in his tracks. He stares at her and she returns his gaze, later coming over to say hello. Jack’s decision not to (a) go on the blind date and (b) rob the bar because he’s so struck by Rebecca’s voice and beauty is pretty darn romantic, and an auspicious beginning to their love story.
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Jack buys the Pearson home (“The Right Thing to Do,” season 1)
Sometimes romance is about sacrifice, and Jack makes quite a few for Rebecca and his forthcoming triplets when he buys the family a home. He sells his beloved car and even makes a visit to his abusive father to ask for a loan to be able to afford the fixer-upper his construction company has been working on. But the most romantic part is when he shows it to Rebecca and has envisioned the loving family inhabiting every room, despite its rough-around-the-edges exterior.
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Jack’s favorite tree (“The Car,” season 2)
When Rebecca is worried she might have a brain tumor, Jack takes her to his “favorite tree” — a place we learned in a prior episode has special meaning, and is where some of his ashes would be spread. But the thing is, this tree means nothing to Jack. He only took Rebecca there to distract her and make her feel better while they awaited test results. This tree caught his eye because it was the closest to a phone booth. And this is the essence of romantic Jack — reassuring Rebecca and making heartfelt gestures (even if they’re revealed to have no meaning beyond what he created in the moment) to make sure the woman he loves is okay.
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Jack gives Rebecca the moon necklace (“The Big Three,” season 1)
After sleeping outside her door all night “like a labrador,” Jack promises to stop drinking, and apologizes with another signature Pearson speech and a beautiful piece of jewelry. He tells Rebecca that he didn’t know what he wanted to be when he grew up until he met her and wanted to “be the man that made you happy.” He pledges to be an 11, no, a 12 for her from here out, and then gives her the moon necklace she still wears in the present day. It becomes a beautiful token of affection between them (and beyond his death), representing their song “Moonshadow,” by Cat Stevens, which she was singing the night they met. Guys, this is how you apologize.