When Genevieve Davis departed for a wine-tasting trip to Healdsburg, Calif., she didn’t expect anyone to recognize her newly famous girlfriend, Amy Schneider — whose record-breaking “Jeopardy!” run had been unfolding for weeks on national television.
Before their date night was over, Schneider had received a standing ovation at the winery, where people lined up to meet the then-reigning “Jeopardy!” champion.
“We were like, ‘This is far away from home. No one will recognize her,'” Davis recalls. “Why did we both think that? ‘Jeopardy!’s’ everywhere!'”
A month after their wine country vacation, Schneider is no longer Davis’ girlfriend but her fiancée. On Feb. 24, Schneider announced to more than 200,000 social media followers that she “couldn’t be happier or more proud to be marrying the very best person in the entire world.”
In a recent joint interview from their Oakland home, Schneider, 42, and Davis, 25, reflect on their engagement, their plans for the future and how they made time for each other during the “Jeopardy!” whirlwind.
“We both felt — from pretty early in our relationship — that this is where it was headed, but I was so surprised by it,” Schneider tells the Los Angeles Times.
“I’d known for a while that it was going to happen, so it’s kind of just a formality, in a sense. But being actually engaged was such a good feeling, and I was surprised by that.”
Schneider and Davis met in July 2020 during a gathering at the former’s apartment. Back then, Schneider’s friend was dating Davis’ brother, who brought his sister along without warning. Though Davis had arrived uninvited, Schneider ended up offering her a tarot card reading and allowing her to spend the night on her couch.
“My first impression was … she’s very thoughtful and calm and very smart,” Davis says.
“I think my first impression was that you were really cute,” Schneider says.
The ensuing romance was a slow burn. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Davis and Schneider began hanging out every day. They “weren’t, like, dating,” Davis says, but they ran errands together, hosted themed parties at Schneider’s place and worked on dozens of jigsaw puzzles — just quarantine things.
“People were confused,” Davis says. “They were like, ‘Are you sure you’re not dating?’ I’m like, ‘No, I’m straight!’ — obviously not.”
“I was always holding out hope,” Schneider adds. “I loved hanging out with her. I loved that we didn’t have to be talking the whole time, and we didn’t have to be entertaining each other the whole time. … We could zone out on our phones or whatever, and it was fine.”
Fast forward more than a year and Davis is rereading her marriage proposal speech to Schneider aloud over Zoom: “I cannot imagine there ever being a moment for the rest of my life that I am not madly in love with you. Will you please marry me?”
“Yes,” Schneider says with a smile — before clarifying that in the moment she actually said, “Yeah, dude.”
The lead-up to the proposal wasn’t exactly a secret. The couple had already agreed on a plan in advance: Davis would propose to Schneider sometime in February, which presented some obvious opportunities. Valentine’s Day was coming up, followed by their one-year relationship anniversary on Feb. 20.
Instead, Davis decided to pop the question on a random Tuesday (Feb. 8), catching Schneider completely off-guard. Of course, there were clues: A happy-hour shindig on a weeknight with an unusually long guest list, Davis getting “all dressed up.”
Schneider — nationally renowned for her shrewd ability to solve clues in seconds — was oblivious to all of it.
“She came in, and I was on one knee, and she freaked out,” Davis says. “It’s actually a hilarious video.”
“Everything about it was perfect,” Schneider adds. “Then we had … balloons hanging around our apartment for a while, but, you know.”
About a week later, it was Schneider’s turn to ask for Davis’ hand in marriage. The setting was tailor-made for a wedding proposal: a fancy anniversary dinner in Sonoma — their go-to spot for a romantic getaway.
“But then I didn’t do it right at the beginning, and then it was getting towards the end, and I felt like I’d eaten too much,” Schneider recalls.
“My stomach wasn’t feeling great, and … it didn’t feel like the right moment. Then we were back at the Airbnb and hanging out and talking and eating some edibles or whatever, and … I just suddenly impulsively decided, ‘Well, now’s the time.'”
Before you ask (looking at you, Davis’ parents): No, they don’t have a precise date yet for the wedding, which is tentatively set for summer 2023. In fairness, they’ve had a pretty busy year so far. Not two months ago, Schneider’s 40-game “Jeopardy!” winning streak — the second-longest in the game show’s history — came to an end.
But, contrary to her expectations, her life has hardly slowed down since then. After quitting her pre-“Jeopardy!” job as a software engineering manager, the trivia master is now focusing on writing a book and “being a celebrity or whatever.” Up next, she’ll face off against fellow “Jeopardy!” hall-of-famer Matt Amodio in the Tournament of Champions.
And Davis, an aspiring social worker currently employed as a nanny, will soon begin training for an organization that provides legal aid to foster youth — the next step on the road to graduate school.
“I’ve got all these things happening and all these decisions to make, and a lot of them are kind of important — about where my life is going in the next few years and things like that,” Schneider says.
“It’s been crucial to have Genevieve around to talk to about it. … Your presence [reminds] me that all this stuff is extra, other stuff. That’s not my real life that’s here with you.”
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.