Inside Ty Pennington And Kellee Merrell's Relationship

With his good looks, positive attitude, and home renovation skills, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Ty Pennington was one of the hottest TV stars of the early aughts. The former male model broke into show business in 2000 when he hosted the hit TLC show "Trading Spaces." Yet it was his gig on ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" that skyrocketed him into fame three years later. Once that show ended in 2012, Pennington continued to work in TV but bounced around between different shows like "On the Menu" and "American Diner Revival." These days though, he's found success on HGTV hosting shows like "Ty Breaker," "Battle on the Beach" and "Rock the Block."

With that said, it makes sense that Pennington's busy TV schedule didn't leave much time for him to have a personal life. He admitted to People in 2022, "I started working on 'Trading Spaces' in 2000, and I really never stopped." Of course, that made dating a challenge too. "When you're never home for more than seven or 10 days at a time, it's really hard to stay in any kind of a positive relationship," he explained.

That all changed in 2020, however, when Pennington began dating his now-wife, Kellee Merrell. The two tied the knot in November 2021, with Pennington calling it "the best (and easiest) decision of my life!" on Instagram. So what's life like for the infamous former bachelor now that he's finally off the market? Let's go inside Ty Pennington and Kellee Merrell's relationship.

Ty Pennington and Kellee Merrell were friends for years first

Many of Ty Pennington's fans probably don't know that the former "Trading Spaces" host actually met his wife, Kellee Merrell, back in 2010, several years before they started dating. The two were introduced on the set of a TV show that Pennington was producing in Canada, which is also where Merrell is from. Yet a romance didn't necessarily bloom between them right away. "We were attracted to each other ... but we certainly knew I wasn't ready," Pennington later dished on "Daily Blast Live."

Pennington may not have been ready for a serious relationship at the time, but that doesn't mean there wasn't a spark between him and Merrell either. He even admitted to People, "I have admired Kellee from afar for years." He also reflected on that on Instagram in 2022, when he shared a clip of them hanging out as friends in 2010 to celebrate their knowing each other for over a decade. "A story of two people who had a mutual crush but didn't know it," he wrote in the caption.

Of course, a lot happened in both Pennington and Merrell's lives between 2010 and 2020, but they were still apparently able to stay in contact through mutual friends during that time. Having their relationship start out as a friendship seemed to benefit them in the long run too, as it has for many other couples. Pennington pointed that out when sharing a wedding video, captioning it, "10/10 recommend marrying your best friend."

They started dating during a difficult time

Ty Pennington and Kellee Merrell got together at a challenging time — in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it seemed to have helped move their relationship along much faster than it would have otherwise. Pennington even admitted as much on "Daily Blast Live": "It's one of those things where you just sort of connect with somebody but ... you know, the world looked like it was going to end."

The world of course didn't end, but it did go on lockdown, so Merrell decided to quarantine with Pennington at his home. It can be assumed that being from Canada impacted her decision since she probably wouldn't have been able to visit Pennington as often due to the strict travel restrictions. Yet Pennington apparently feels that fate brought them together then too, telling People, "Luckily our paths finally crossed at the right time." He continued, "You just feel happy being around a person."

Pennington was also going through some personal setbacks during that period because he didn't get the job to host the "Extreme Home Makeover" revival show. He shared on Instagram that he took that hard, writing, "I began doubting my talent, my experience, and my overall belief in myself." While everything ended up working out for him professionally because of HGTV, it can be assumed that having Merrell by his side helped him get over that hurdle. She also further proved his belief that something good was still going to happen for him.

Ty Pennington proposed to Kellee Merrell over coffee

Ty Pennington is known for being over the top, which is why it's pretty astonishing that his proposal to Kellee Merrell was more low-key. In July 2021, he popped the question over morning coffee while he and Merrell were out on the dock of his Palm Coast, Florida home. They may have even still been on that dock when they took a photo of Merrell's engagement ring on her finger to announce on Instagram that they were engaged. "It's the 'yes' for me," Pennington shared in the caption.

Many of Pennington's fans were seemingly surprised that the infamous bachelor finally wanted to settle down at age 56. He admitted himself to People, "I never thought I would get married, but she changed that. Glad I waited for the one." It appears that Pennington's TV family was happy that he found the one too, considering that many of his past co-stars made it a point to congratulate him on his engagement. For example, Genevieve Gorder of "Trading Spaces" wrote (via Daily Mail), "IM SO HAPPY FOR YOU MY FRIEND!!!" Elsewhere, Sabrina Soto from "Ty Breaker" commented, "Omg!!!!!!!!!!!! Congratulations!!! I'm so happy for you both!!!"

Pennington's "Battle On The Beach" co-star Taniya Nayak emphasized that he made the right decision with Merrell too, writing, "Smart move!! She's a keeper." Pennington was apparently grateful for all the positive messages because he later shared a selfie of him and Merrell to thank his friends and followers for all their support. 

They got married at home during the pandemic

Ty Pennington and Kellee Merrell wasted no time getting married considering that they tied the knot in November 2021, just four months after they got engaged. The only problem was that they had apparently wanted to have a destination wedding in Italy but couldn't at the time due to the travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of that, the couple decided to get married in the backyard of their Savannah home instead. Yet Pennington later told People, "I think what was really great is just having that small thing, it's a little more special." 

From the looks of Pennington's Instagram posts, it really was special since he and Merrell managed to transform their backyard into a chic wedding space, complete with an elegant table setting and dance floor. They had to keep the guest list down though because Merrell's loved ones weren't able to travel there from Canada. Pennington explained, "It would be really horrible for me to just stack the deck with all my friends and family." 

It's clear from Pennington's social media that he and Merrell still ended up having their dream wedding day. He shared several photos gushing about their ceremony, even writing in a caption, "One more peek into our big day and then we'll stop clogging your feed." It appears that Pennington was also excited to show off his new husband status, considering that he proudly flashed his wedding ring on what looked to be their honeymoon.

They're renovating their Savannah home

Ty Pennington and Kellee Merrell got married in the same Savannah, Georgia home that they've been renovating together since they bought it in September 2020. It seems to be an extra special project for the HGTV star, since he's doing it with and for his wife. He gushed to People, "It's been a wonderful thing. Just refurb-ing and redoing this incredibly old house." The former "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" host has also kept his Instagram followers updated on their progress but made it clear that it's a lot more challenging than what they see him do on TV. He explained in a post, "TV renovations are like unicorns and while they are amazing, it's just not realistic."

However, it appears that overcoming those obstacles has brought Pennington and Merrell closer as a couple because they've had to learn to compromise. For Pennington in particular, that was trusting Merrell's opinions, despite his home renovation expertise. He dished to Yahoo!, "You definitely have a different approach ... when you're married ... it's no longer just your decision."

Outside their home, the couple is seemingly enjoying living in Savannah too. Pennington often shares posts of them out, taking in what their city has to offer. For example, he's posted about them attending both a film festival and fashion show at Savannah College of Art and Design. Pennington even wrote in one caption, "I feel so lucky to live in a town that celebrates and cultivates the arts — truly like no other!"

Ty Pennington isn't afraid to gush about his wife

It's pretty obvious that Ty Pennington isn't afraid to let the whole world know just how smitten he is with Kellee Merrell. That's because he almost always finds a way to gush about her in the interviews he frequently does as a TV personality. For instance, when promoting his show, "Home Town Kickstart," he revealed to People how Merrell had changed his whole life by making him want to get married. "This incredible person came into my life and I just knew I couldn't let her go," he said.

While Pennington is obviously the more famous one in their relationship, it seems he also makes it a point to share the spotlight with Merrell. When discussing his HGTV shows with Yahoo!, for example, he shouted out Merrell's own talents with home renovations. He said, "What I like is Kellee is also very creative," before going on to suggest that she's been an integral part of their home's design.

Of course, Pennington also often uses his social media to share how special Merrell is. In a post for International Women's Day, he wrote to her, "I love you more than words, you inspire me daily with your creativity." He's expressed his gratitude for her as well on more than one occasion. "Thank you ... Universe ...for creating this amazing human," he once gushed in a birthday tribute, and in another wrote, "Life is so much better than I ever could have imagined with you."

They share a similar sense of humor

If you've been following Ty Pennington on social media, then you know he's always liked to joke around with his fans. These days though, the former "American Diner Revival" host is getting his wife, Kellee Merrell, in on the fun too. For example, in the caption of a selfie of him and Merrell, he joked that he was giving her modeling lessons so she could perfect his "Zoolander" poses. In another post on Halloween, Pennington shared that they really got into character when channeling Todd and Margo from the comedy "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation."

If that doesn't prove that the couple keeps their marriage fun, then Merrell teasing Pennington about mixing up Valentine's Day does. Instead of getting annoyed when he got the date wrong, she apparently had a good laugh over it. Because of that, Pennington even suggested, "Marry the person with the same stupid sense of humor as you."

While Pennington has expressed his appreciation for Merrell finding his jokes funny, it appears she's also just as grateful to have found a person who makes her laugh. He insinuated that in the caption of an Instagram video of him making silly faces at her, writing, "In case you were wondering how I landed my wife." Having that dynamic is apparently important to Pennington. He explained to Fox News, "When you're with somebody that has a really great sense of humor, it's spending that time, and it's the laughter that is everything."

The TV personality likes to travel with Kellee Merrell

Ty Pennington's TV jobs often involved a lot of traveling, which seemingly took a toll on him before he met his wife, Kellee Merrell. He discussed that on "Daily Blast Live": "Do we really want to stay alone and live in hotel rooms the rest of our lives? No." Yet that doesn't mean that he doesn't like to travel with Merrell. In fact, despite Pennington's busy TV schedule, they apparently found a way to take what looked like a honeymoon in December 2021. "We took some time and went out to one of our favorite places," he told Fox News.

That favorite place appears to be Miami since Pennington shared several photos of them celebrating married life there shortly after their wedding. He even wrote in the caption of one photo, "God it's good to be back Miami!" The couple went back to Miami just months later in July 2022, with Pennington sharing a video of him and Merrell taking in the view of the city from their balcony.

Pennington and Merrell don't just only go to Miami though — it looks like they've been to Wyoming and New York City together as well. While Pennington shared that Merrell got food poisoning when they were in the mountains, they appeared to have really enjoyed seeing the Big Apple at Christmas time. In October 2022, Pennington and Merrell also took a cross-country road trip, where they appeared to visit places between Georgia and Colorado.

Ty Pennington had a serious relationship before Kellee Merrell

Kellee Merrell might be the first woman to get Ty Pennington to officially settle down, but she's not his first serious relationship. In fact, the "Rock the Block" star reportedly dated his former manager, Andrea Bock, for almost 20 years. The twosome was able to keep a relatively low profile, which led to speculation about their relationship. Yet when asked about it in 2008, Pennington told Parade (via The Cinemaholic), "Not married, but we're still together. We're definitely a team."

It seems that Bock wasn't pushing Pennington to marry her either. She once told Star (via The Hollywood Gossip), "We don't need to get married. We're having such a good time now." While they didn't end up working out, Pennington revealed on Instagram that there is no hard feelings and that Merrell had nothing to do with their split. Per People, he replied to a comment, "Andrea and I actually parted ways back in 2009 and still remain great friends."

Pennington almost dated many other women too. That's because he was asked to be on "The Bachelor" after he first filmed "Trading Spaces." He dished to ET, "I wasn't even sure what was going to happen with that show and I got a call from this producer in LA."  After he heard what he had to do for the show though, he apparently turned it down. That obviously worked out for the best since he eventually found Merrell instead. 

Tyler Pennington and Kellee Merrell are dog parents

Ty Pennington and Kellee Merrell appear to be enjoying life as a married couple, but it's unclear if they plan to become parents too. While Pennington is now in his late 50s, he expressed interest in one day becoming a father in a 2007 interview with People, saying, "I think that's something we all want in the future. I love kids." He did add though, "I'd love to have the time to be able to focus on them," which didn't seem to happen for him because of his busy TV schedule.

Regardless of whether Pennington and Merrell have kids in the future or not, it seems they are more than happy with the family they have now with their two rescue dogs, Dory and Phoebe. Pennington frequently posts on Instagram about how happy their dogs make him and how much he's become obsessed with them. In one caption, he gushed, "Can't miss an opportunity to tell you how much joy these two creatures have brought to my life." In another post, he even thanked Merrell for the family she gave him and emphasized by "family" that he means their dogs.