The truth about Giuliana and Bill Rancic's marriage

Before television viewers met Giuliana Rancic, they met Bill. Back in 2004, he was one of 16 contestants vying for a job with the Trump Organization on the first season of the NBC reality show The Apprentice. After Bill was declared the season's winner, he managed the construction of the new Trump hotel in his hometown of Chicago. 

Interestingly, one of the viewers of that first Apprentice season was Giuliana DePandi, an entertainment journalist with the E! channel. "I would watch [The Apprentice] with my girlfriend Colette every week, and Colette's like, 'You need to marry him.' I'm like, 'I do need to marry him,'" she told HuffPost. When the opportunity arose to interview the Apprentice winner for E! in 2005, she admitted she was "all over that!" 

Sparks flew during that interview and the two began dating. The relationship grew serious, and in 2006, they got engaged, then married the following year. Television viewers were able to watch the couple's love story unfold on the pair's reality show Giuliana & Bill, which launched on the Style Network in 2009 and ran until 2014. Keep on reading to delve into their amazing romance by discovering the truth about Giuliana and Bill Rancic's marriage.

Giuliana and Bill Rancic's first date was "the craziest thing ever"

The first time E! correspondent Giuliana DePandi encountered her future husband Bill Rancic was at a party hosted by NBC. Knowing that she was a huge fan of The Apprentice, her then-boyfriend "introduced me to Bill, but he goes, 'I'm afraid the two of you would run off together,'" she told Us Weekly. "Isn't that crazy? And we did... like years later."

The couple's first date, at Giuliana's suggestion, took place at posh Malibu eatery Nobu. "I didn't know California at all, and I thought she was trying to take me to like a place off the beaten path, because she was embarrassed," Bill told the magazine. "Little did I know it was paparazzi heaven and she was walking me into the shark tank."

Nevertheless, as Bill told ABC News, a big part of that first date was juggling their schedules to figure out when they could have a second one, which involved "making plans for three, four months out. ... We had our phones out and we were like, 'In July, I gotta go here, maybe you can meet me' and this was in March, two hours into the first date. It was the craziest thing ever."

Bill Rancic's proposal to Giuliana involved Bublé, bubbly, and broken glass

In late 2006, Bill Rancic decided to pop the question to Giuliana. He concocted a plan to take her on a helicopter ride to view the Christmas lights as they flew over Chicago, something she had long wanted to do. 

"We got up there and were drinking champagne and had Michael Bublé playing in the background, then we flew over Michigan Avenue. That's when I got down on one knee," Bill told ABC News. However, the romantic moment he'd prepared did not go exactly as planned as he accidentally knelt down on a champagne glass. "It shattered and even though it wasn't the smoothest move in the world, I still proposed," he said. He clearly won her over when he told his future bride, "Life together is going to be an adventure, just like tonight." 

After Giuliana said yes, the reality that she and Bill were now engaged "took a while for it to sink in," she admitted in an interview with Today. "It was incredible. It was a dream come true. It was even better than I ever imagined it to be."

Why Giuliana Rancic ignored the prenup recommendation from Donald Trump

Shortly after Giuliana and Bill Rancic got engaged, Bill received a phone call from his then-boss, Donald Trump. As Bill told ABC News, the thrice-married Trump offered his congratulations — and some advice. "Get a prenup," Trump said. "So, I called up Giuliana and told her what Donald said. She said, 'That's a great idea!' I thought, 'Wow, that was a lot easier than I thought.'"

About a month into the prenup negotiations, Bill got a call from his lawyer, who told him that Giuliana wanted to include something he'd never seen in his 25 years practicing law. "If you get caught cheating," Bill's lawyer told him, "Giuliana wants 110 percent of your net worth. Not 100. 110." Confident that he'd remain faithful, Bill agreed to that clause.

As the wedding loomed, though, Giuliana still hadn't signed the prenup. When Bill finally asked what was up, she replied, "Didn't I tell you? My lawyer told me to tell you Italian girls don't sign prenups." What Bill didn't realize until later was that her "lawyer" was actually "her older brother, who of course never went to law school!"

Giuliana and Bill Rancic were married on the Italian island of Capri

Giuliana DiPandi was born in Naples, Italy, and she and fiancé Bill Rancic decided to get married in her native land. In 2007, reported People, the couple exchanged vows in a 500-year-old church situated on the Italian island of Capri. Ever since their relationship grew "serious," People noted, Bill had accompanied Giuliana to church services each Sunday, and he explained that they wanted their wedding to be "a very old school, full Catholic mass."

More than a decade later, the couple returned to that same church, this time accompanied by their son, Duke. "One of the highlights of our trip to Italy this week was visiting the church we were married in almost 12 years ago," Giuliana wrote in an Instagram post, accompanying a photo of the family posing before the church's doors. Marveling at all the ups and downs they'd been through over the course of those years, she admitted she was overjoyed to be "standing in front of the church [where] we became husband and wife with our little guy by our side."

How Giuliana Rancic's breast cancer diagnosis changed her and Bill's marriage

Although eager to start a family, Giuliana and Bill Rancic struggled to have a baby, which led them to try in vitro fertilization (IVF). In 2011, while preparing for her third round of IVF, Giuliana got a routine mammogram. Her world came crashing down around her when the results revealed that she had breast cancer. "It felt like the floor disappeared and I was just falling," she said during a 2018 lecture the couple gave at Elmhurst College. "My great, amazing life changed just like that." Bill admitted it was "a very emotional time," but stressed the importance of being able to "make decisions based on knowledge rather than emotions" during a health crisis.

As she told SurvivorNet, fighting cancer was something they undertook as a couple. "I didn't go through breast cancer on my own. Bill was right there by my side. We went through it together," she said. After undergoing a double mastectomy, Giuliana has been cancer-free ever since.

Looking back, she believes the pregnancy difficulties they experienced at the time were "all part of a bigger plan... It was actually a blessing that I got that mammogram at 36 years old."

Giuliana and Bill Rancic shared the secret to their successful marriage

Making a marriage last takes commitment and a lot of effort, particularly when both spouses are celebrities with demanding jobs that require substantial travel. Speaking with Fox News in 2018, the couple shared the philosophy that had kept them together for more than a decade. "For us, I think what it comes down to is that we're the same people before all of this Hollywood stuff," Giuliana Rancic said, describing themselves as "very, very grounded." The fact that they are "first and foremost, best friends," she added, was also key. 

Giuliana and Bill are partners in business as well as in life, she explained, and that has also played a role in their togetherness. As she explained, "... I think that [it] is really great to be involved in a lot of the same businesses because it keeps us together even more."

In an interview earlier that same year with Us Weekly, Giuliana also underscored the importance of spouses reminding themselves that they're committed to the relationship, whatever obstacles may pop up. "It's nice when someone tells you, 'You can't get rid of me, I'm with you forever.' It's just reassuring," she said.

Giuliana and Bill Rancic wrote a book about their marriage

Not only have Giuliana and Bill Rancic shared their marriage advice in interviews, they wound up co-authoring a book on the subject. In 2010, the couple released I Do, Now What?: Secrets, Stories, and Advice from a Madly-in-Love CoupleAs a press release for the book explained, at the time their still-young marriage was complicated by the fact Giuliana was based in Los Angeles due to her E! job, whereas Bill was still working in Chicago managing the Trump International Hotel and Tower project. 

According to the release, the book features the couple tackling common marital conflicts as money, housework (Giuliana, the release noted, is "disorganized" while Bill is "a neat freak"), how to argue without remaining angry at each other, and more.

As they wrote in the first chapter, the secret to the success of their marriage was far simpler than "discovering the truth about some mystery we can't wait to share with the world." Their relationship deepened, they wrote, due to "small but significant efforts" they made along the way, resulting in "a bond built on a foundation of shared values that allow our marriage to thrive."

Giuliana and Bill Rancic ended their reality show to protect their family

Television viewers received an intimate look inside the shared lives of the Rancic couple thanks to Style Network's seven-season reality series Giuliana & Bill. Unlike most TV show cancellations, it was the stars of the show who made the decision to pull the plug, not the network.

Speaking with the HuffPost in 2016, some two years after the show wrapped, Giuliana explained why the arrival of their son, Duke, led them to step away Giuliana & Bill. While admitting that those seven seasons proved to be "a very rewarding experience," she pointed out that as Duke — then four years old — grew older, "we needed to pull back a little bit ... I don't know if I would have wanted to show cameras at his preschool or him going through certain milestones."

According to Giuliana, opening their lives to television cameras hadn't been an issue before Duke's arrival. "Some things have to be private... until [Duke] has a say, we want to just protect him," she added.

Giuliana and Bill Rancic's date nights involve pajamas and wine

Given that their respective jobs include attending glamorous events and walking red carpets, when Giuliana and Bill Rancic come together for a date night, they tend to keep things very casual.

"Our date night is, 'Let's get in bed early, watch TV, get a bottle of wine. That's how we connect," Giuliana told the Chicago Sun-TimesSplash magazine (via Radar Online). "We don't put pressure on ourselves to keep things exciting," Giuliana said of the couple's chilled-down, stay-at-home dates. "We define date night not by getting my hair done, getting dressed up and going to a fancy restaurant and spending a lot of money," she added.

Even though their date nights are low-key, Giuliana is adamant that she and Bill always carve out time for each other whenever they can. "It's okay to have that me time and it's okay to have that us time," she told Parents magazine. "So much of our lives is Duke, but it's also important for us to keep our relationship healthy." Sage advice, to be sure.

Giuliana and Bill Rancic's secrets to balancing work and parenthood

Staying connected via regular date nights is just one of the many ways that Giuliana and Bill Rancic keep their marriage strong. During an appearance on the Rachael Ray show, the couple shared some additional tips that help them juggle their relationship and their parenting duties as they raise son Duke. 

In response to an audience member's question about balancing a career, children, and marriage, Giuliana admitted she's "asked about work-life balance a lot," and shared what she calls her "100-100 rule." That, she explained, means that when she's working, she focuses 100 percent of her energy into her job. "I don't get kind of sidetracked talking to my mom" or other distractions, she said. Then, when she and Bill come home, the focus shifts to "100 percent on the family." Giuliana continued, saying, "We were doing our stuff, we did what we needed to do, now it's time to be with the family and you can lessen the guilt. It's never going to be perfect, but it's a great start."

The strict cell phone policy that keeps Giuliana and Bill Rancic connected as a couple

The "100-100 rule" that keeps Giuliana and Bill Rancic focused 100 percent on their family when they're not working features a very important sub-rule. When they're together at home and not at work, Bill told People, they ditch their phones, placing them in a dish near the front door of their home.

"The minute we come home, all our phones go in there," Bill explained. "That way, we're not texting or emailing people at work. We're interacting with each other. It was hard at first, but we got used to it."

When the couple come together after wrapping up work with their respective jobs, added Giuliana, "we try to keep the quality time at a 10." As she explained, the couple are insistent that their home life be as free as possible from work-related distractions in order to focus exclusively on each other and their son Duke. "We try not to let [distractions] happen," she said. "When we're home, we're home."

How Bill Rancic defused his and Giuliana's first big fight

Like all couples, Giuliana and Bill Rancic will sometimes argue. In an interview with Us Weekly, the couple recalled their very first fight as spouses. Discussing their "little tiff," Giuliana quipped, "You know it's bad when one of you goes to the movies alone ... we were supposed to go together ... I stayed back, seething."

When Bill returned from his solo movie night, there was awkward silence for about 20 minutes. It was Bill who finally broke the tension. "He comes into my room and he's [like], 'Is this what we're just gonna keep doing, are we going to talk?' I said, 'Well, I'm just very upset,'" Giuliana recounted.

Bill responded by telling her, "Well, we better figure this out because you're stuck with me for the rest of your life." That was something of an epiphany for her, and she admitted "that's nice to hear." Bill chimed in with a joke: "That was just because she didn't sign the prenup — I didn't want to lose half my assets."

Giuliana and Bill Rancic are "open" to having a second child

Giuliana and Bill Rancic's journey to parenthood was a long and difficult one. Their numerous unsuccessful IVF attempts were well documented on their reality show, Giuliana & Bill, but happily culminated in the 2012 arrival of son Duke, who was born via surrogate.

In a 2019 Instagram post announcing her decision to not make a full-time return to E!, Giuliana also dropped some other news. She wrote that "nothing is more important than spending time with my family, which we are hoping to grow soon." She subsequently spoke with People and confirmed that she and Bill were "open to everything," including IVF and surrogacy, in order to welcome a little brother or sister for Duke, then age seven. "And hopefully, like I said in my message, hopefully, we'll have some good news soon ... [regarding growing] the family."

Looking back at their struggle to conceive, Giuliana recalled that period as "such a hard time in our lives, but at the same time, it was great." Despite the difficulties in getting there, she added, the arrival of Duke made it all worthwhile. "It was amazing, and it worked out for us in many ways."