After retiring from gymnastics, Shawn Johnson wasn’t entirely sure what to do. The Des Moines native decided to enroll at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee and ended up falling in love with the city. “There’s a lot of fun stuff to do, a lot of fun people, and it’s a very young town, so I love that,” she told HuffPost.
Johnson didn’t just fall in love with a city, though; she also fell in love with a man. Andrew East was also attending Vanderbilt at the time, and he and Johnson started dating after he was introduced to the gymnast by his older brother.
Johnson’s new life in Nashville proved to be a turning point in more ways than one. Not only was she building a life outside of gymnastics, but she also found a support system in East. Johnson explained to People that until she met him, she hadn’t talked about her history with disordered eating, but that he helped set her on a healthier path. Johnson began to see a nutritionist and developed better eating habits with the help of East and her family.