Olympian Shawn Johnson East and Husband Andrew East Open Up About How Much Life Has Changed Since Having Kids

After becoming parents in 2019, Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson East and her husband Andrew felt like the life they knew changed significantly. Here's what surprised them most—and what they wish they'd known before welcoming their kids Drew and Jett.

Olympian Shawn Johnson East and her husband Andrew East welcomed their eldest Drew Hazel, in 2019, and in 2021, their son Jett James was born. Like all new parents, raising two little ones has had its incredible joys and challenges. "I wish someone had told me how much life was going to change after having kids," says East in a new video for People and Parents.

The transition from being child-free to having one kid felt harder than going from one to two, explains Johnson East. "However, with two kids—the breaks you get with one, you no longer get ever," she admits. "You're always doing something. I take very few showers these days."

Although they did feel like they were ready for parenting, the couple was "humbled when it happened." In fact, the gold medalist jokes that as a family, they've definitely felt like "a hot mess."

East adds, "I feel like we progressively realized how unready we were, then it was like, 'We just need to figure this thing out.'"

Part of that included a moment in which East recalls the pair "trying to rival" one another by each imposing their individual parenting style on the kids. "Then, we switched to like, 'Oh, wait, this is a group project. This is Shawn and I figuring this out together,'" he remembers.

While Johnson East might parent more "by the book" and East's style is more relaxed, they've managed to get on the same page through healthy communication.

The retired gymnast says realizing that they both want what's best for Drew and Jett is at the heart of problem-solving. "We both love our kids more than anything in the world," she says. "And we both want the best for them, and whatever style that is, it doesn't matter."

Asking one another for help has also proven to be a saving grace for the couple. "I feel like we've become better teammates," points out East.

They're conscious of the fact that it's a constant balancing act to make time for their relationship and parenting. "There are so many logistics that are added with a kid, it's so easy to lose marriage as your priority," notes East.

Johnson East agrees, adding, "It just puts a stress on your marriage, unless you prioritize it, because there's so much more for us to do with a baby. It's a person to share yourself with. You have to actively work on your marriage."

For the couple, that means making sure they plan a weekly date night. While their date might only be a half-hour long or entail having a picnic together in their backyard while Johnson East's mom watches the kids, it's a way they can enjoy much-needed time for connection.

And putting in extra time to bring balance into family life is well worth the effort for the pair. As Johnson East puts it, "It's truly something you can't put words to. It's the greatest love I have ever known. For us, it's the best."

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