Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper will be competing in the 2018 Home Run Derby on Monday, July 16. Harper is 25 years old, and made his MLB debut back in April 2012. Since then, the Las Vegas native has been a five-time All-Star, won the NL MVP Award in 2015 and picked up the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year.
Harper is married to Kayla Varner. The couple dated for four years before they got engaged in 2014, and called off their engagement in 2015. They ended up rekindling their romance and eventually tied the knot in December 2016.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. They Consider Themselves Foodies & Have Their Own Instagram Account Called ‘Harp Eats’
Bryce and Kayla spend a great deal of time at the ballpark, but they also spend a lot of time dining out. In fact, the couple considers themselves to be foodies, and they have an Instagram account to show for it.
“A couple trying to show the world that food babies can be more appealing than abs,” reads the description of the “Harp Eats” account.
The duo shared their very first food photo in July 2017.
“WELCOME to the pig life, y’all 🐷🙌🏼 #HarpEats #theharpers,” reads the caption. The account is filled with pictures of food that the two have eaten from ice cream and snacks, to burgers and steaks.
The foodies have more than 34,000 followers.
2. They Do a lot of Charity Work Together
Mr. and Mrs. Harper spend a decent amount of time giving back to those who are less fortunate.
In 2013, Bryce’s started his charity, Harper’s Heroes, joining forces with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).
“Every summer, Bryce hosts patients and survivors at Nationals Park for an incredible day away from cancer with their families. As guests of the 2015 National League MVP, our families have the opportunity to watch the Nationals take batting practice and ask questions during a private meet & greet with Bryce. Afterwards, families enjoy watching the Washington Nationals from the outfield, right behind the All-Star,” reads the LLS website.
In 2016, Bryce started his very own hat line, to raise money for children battling cancer.
“This is something that really hits home for me. Sorry, it gets me a little bit emotional talking about it. I had a couple friends and family members that have gone through it. So when I was growing up, I never wanted to do it for the cameras or for the TVs or anything like that. This was all just for me, to bring the families in and see the smiles and get them away from the everyday life and that struggle,” he told the Washington Post at the time.
Last year, Harper brought some of his “Harper’s Heroes” to the ballpark for a day on the field with him.
Kayla is also involved in charity work. Her Twitter bio includes a link to the Alliance for Haiti’s Children, a charity that helps children in Haiti get an education. In December 2014, she took to Twitter to ask her followers to donate as part of “Giving Tuesday.”
Kayla also supports her husband’s charity efforts. Last month, she announced that she and Bryce were participating in a charity bracket through the Nationals’ organization.
“Hey Everyone! Bryce and I are excited to be participating in the @Nationals Charity Bracket Challenge and would love your help. Please help us support something that is very near and dear to our hearts, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society! By purchasing tickets ($10) at Nationals.com/Bracket with the code “TeamBryce” The proceeds will go to the cause and the Nationals Dream Foundation will give an additional $5000 to the winners charity! #TeamBryce,” she wrote.
3. They Are Both Members of the Mormon Church
Harper and his wife are both Las Vegas natives and are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Kayla has a link to the church’s website in her Instagram profile and often shares photos before and after attending church services.
When the couple tied the knot in December 2016, they chose to have their wedding ceremony at the well-known San Diego Mormon Temple.
“I dreamt of being sealed in the San Diego Temple, and Bryce agreed that this was the right place for us,” Kayla told The Knot News back in August.
In a 2014 interview with the Washington Post, Harper said he follows the Mormon tradition of abstaining from alcohol. He has a strong belief in protecting his body.
“My body is what I work with,” Harper told the Washington Post. “It’s not just sitting behind a desk and I have to use my hands all day. It’s my body. This is what I have to do every single day. I come in, and I have to feel good. If you’re going out and drinking and partying, you’re not going to feel good the next day. I want to get my eight hours and be able to eat good meals and not be sluggish or anything like that. My body is my temple, and I’ve always thought that,” he added.
4. They Were Supposed to Get Married in January 2015, but Broke off the Engagement
Kayla and Harper could have started their lives as a married couple way back in 2015. The Washington Post reported that they were supposed to get married on January 2 or 3 of that year.
However, the wedding didn’t happen and Kayla disappeared from Harper’s social media posts for some time, leading the public to assume that the two had parted ways.
But in July 2016, the two were spotted together at the ESPYs. Kayla posted a picture on Instagram from the red carpet, writing “ESPYS last night with my love. So proud of you, B! Oh and WERE ENGAGED… Again #TheSequel #AllStarBreak.” And, just like that, the two were on again.
A few days later, Kayla posted a photo of her engagement ring. You can see it below.
The couple celebrated their wedding on December 17, 2016. The two spent months planning their special day, but couldn’t control the weather; it rained on their wedding day.
“By pour, I mean it rained for a few days straight at historic levels. With no break in the weather, we chose to embrace Mother Nature instead. By the end of the first look and ceremony portraits, the train on my dress was muddy and sooted,” Kayla told The Knot News.
“The weather didn’t make us change anything, and the pictures turned out beautifully,” Bryce added.
5. Harper’s Wedding Day Jacket Was Lined With Photos of His Bride
Harper didn’t just wear any normal jacket to his wedding. Photos he shared on Twitter, taken by India Earl, reveal that the inside of his jacket was lined with photos of his bride. He also had a patch that read “Mr. & Mrs. Harper, December 16, 2016.”
The jacket was created by Stitched Lifestyle, a haberdashery in Las Vegas.
Meanwhile, Kayla wore a wedding gown designed by Penelope Perkins. The “fit-and-flare dress comprised of lace and beading, accompanied by a matching cathedral-length veil,” The Knot News reported.
Videographer David Perry also shot a gorgeous video of Harper and Kayla, showing Harper tearing up at the moment he saw her wearing her wedding dress. The video was accompanied by Tim Halperin’s song “Forever Starts Today” and was first posted at The Knot News. You can watch it below.