Brenda Rivera Stearns and Isaiah Stearns are sharing new details about their movie-worthy meet-cute with TODAY’s Jenna Bush Hager.
The story begins in 2009, when Brenda was trying to text a new friend an uplifting Bible verse, but accidentally typed in a number belonging to Isaiah.
The message read, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit…”
“I get a reply back saying “Amen to that. Who is this?” Brenda, 36, told Jenna on March 16. “And I’m like, ‘Oh, it’s Brenda.”
Brenda explained that they had been introduced through her sister.
Isaiah wrote back, “We’ve never met, but by the looks of your text, I can see that you love God, that’s awesome.”
“I viewed it as, this is another person who can help me in my walk with God,” Isaiah told Jenna.
Brenda apologized to the stranger for bothering him. But Isaiah wanted to keep the conversation going and asked if he could call her sometime.
“I thought it was a little weird,” Brenda told TODAY.com earlier this month. At this point, he didn’t know her age or what she looked like.
The next day, her phone rang. It was Isaiah.
“Obviously, I didn’t answer. I was a little creeped out. But I was also sort of hoping he’d leave a voicemail so I could hear what he sounded like,” Brenda recalls.
Isaiah came through and left a voicemail. In the message, he said that the Bible verse Brenda sent had lifted his day and made him smile.
“I could just tell he was very genuine. So I decided OK — I’m gonna call him back,’” Brenda says. He answered right away.
During that first chat, Brenda revealed that she lived in Georgia, but her mom and sister resided in Ohio, about 50 minutes from Dayton, where Isaiah was based.
“I said maybe we could meet up when I visited my family,” she says. “We had an immediate connection.”
After the call, the two added each other on Facebook. At the time, Isaiah had a shaved head.
“I thought he was cute, but he wasn’t the type of guy I was typically drawn to,” Brenda says, noting that she moved to the United States from Mexico when she was 12.
“I pictured myself with a dark-skinned, curly-haired, Spanish-speaking guy who loved salsa dancing — basically the opposite of him,” she says. “Isaiah was bald and he didn’t…know how to dance.”
Brenda says she “quickly fell in love” with Isaiah, despite them being physically apart. They would talk on the phone for hours.
“My mom volunteered to go spy on him. She was like, ‘What gym does he go to?’ ‘Where does he work?’ Brenda says.
Instead, she arranged a proper lunch date for her mom and Isaiah.
“Isaiah was all for it,” Brenda says.
When the meal was over, Brenda asked her mom to rate Isaiah on a scale of 1 to 10. She gave him an 11, which Brenda says was “so out of character.”
“She was like, ‘You’re going to marry this guy,’” Brenda says.
Brenda Rivera Stearns and Isaiah Stearns, 41, will celebrate their 13-year wedding anniversary in June.
The couple are parents of six children: Victoria, 11, Veronica, 10, Samuel, 9, Vanessa, 7, Benjamin, 4, and Ezra, 1. Brenda regularly shares videos and photos of her family on TikTok and Instagram.
“I’m either pregnant or breastfeeding,” she says. But she adds that there will not be a seventh baby. Their brood is complete.
“I love us so much. Sometimes I’ll just look at my children and my husband and I wonder what I did to deserve all of this,” Brenda says.
“I wouldn’t have this many kids if my husband wasn’t so involved. He makes dinner. He does the laundry. He doesn’t ask, ‘Hey, do you need help?’ He doesn’t see it as helping me, because it’s his house, too,” she says. “I feel so lucky.”
Calling Isaiah the “perfect partner,” Brenda adds that while he now has a full head of hair, he still can’t dance.