In August 2015, Hollywood producer Will Packer (Girls Trip) married the love of his life, Heather Hayslett.
Packer, 43, first met Hayslett during a boat ride at ESSENCE Festival in 2009 and then in 2013 he proposed to her on stage in the Superdome.
It’s very easy to be drawn to their love story – they make blended family bliss look easy and the love and appreciation they have for one another always shows.
It’s been two years since their intimate surprise wedding in Atlanta made headlines and first warmed our hearts, and each time we spot the Packers, they seem to look more and more in love.
“I am so fortunate,” Packer tells ESSENCE. “That is my homie. That is my wife, my lover, my everything. We’re friends; we really are.”
Packer reveals that what has always been one of their strengths as a couple is that they define marriage and happiness on their own terms.
“It’s not what some people think a traditional marriage looks like, but I think you have to define it for yourself,” adds Packer. “And the fact that we’re friends first … We’ve fought like friends, we talk trash … I mean, we go there. But it’s so fun.”
Their love motivates him, and Packer will be the first to tell you that so many of the dynamic women in his life have inspired his impressive work as one of Hollywood’s leading producers (Think Like A Man, Ride Along and No Good Deed).
“When you have that kind of affinity, you always want them to be shown in the best light,” insists Packer. “You want them to be elevated. You want it to be realistic. You want them to go through some things and overcome it. You want them to have challenges, but figure out how to navigate them.”
For Packer, it all comes down to his love and appreciation for Black women.
“It’s like, some people grew up loving comic book characters, and some of them, like J.J. Abrams, who makes comic book movies, and makes superhero movies, has been a fan for a very long time. He talks about that, and for him, he always wants to see them win,” Packer explains. “For me, from my mom, to my sister, to my aunts, I’ve always loved sisters. I love my sisters, so I want them to win. They’re my heroes, my heroines, in my movies. That’s what that is. They support me and they’re an amazing audience.”
In a crowd it’s easy to spot Heather, his biggest fan. Whether they’re vacationing in paradise or managing the everyday responsibilities of their household, the Packers enjoy each other’s company and cherish the choice they’ve made spending forever together.
“When she’s not around,” adds Packer. “I miss her because we have a passionate love, but also, I miss my friend.”
See more of our favorite photos of the Packers’ love on the go and some of their best advice for couples.
“I'm social, but at the same time I like moments where it's just me,” says Packer. “But my ‘just me’ moments always include Heather. That's the best ‘just me’ moment, when it’s just me and her.”
“Self-love, first and foremost, that's what the secret to Black love is,” says Packer.
“Because as Black people, we have not always had imagery, we have not always had support systems, we have not always had people who were close to us ... I'm talking like family members, moms, dads, spouses, lovers, who said, ‘You're great and you're enough.],’ we've just started to tell ourselves that. And we've just started to believe that in a real, tangible way ourselves,” Packer adds.
“Honestly, that's what black love is to me,” says Packer. “Self-love first.
The Packers work and play hard to make the most of their most cherished moments together.
Cheers to love!