“It’s an absolute living nightmare,” recalled Prince, whose husband, William Friend, was killed in July after being struck by lightning.
“One Tree Hill” alum Bevin Prince is opening up about the devastating death of her husband, William Friend, for the first time.
While appearing on Friday’s episode of the “1on1 with Jon Evans” podcast, the 39-year-old actress broke her silence on her late husband’s passing five months after he was killed by a lightning strike in July.
One Tree Hill Star Bevin Prince’s Husband Killed by Lightning Strike
“It’s a living nightmare. It’s an absolute living nightmare,” Prince began. “It was like any other day that we’d done a million times. The storm was far away, we’re on the boat, everything’s fine. And then in an instant, everything has changed. There’s no normal, and there’s no playbook for it.”
“I hesitate to say this ’cause I don’t want to sound like I’m saying I’m fortunate in this situation, but I am fortunate in this situation to know that it was so much bigger than me,” she continued. “It was July 3rd, 3:13 pm and Will was 33. And it was instant.”
“The boat next to us had a keg on it. You know what I mean? Like, the fact that he was struck. And right before he was struck, he looked at my father … he lit a cigar, and he said, ‘Mike, well, if we get struck by lightning this is a good place to be. This is where I wanna be.’ And then it happened,” Prince added. “That to me really allows me the ability to process a little bit more that this is so much bigger than me, that it wasn’t [a] coincidence and also that nothing could have been done.”
The fitness instructor said that passengers in the boat next to theirs included a nurse, an ex-military and a bounty hunter, noting that they “responded so fast.”
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“Then, the police boat happened to be driving by right at that moment, just happened to be there,” Prince added. “So, they were able to move him to the police boat. In my mind, there was absolutely nothing that could have been done. And I have to accept that this is larger than me and my understanding at this time.”
Friend was struck on July 3, per the National Lightning Safety Council at the time, while on a boat near Masonboro Island in North Carolina near his Wilmington home. He was pronounced dead in an ambulance, per WECT-TV.
During her conversation with Evans, Prince said she had a “team of people” who were there to support her after the tragic accident, even revealing that her former “One Tree Hill” co-stars, Hilarie Burton and Lee Norris, were there “in a minute.” (Prince’s close friend, actress Odette Annable, also paid tribute to Friend on Instagram just a few days after his passing.)
“Will was the most fiercely loyal person I’ve ever met in my life, and I learned so much from him by watching how he treats people, and how he shows up for them,” Prince said. “Every single person was there to show up for him and me, and so you’ve just got to get up. At that point, his birthday was that Sunday, and that’s when we were going to have his celebration of life … and I felt in my bones Will holding me up. I knew I had to speak, and it wasn’t an option not to, because I know that man would have done it for anyone in his life, and I felt him hold my shoulders up and stand up with me.”
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The Recess co-founder went on to open up about grieving her late husband, sharing that she’s now dedicated her life to “service.”
“You know, it’s still so day-to-day,” Prince explained. “Some days, it doesn’t feel OK, and I think the thing I remind myself is, I have two options. I can stay here on this planet, or I cannot, and that’s not an option for me. So, I really only have one option. I knew when Will passed, I said, ‘OK, I was fortunate enough to experience the kind of love and support and partnership that I know so many people will never feel, so my life now a service. My life now is service. That’s it.'”
“I’m going to do everything I can to serve the people in my community and the people that work with me and my friends and my family and I will continue to show up and do that,” she added. “That’s all I know. That’s all I can do. That’s the only option.”
Prince and Friend wed in May 2016. The couple founded Recess, a local fitness business, together.