Duane Chapman Battles Back Tears In Emotional Speech At Wife’s Memorial: ‘I Want To Wake Up From A Dream’

Duane and Beth Chapman pose at the CMT Awards.
Rick Diamond / Getty Images

Duane Chapman was overcome with emotion, but was determined to press on and honor his wife in an emotional memorial service on Saturday, with the reality star fighting back tears in an energetic speech.

The man known to millions as reality television star Dog the Bounty Hunter spoke at the service held on Saturday in Colorado, one of a pair of services honoring the late Beth Chapman that included a traditional Hawaiian memorial service. As PopCulture noted, there were a number of family and friends who addressed those in attendance in mostly somber tones, but Duane Chapman brought a much different energy.

“While the speakers up to that point had been reserved, fighting through tears to share their thoughts about their fallen friend, Chapman couldn’t stay still,” the report noted. “He shared laughter, he shared love and he shared tears through a rolling speech that captured how he truly felt about his late wife.”

Beth Chapman passed away on June 26 after a battle with cancer. She was 51.

Duane Chapman announced her death in a heartbreaking Twitter post, saying that at 5:21 a.m. in Hawaii, the time when Beth would normally be waking up to hike Koko Head mountain, she instead “hiked the stairway to heaven.”

Duane Chapman spoke at Saturday’s memorial service about his history with Beth, from the first time they met, right up until their final days together as she battled what was ultimately a terminal cancer.

Dog the Bounty Hunter went on to remember Beth as the force keeping the family together, lamenting her death.

“I cannot believe that she’s gone,” he said. “This is not possible. I want to wake up from a dream. In the ’70s, I did 18 months in a Texas penitentiary, and I told God yesterday I’d do 5 years, 10 years day for day just to kiss her again.”

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Beth Chapman’s memorial service, held at Heritage Christian Center outside of Denver, lasted two hours and included remarks from a number of friends and family including Beth’s children, Garry and Bonnie Chapman, and friend Shannon Tweed, the wife of KISS rocker Gene Simmons.

They remembered Beth as tough, but loving, Us Weekly reported.

“No one will ever be a bounty hunter in heels like she was,” Bonnie said of her mother. “No one will be as great of a mom as she was.”

Beth Chapman’s memorial service, held at one of the largest megachurches in Colorado, was open to the public. Beth and Duane Chapman had maintained a close relationship to their fans throughout her sickness, frequently posting updates and asking their fans for prayers.