LAKE WILSON -- They've known since early March, but were told they couldn't say anything until the June issue of Redbook magazine hit newsstands across the country.
Well, the Redbook issue isn't out yet in the Midwest, but Greg and Jodi Gillette received a copy in their mailbox Monday declaring Greg the winner in the magazine's 2007 Hottest Husband contest.
"It's supposed to be on newsstands May 15," said Jodi Gillette Monday night. Her sister's mother-in-law mailed the copy to the Gillettes after a cousin spotted it on the rack at a hospital gift shop in Ohio.
Jodi said keeping the honor a secret was difficult, to say the least.
"We wanted to put a thank-you in for all the people that voted," she said. "The support was so awesome. We just want everybody to know that their votes really did count."
Jodi nominated her husband for Redbook's hottest husband contest last October. Months went by without a word from the magazine -- that is until the day before Valentine's Day, when she received a call from Redbook saying her husband was one of 18 finalists. That was the day Greg learned he had been nominated.
"At first it was kind of embarrassing, but as time went on, it became kind of fun. It was just something I will always remember," said Greg, who works as a truck driver for UPS.
During the month of February and early March, Jodi worked hard to spread the word about her husband's selection as a finalist and urged everyone she knew to vote for her husband on the magazine's Web site. The story of his status as a finalist was written in newspapers, broadcast over the airwaves and was even featured on a Minneapolis television news station.
"It just really spread like wildfire," Jodi said.
And, as the news spread, Greg was open to some good-natured ribbing from his friends and co-workers and a new nickname: "Hollywood," according to the feature in Redbook's June issue.
In the end, Greg won the Hottest Husband title by at least 600 votes -- more than double the entire population of their hometown of Lake Wilson. In addition to the title, the grand prize was a feature in the June issue of Redbook and an eight-day, seven-night trip for two to the Ka'anapali Beach Hotel on the island of Maui, Hawaii.
"I thought he had a pretty good chance because a few days before the end of voting, we found out he was in the top three," Jodi said.
Now that the contest is over, Greg is quite thankful his wife nominated him in the first place.
"I just think what she did was something that was totally unexpected," he said. "I just think the world of her for doing something like that."
As if the nomination wasn't enough, the two are now looking forward to taking that trip to Maui.
"We never went on a honeymoon and always promised ourselves that on our 10th anniversary -- this year! -- we'd go to Hawaii," Jodi told Redbook. "Three kids later, we weren't sure it was going to happen. God has a funny way of making our dreams come true. I feel so lucky that Greg and I have this opportunity."
The Gillettes plan to take their free trip to Maui sometime next winter.