JoAnna Garcia Swisher has been a busy actress since she was in high school. She starred in the Nickelodeon series Are You Afraid of the Dark, American Pie 2, appeared in Party of Five, landed the recurring role of Vicki Appleby on Freaks and Geeks, and became a household name playing Cheyenne Hart-Montgomery on Reba McEntire's WB sitcom Reba. Now she's done everything from playing Ariel on Once Upon a Time to appearing on popular TV series like the CW's Gossip Girl, How I Met Your Mother, Better with You, Privileged, and Animal Practice. Over the past 10 years, as she continues to add credits to her resume, she's had her husband by her side -- former professional baseball player Nick Swisher.
When they were first introduced by a mutual friend, JoAnna really wasn't sure she was interested in dating a professional athlete. But Nick Swisher turned out to be an incredibly sweet guy that she wasn't expecting.
"He was really consistent and he was very willing to prove himself. He's like, 'I don't want you to think that I'm some stereotypical athlete,'" she told Us Weekly. "He was very honest about that. He was like, 'I'm only going to be dating you and you are the only one and until you believe that I'll be here reminding you of that.' And that just really struck me like he's in it to win it."
Apparently the actress and New York Yankees player fell fast for each other immediately. It seemed that despite both having busy careers, they were both focused on having a family one day.
"One of the things that really struck me about Nick when I met him was his desire to start a family," JoAnna explained to People. "Becoming a father was so important to him, so I knew right then and there that we were both aligned and wanted to experience parenthood together."
"Nick and I fell in love pretty quickly and got married pretty quickly while he was still playing baseball in New York at the time."
The couple tied the knot in 2010 at the Breakers Hotel & Resort in Palm Beach, Florida, just a few hours from JoAnna's hometown of Tampa. Two of her former Reba co-stars were bridesmaids in the wedding -- Melissa Peterman and Reba McEntire, as was Jamie-Lynn Sigler, known for playing Meadow Soprano on the popular HBO series The Sopranos.
Before he retired, Nick played for the Cleveland Indians as well as the Atalanta Braves. It was during that time that the couple welcomed their first daughter in 2013, Emerson Jay, followed by Sailor Stevie in 2016. Becoming a mom has really helped JoAnna settle into more mature roles such as The Astronaut Wives Club, Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, and most recently, the Netflix series Sweet Magnolias. JoAnna plays Maddie Townsend on the series, set in a fictional small town in Georgia, centered around three best friends navigating life and love.
JoAnna explained to People that her upbringing in Florida has really affected her current parenting style. She lived there her entire life, even briefly attending Florida State University before focusing on becoming an actor in Hollywood.
"I grew up in a very Cuban house with a lot of family around. My dad has always been all about family...The way I was raised has stayed with me into parenthood. Now more than ever, there has been nothing more important than family and that's how we will always prioritize things -- everything for the familia."
Now the family splits time between Los Angeles and Atlanta depending on the actress's filming schedule. Really the whole reason they work is that their main focus is on their family.
"We made a promise to ourselves very early on that we would make sacrifices individually for the greater good of what is now our little family," she explained.
"At first it was just projects that I probably wouldn't consider just to be able to spend time together and now that Nick's retired he is on the road with us. We are just really supportive of each other. We have a lot of respect for each other's dreams and the largest one being that we both want to have a good family life, a good home life."