FLASHBACK: A Look Back at Ronald and Nancy Reagan's Love Story
By Raphael Chestang
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As America remembers Nancy Reagan's legacy, ET has the latest details on her funeral plans.
The former First Lady will be laid to rest on Friday next to her late husband, 40th U.S. President Ronald Reagan, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. The library was closed on Monday as preparations began.
More than 1,000 people have reportedly been invited to the funeral, with the guest list said to include heads of state as well as former presidents.
Mourners have been leaving notes and flowers at the Reagan library to honor Nancy's memory.
On Monday, Nancy and Ronald's 57-year-old son, Ronald Prescott "Ron" Reagan, spoke to the Today show about his parents' special relationship.
"She loved her husband more than anything in the world," Ron said of his mother. "You can make the case that the Ronald Reagan that we all came to know as President would not have existed without Nancy Reagan."
Nancy and Ronald secretly wed in 1952, when they were both Hollywood stars. "He was unlike any actor I'd ever known. He never talked about himself," Nancy said in the 2011 PBS documentary, Nancy Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime. "I just wanted to know more about him."
The couple had an unbreakable connection that was captured in photos, and one of the pair in a canoe held a special significance.
"When I was a little girl growing up, I always thought that if somebody wanted to ask you to marry them that they took you out in a canoe and played ukulele," Nancy told ET in 1999. "For our 25th wedding anniversary, he gave me this canoe named "True Love," and we went out, and he said, 'Well, I don't have a ukulele.' I said, 'You can hum!'"
Ronald showed his devotion to Nancy in more than 700 love letters, and Nancy showed hers by supporting Ronald, which was the most important thing in her life.
Nancy also spoke to PBS about the failed assassination attempt on Ronald's life in 1981. "My Secret Service guy said, 'There's been a shooting, but don't worry. The president is all right,'" she recalled. "I'm still heading for the elevator and I say to them, 'You either find me a car or I'll walk.'"
When Ronald died in 2004 following a decade-long battle with Alzheimer's disease, Nancy dedicated her life to preserving her husband's legacy through her work at his presidential library and became a strong advocate in finding a cure for Alzheimer's.