Bob Barker‘s longtime companion, Nancy Burnet, opened up to People about their relationship, following the news of his death on Saturday (August 26th) at the age of 99. The pair met in 1983 at an animal adoption event.

“Neither of us had any desire ever to be married again, and he believed it when we first started seeing each other,” she told the outlet. “But as the years went by, he proposed to me many times. I just said, 'I just don't want to be married.' Our humor was very dry. We kidded in a way. And he said, 'Not even to me?' And I said, 'Especially not to you.'”

Honoring his work ethic, Burnet added, “He had such an amazing, productive life. He was a natural, but he worked hard. Everything he accomplished, he accomplished himself because of hard work.”

She also highlighted Barker’s animal rights advocacy. “The thing I think he'd like to be remembered for most of all would be his work for animals,” she said. “He changed America and maybe some other countries. He educated people and raised their awareness so that they started asking questions. His message, I think, brought that home.”