OREM — Ever since he came out of anesthesia a month ago, Jason Mortensen can't go to the mall without being asked to pose in pictures with those who have seen his viral video.
He and his wife, Candice, have appeared on "The Today Show," CNN, "Inside Edition" and "Showbiz Tonight," and have even had to turn down interviews with celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres, Diane Sawyer and Queen Latifah.
The Mortensens had no idea their short video clip of Jason coming out of anesthesia would garner so much attention, but they appreciate the opportunities it has presented them.
"We're glad that it can be a positive thing," Jason Mortensen said. "There are a lot of viral videos out there that offend people or are rude, or somebody's a victim of some prank or something. We're just grateful that this is something that can remind people the importance of family."
It all started when Candice Mortensen came to visit her husband after he had surgery because of three hernias. He was still coming out of anesthesia and began complementing his wife of six years. But this wasn't the first time her husband had acted goofy, so Candice was prepared. She quickly pulled out her phone and captured her husband swooning over her on camera.
Commenters on news sites have referred to Jason Mortensen as the "husband of the year" or the kind of husband every woman wants. Mortensen just said he's not surprised by his loopy reaction.
"It's not too much of a shocker for me that when I'm out of it, and coming out of anesthesia, that I feel that way about her because that's really the way I feel about her," Jason Mortensen said.
The two have been married for six years and live in Orem. Jason was from California and his wife from Layton when they met as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Jason preparing to serve in Iceland and Candice in Latvia.
"I had a girlfriend at home who was waiting for me," Jason Mortensen said. "But we were in the same district, so I knew (Candice); I didn't know her well, but I saw her for three months. So when she got off of her mission we wrote back and forth on my P-day, and when I got home it didn't work out with my girlfriend, and (Candice) and I started dating and the next thing you know!"
When describing his now-viral video, Jason Mortensen, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said there was more footage his wife captured after the surgery in which he talked about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, key components of his LDS faith; he said there is a whole portion of the video no one has seen.
But for Jason Mortensen, even putting up the original video was something he wasn't too keen about at first.
"I did not want to put it online because I swear in it, and I don't normally swear, like ever," Jason Mortensen said. "My wife said, 'Oh, it's OK, only family will see the video.' So I said, 'OK, we'll put it up there because my family lives out of state.' And then a few days later it had several thousand hits, and the whole ward knew about it and I thought, 'Uh-oh.'"
The video had been up for about a week, receiving around 10,000 views, when one night Jason Mortensen woke up at 4 a.m. to find the video suddenly had 400,000 views.
"I couldn't believe it," Mortensen said. "I tried to go back to bed, and I couldn't sleep. I checked my email and I had like 7,000 emails. From about 5:30 a.m. on, calls were coming in from everywhere, every TV show you could imagine. That's never happened before, obviously, so that was pretty crazy. And then two hours later, a producer from NBC showed up at our door."
Not only were Jason and Candice Mortensen contacted, but all those related to them began receiving calls.
"People were calling my parents and in-laws, people who are related to us with different last names, at their jobs," Jason Mortensen said. "I don't know how they got any of that information, but they hunted it down."
Since then, the couple has done interviews all over the world, taking time from their regular routine, but because they have been in such high demand, they haven't been able to respond to every request.
"It's hard because we're absolutely flattered that any of them would call," Jason Mortensen said. "We're grateful for the excitement and the interest. ... We just did the best we could — if we could have, we would have done all of them."
And although they have slowed down doing interviews, many other opportunities have been offered to the Mortensens.
"We're getting offers to do all sorts of things," Jason Mortensen said. "Halloween costumes, cologne, perfume, books. We just got asked to do a documentary, and we got asked to do a music video with a guy from 'The Voice.' So all sorts of things. ... Who knows how long this will last, but we've got to enjoy it."
While spending time with his wife flying first class and staying in five-star hotels has been fun, Jason Mortensen said one of the best parts of this experience has been their opportunity to connect with people from all over the world.
"For us, we've just been sharing the message of family," Jason Mortensen said. "We've been getting emails from people all over the world from people that are telling us their stories about how they found love or lost love and how this video has helped them. We're reaching people in ways we never thought possible, and we're grateful and flattered.
"We just try to share with people that we are a normal couple; we're just two normal people. We're Christians and we believe that family is the most important thing in the world, and our marriage is the most important thing in the world — it's something we focus on all the time."
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company