Which was more astonishing about Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston's big announcement on Wednesday:
The high school sweethearts, who broke up a few months after the December 2008 birth of their son, Tripp, were interviewed by Us on Saturday in Anchorage, where Bristol Palin now lives. They said they bonded anew when they met three months ago to work out a custody plan.
"I really thought we were over," Johnston told the magazine. But feelings changed when they went for a walk with their son. Nothing romantic happened then, she told Us -- but later, he texted her saying that he missed her and wanted her back. "I was in shock," she says.
The 19-year-old mom said that her own mother -- who traded insults with her grandson's father in the national media over the past year, as he posed for Playgirl and dished dirt about the family -- didn't yet know they were planning a wedding: "It is intimidating and scary just to think about what her reaction is going to be."
But if Sarah Palin was truly left in the dark about this ... why? Melanie Bromley, the Us reporter who interviewed the couple, speculates that Bristol Palin wanted "to be in control" of the story. "I got the impression that Sarah had laid down the rules for Bristol -- that if she's back together with Levi, [Sarah] wants him to finish his education, and get a job. But she wants to be with Levi now."
By telling her story "in her own words," as Bromley put it, "she's forcing her mother to hear her side of the story without interruption."
Well, zing! Some other things about that story:
Bromley would not say whether the couple was paid for the interview (conducted at a private home rented for the occasion). A reporter from rival People magazine, Sandra Sobieraj Westfall, spent the following day with Bristol and Tripp in Anchorage, for a story in this week's issue. In her interview, which Westfall says was unpaid, Palin did not reveal that she was engaged -- and Johnston declined to participate. Rex Butler, Johnston's attorney, did not return our calls.