His is one of the most sought-after opinions in the film industry. And he’s seen it all: Oscar hopefuls, romantic comedies and every indie flick in between.
But in honor of his 20th wedding anniversary Wednesday, Roger Ebert and his wife Chaz plan to watch something very special.
“Of course we’ll watch a movie,” Chaz, who married the Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic in 1992, tells PEOPLE. “But this time, we may bust out the old wedding video.”
The couple, Ebert tells PEOPLE, will also host an intimate dinner party with family and friends, in honor of their marriage, which he says is built on “love and respect.”
“When it comes to the ‘obey’ part, we play it be ear,” he quips.
Ebert, 70, has long gushed about his leading lady, the woman he praised for staying by his side when he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2002 and later with jaw cancer. He’s since lost his voice and had his jaw fitted with a prosthetic device.
“My part was simple. All I had to do was be sick,” he says. “Chaz was a force of nature.”
When it came to her husband’s recovery, Chaz says she moved forward with “faith and hope and the support of family and friends.”
“I also had a feeling deep down that we had more to do on this earth and that it wasn’t his time to go yet.”
More than two decades ago, while drinking coffee at a café in Monte Carlo, Ebert asked Chaz to marry him. The question was unexpected – even for him.
“My proof is, if I had known, I would have chosen another place to do it,” he says. “Always propose marriage in a place you love and want to come back to.”
These days, Chaz says she cherishes her husband for “the way he thinks and really cares about people and what happens in the world.”
And Ebert has nothing but praise for his wife, saying, “Chaz is honest, loyal, cuddly, supportive, hopeful and laughs at the same things I do.”