February 13, 1995 12:00 PM

The great romance between John Tesh and Connie Sellecca did not get off to a wonderful start. True, when they met at a hotel gym in Palm Springs four years ago, he wasted no time asking her out. But on what was to be their first date, growls Sellecca, “He stood me up!”

“I was intimidated,” explains Tesh, who didn’t blow his second chance. When he proposed to Sellecca in 1991, he reserved an entire restaurant in Monterey, hired a string quartet to serenade her with a song he had written called “Concetta” (her given name) and arranged for a fireworks display. On their first anniversary in ’93, he had a plane pull a banner over their Orlando vacation spot proclaiming JOHN [love] CONNIE. And last year, when she was seven months pregnant with daughter Prima, he whisked her via helicopter to a picnic for two atop an Arizona mesa. “Oh!” rhapsodizes Sellecca. “He’s romantic in every way”

In truth, these two are curable romantics—and they got that way through intensive counseling. “We both came from bad marriages and didn’t want to make that mistake again,” says Sellecca, 39, who was divorced from actor Gil Gerard in 1987. Adds Tesh, 42, who split with actress Julie Wright in ’91: “Some people are probably disgusted by our image, but if they came over to our house, they’d see we have to work things out like everyone else.” And yes, they do have problems. “Our house is falling apart from the earthquake,” says Sellecca, “and we have an epileptic dalmatian who takes 19 pills a day.”

On Valentine’s Day, Sellecca plans to take her 13-year-old son Gib to the orthodontist. But then, Feb. 14 has no particular significance. To commemorate their April 4th wedding date, Tesh sends his wife flowers on the 4th of every month. “It’s worth it,” he teases. “I get unbridled sex.” The wisecracking Sellecca has her own incentive for keeping their relationship on track. “If it goes bad,” she says, “I’ll never get another piece on Entertainment Tonight.”

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