MEET & GREET
Before Kelly Ripa became the host of her eponymous morning talk show with Ryan Seacrest, she was a star on All My Children in the ’90s. During her turn on the successful soap opera, she participated in a screen test with a potential TV love interest — who just so happened to be her future IRL husband — Mark Consuelos.
“I thought she was adorable, hot and sexy and all that stuff,” Consuelos told HuffPost Live of their meet-cute. “But I was very focused — I didn’t really think I had a chance with her, so I wasn’t really focused on that.”
The chemistry was so apparent, Consuelos was offered the gig much to the delight of Ripa. “I was drawn to Mark because he was positively an alpha male, and I didn’t think I would be drawn to that. But I just worship him,” the Live with Kelly and Ryan co-host told ELLE in 2013.
While Ripa and Consuelos started off as friends, their dynamic quickly turned romantic. A year after they first started dating, the couple was enjoying pizza and wine at Consuelos’ apartment when he surprised Ripa by proposing. “I said, ‘Ask me when you’re serious.’ And he said, ‘I am serious. Let’s go to Vegas tomorrow and get married,’ ” Ripa recounted to her Live audience. They eloped in Las Vegas in 1996.
One year after getting hitched, Ripa and Consuelos welcomed their first child, a son named Michael Joseph, in 1997. A few years later, they welcomed daughter Lola Grace in 2001 — the same year she joined Regis Philbin on Live. Ripa and Consuelos became a family of five in 2003 following the birth of their third child, son Joaquin Antonio.
“We’re very lucky that we found each other, that’s what I have to say,” Ripa told AOL in an interview. “I would say to Mark, ‘Who would we have married if not each other.’ “
PARTNERS IN CRIME
Consuelos has previously described his relationship with his wife as “super-partners in crime” — and he’s right. The duo became business partners in 2007 to launch their own production company, Milojo — a combination of their kids’ names.
While Ripa and Consuelos seem like the picture-perfect couple, they’re the first ones to admit that marriage isn’t always easy. “There’s going to be times where you look at each other like ‘I can’t believe I live with you,’ ” Ripa told AOL, citing the importance of open communication in their relationship. “That’s what you want in life, to have a good companion, somebody that loves you, that listens to you and is your equal in every way.”
In 2016, Ripa and Consuelos celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary. For the occasion, the Live host packed her wedding dress, which she bought five years before tying the knot with Consuelos. “I didn’t buy it as a wedding dress,” she said on her morning show. “I just bought it because it was really pretty, and I wanted to buy something from the Barney’s Warehouse sale.” She continued: “I said to myself, ‘I bet if I buy this maybe it will be an investment piece. Maybe I will wear it more than once.’ I swear to you I wear it constantly. It’s a beach cover up now. I wear it all the time. It was the best $199 I ever spent in my life.”
STILL GOING STRONG
“We really dig each other,” Consuelos told Watch What Happens Live host Andy Cohen in 2016. “I’m really crazy about her.” The actor’s answer prompted Cohen to comment on the couple’s active sex life — “You guys bang a lot” — which led Consuelos to confirm his previous statement: “I’m bananas over my wife.”
During a separate appearance on WWHL, Ripa echoed those sentiments, telling Cohen: “I love my husband … We’ve been together a really long time. We try to do spicy things together all the time.”
Ripa and Consuelos are no strangers to online criticism. After the Riverdale actor shared a photo of his wife in a gold bikini while on a romantic getaway back in March 2018, followers suggested that Ripa should not be wearing a two-piece bathing suit. However, Consuelos swooped in to defend her.
“I wanted to take a couple of days to weigh in. Probably should’ve earlier arguably. But I wanted to be above it. Well, now I’m not. I posted this pic of the woman I most admire. As a playful tribute to my wife who I’m proud of in endless ways,” he wrote in the comments section. “She works extremely hard in her professional life and her commitment to exercise, healthy diet is admirable and the benefits show. Yes she’s wearing a bikini at age 47 and will no doubt wear one for many years to come.”