The moment he laid eyes on his wife Evelyn, the future Late Show host thought: "That's your wife"

By ALLISON SADLIER
July 06, 2016 11:25 AM
Frazer Harrison/Getty

A version of this article previously appeared on EW.com.

Stephen Colbert knew instantly his wife was “the one.” He saw her in a theater lobby and thought, “Her. That’s your wife. You’re going to marry her.”

A Late Show with Stephen Colbert audience member recently asked the host how he knew during a Q&A session.

“Aw man, how long do we have?” joked Colbert, “I will make this quick ’cause I like this story.”

The late-night staple recounted how he had been dating a girl for several years when she gave him an ultimatum: get married or break up. Colbert wanted to take a week home in Charleston, South Carolina, to think it over.

He told his mother the situation as soon as he got off the plane and she made the decision easy. “Well do you love her?” she asked, “I think so,” Colbert told her, to which she replied, “‘I don’t know’ isn’t good enough.” And just like that, Colbert’s week was wide open.

While attending the musical Hydrogen Jukebox by Philip Glass and Allen Ginsberg, the future host of The Late Show started making eyes with a “woman in a black linen dress.”

The pair ran into each other in a food line at the show’s after party. Colbert told himself, “You will kick yourself for the rest of your life if you do not turn around and say hello to her.”

As soon as they locked eyes, Colbert and Evelyn McGee realized they had grown up together. Their families knew each other, and they went to different schools in the same area.

Evelyn and Stephen Colbert
Frazer Harrison/Getty

Colbert, now 52, felt it was kismet. They chatted for two hours, but he says he started to worry she was “just being nice to me because our families know each other. She doesn’t really like me.” Figuring he’d give her an “out” if she wanted to leave, Colbert turned away for what he described as “the most harrowing minute of my life.”

With a huge grin, he concluded, “She was still there when I turned about, smiling at me, and now we’re married.”

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