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This year celebrity chef Rachael Ray and her husband, John Cusimano, will be celebrating fifteen years of marriage.

Starting a marriage under the spotlight is not easy as Ray and Cusimano learned – Ray had been a few years into her television culinary career by the time she got married, and was only gaining more and more fame.

Rachael Ray and husband John Cusimano
Rachael Ray and husband John Cusimano | Aaron Davidson/Getty Images for Food Network SoBe Wine & Food Festival

How these two met is a genuinely sweet love story.

How Rachael Ray met her husband

As the story goes, the two both were invited, separately of course, to the birthday party of a friend, who had been trying to get the two together for the better part of a year.

John Cusimano and Rachael Ray on their wedding day, 2005
John Cusimano and Rachael Ray on their wedding day, 2005 | Mark Daniels for Every Day with Rachel Ray Magazine/WireImage

“This person was a tall person, and she invited all of her ex-boyfriends and people she knew — and they were all tall,” Cusimano explained on the celebrity chef’s daytime show. “And as you can see, we’re not all that tall. So I like to say we saw each other among a sea of knees.”

“That’s true,” Ray said. “And we crossed a crowded room and started talking and we have talked every day since the night we met.”

Both agreed that they simply didn’t envision ever getting married or settling down with one person. But, as so often happens, that all changed when they locked eyes on one another.

“I never thought I would be married,” Ray said. “I don’t think of us as married — I just think of us as us.”

“I don’t think either of us planned on spending the rest of our lives with anyone else,” Cusimano added. “It all changed when we met.”

Their late-night first date

First impressions are everything, and Ray’s initial take on Cusimano on their first date, which went into the wee hours of the morning, was that her new friend was gay.

Rachael Ray and John Cusimano
Rachael Ray and John Cusimano | J. Kempin/FilmMagic

“We were out until 4 a.m.!,” Ray told People in 2018. “He told me what he had made himself for dinner the night before, and I assumed that if you’re not a chef and you made what he told me he made, that he was gay.”

“So I was going to set him up with a friend of mine—another handsome Italian man—and he said, ‘Oh, I’m not gay!’ So we stayed out until 4 in the morning that really was our first date.”

They’re going on 15 years together

The couple was married on Sept. 24 in 2005 in a Tuscan castle and plan on returning there this fall to mark their fifteenth year together. The Rachael Ray 50 author discussed recently what the two have learned makes their marriage work after so many years as a couple.

“When we are mad at each other we scream,” Ray told People in Feb. 2020. “If John is being an a–hole, I tell him, then I feel better. And John does the same thing. We share a great sense of humor which helps. We yell to get it out, then move on. We kiss, cut up vegetables, and John makes cocktails.”

In the end, the secret to their longevity is keeping it light.

“I think if more people would take themselves less seriously, they would be a lot happier in their day-to-day lives,” Ray said. “We both work hard and find it easy to laugh at ourselves. It works for us.”

Read more: ‘Rachael Ray’: Her Celebrity Crush and Favorite Moment from the Daytime Show