How Rachael Ray’s Husband Said ‘I Love You’ for the First Time

Rachael Ray met her husband, John Cusimano, at a friend’s party after shortly after joining Food Network. The two dated for several years before tying the knot in 2005. The culinary queen knew early on that her relationship status with Cusimano was serious, and recalled the first time he said those special three words — though it wasn’t in person.

John Cusimano and Rachael Ray attend the Michael J. Fox Foundation's 'A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson's' Gala at The Waldorf Astoria
John Cusimano and Rachael Ray | Noam Galai/WireImage

John Cusimano told Rachael Ray ‘I Love You’ on voicemail

In her 2019 book, Rachael Ray 50: Memories and Meals from a Sweet and Savory Life, Ray described her courting days with Cusimano. After immediately hitting off at their initial introduction, the two were in constant contact and realized they were quickly forming a strong bond. The Food Network personality often saved messages Cusimano would leave her on voicemail, including one that brought their relationship to a higher level.

“Another voicemail I saved from those early days was the first time John told me he loved me,” she wrote. “Yup, it was on the phone, not in person. He was wandering around New York and it was cold and it was late and I’m sure there was another John involved — Johnnie Walker.”

Though Ray knew Cusimano could truly be ‘The One’, she wasn’t concerned about making that all-important three-word declaration, or who would initiate it first.

“We’d been dating a while, and while I wasn’t the type to think about who says ‘I love you’ first, I knew it wasn’t going to be me,” Ray admitted. “I think it’s an overused word, a misused word, and I like to protect it.”

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‘Ert’ is now a special word for Rachael Ray and John Cusimano

Ray revealed that Cusimano’s recorded message wasn’t exactly left in the most romantic tone, where her beau was explaining how she had caused a shift in his life.

“John calls me wandering around stumbling around, and he sounds very, very angry,” Ray explained. “And he says, ‘I used to be an independent person and I dated lots of women! … But all of those women were inert. They had nothing going on, like they’re inert on the inside. And I don’t know, but you’re the opposite. You’re so… ert.'”

Cusimano’s unique lead in to sharing his feelings for Ray is now etched – literally and figuratively — in their relationship.

“‘So I guess what I’m saying is, I love you,'” Cusimano told Ray, who shared, “ERT is still our shorthand for ‘I love you’ — it’s engraved inside his wedding ring, and we sign every single letter and card and gift tag with it.”

Rachael Ray and John Cusimano ‘make sense’

Ray’s description of their connection makes it easy to understand why this couple are truly committed to each other.

“John and I make sense,” the 30 Minute Meals star remarked. “We don’t care when we eat. We care that we eat together; whether we talk or listen to music or watch a movie while we’re doing it, or visit with old episodes of Seinfeld or Law & Order. We’re both politicos and sports buffs and animal lovers, and we read a lot.”

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Like all married couples, the two have their share of disagreements yet never shut each other out. Both clearly value their special relationship.

“We fight, but we get it out and we don’t really care who wins,” Ray wrote. “We’ve been together, this John and Rachael, every day since the day we met. And that’s something. It’s a lot. And some days, it’s everything.”