From meeting on the set of All My Children to co-hosting Live with Kelly and Mark together, Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos are one of the most iconic couples in Hollywood. We're unpacking it all here...
Kelly Ripa is a Jersey girl at heart. She was born and raised in Berlin, New Jersey, to Esther and Joseph Ripa. Before becoming a big star, she was a high school cheerleader with a knack for theater.
Her drama teacher thought she was exceptional, so he encouraged her to pursue acting. Ripa starred in local productions and moved to NYC to pursue acting. In 1990, she landed her first major gig as Hayley Vaughan in the daytime soap opera All My Children.
Mark Consuelos was born in Spain. He has two older siblings, and the family moved around throughout his childhood. He spent part of his childhood being raised in Italy. Then, they moved to Illinois before settling in Florida. Consuelos landed his first acting gig on an educational series called Connect With English.
He also spent some time dancing with the Suncoast Calendar Men in Florida. He left the company when he got the role that would ultimately change the path of his life forever on a daytime soap opera called All My Children. Consuelos had no idea what was in store for him when he packed his bags for New York City.
Love at First Sight
Ripa had already been on the show for a few years. Her character, Hayley Vaughan, was known as the troubled party girl of Pine Valley, the fictional town where All My Children is set. Hayley Vaughan quickly became one of the most popular characters on the show, and the writers wanted to find her a love interest.
They were searching all over New York and Los Angeles to find the right guy for the part. Then, the casting director, Judy Blye Wilson, claimed she found the guy. It was Consuelos. Ripa revealed in an interview with SiriusXM, "...when I saw him, the photograph of him, I saw my entire future with him flash before [my eyes]."
Consuelos came in for an audition and a screen test with Ripa. The connection was electric between the two actors. Ripa said in an episode of Live!, "I fell in love with Mark the day I met him. The day I met him, I just knew. I knew that he was the guy I was going to marry."
What was his first impression of Ripa? Consuelos told PEOPLE, "She was cute. But I wasn't thinking about getting lucky. I was worried about getting the job." There was no need to fret, though. Consuelos got the part of Mateo Santos and eventually the girl, too.
Red Carpet Debut
Ripa and Consuelos started dating shortly after Consuelos began working on the show. Like their television counterparts, the two couldn't help but fall in love. In the beginning, they kept their romance a secret from their costars. They didn't want to stir up any trouble.
Consuelos said, per PEOPLE, "People tend to think there'll be problems when you're dating your costar." However, they couldn't keep things under wraps for all that long. Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos eventually made their public debut as a couple on the red carpet at the Soap Opera Digest Awards.
Pizza and Wine
One day, after taping the show, these two lovebirds went for a walk. Consuelos recalled on Live!, "We went for a walk to the park, I convinced her to come back to my apartment." What was waiting there for Ripa was one of the biggest surprises of her life. He continued, "We had pizza and wine and I asked her to marry me."
What was Ripa's response? "I said to him, 'Ask me when you're serious,' and he said, 'I am serious,'" the talk show host revealed. So, these two costars were ready to take the next step together. But, before they did, the couple briefly split before getting back together, Ripa revealed on an episode of Comments by Celebs.
Going to the Chapel
Consuelos asked Ripa, "Since we don't have to work tomorrow, why don't we fly to Vegas and get married?" They did just that! They booked airplane tickets, Ripa wore a dress she already owned, and they eloped at the iconic Chapel of the Bells in Las Vegas on May 1, 1996.
The young couple opted for a less traditional ceremony. There was no big ceremony with tons of friends and family. Ripa said years later on Live, "It really is such an efficient way to get married. And it was fun. We were like, 'Now, this is gambling! Woohoo!'" Afterward, they jetted to Italy for their honeymoon.
The newlyweds quickly earned themselves a new role. A few months after they said I do, they found out they were going to be parents. Except, there was only one issue. Ripa's character on the show wasn't pregnant! The show did everything to hide her baby bump.
According to PEOPLE, Ripa said, "Initially, I would carry luggage with me everywhere. Then I started to carry guitar cases. Then I carried trees. Trees!" Then, on June 2, 1997, Ripa gave birth to their firstborn. They named their baby boy Michael Joseph. Their costar, Eva LaRue, was chosen as Michael's godmother.
Tying the Knot Again
Kelly and Mark had another wedding ceremony. Except, this time, their characters, Hayley and Mateo, on All My Children, were having their big day in 2000. In their case, art really does imitate life and vice versa. Not only did Kelly and Mark find true love, but so did Hayley and Mateo.
Consuelos once said, per PEOPLE, "I think [Kelly] might get a little nostalgic or maybe regret the fact that she didn't get to have that big wedding. But I quickly point out to her that we had a number of weddings." While the television version may have been fancier, it was more dramatic. This is daytime television, after all.
Live With Regis
Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford were some of the biggest names in talk show television. Together, they co-hosted Live with Regis and Kathie Lee. When Gifford announced she was leaving the show, Regis needed to find her replacement. Who could possibly replace the iconic Kathie Lee Gifford?
Enter Kelly Ripa. In his autobiography, How I Got This Way, Philbin wrote, "There was one guest we'd had on with us a few years before. Hers was a natural, quick-witted, unaffected, confident, fun-loving kind of sparkle... We decided to invite her back, this time to consider her as a possible co-host."
Hesitant at First
At first, Ripa was reluctant to accept the job offer. She shared on an episode of the Double Date podcast, "I wanted to raise my kids. I didn't want to have them and never get to see them." The couple revealed on the podcast that it was Consuelos who persuaded her to do Live.
Ripa continued, "…the talk show afforded me this opportunity where I would work in the morning, early in the morning, and then I would have the rest of the day to take them to their activities or be there and watch the ballet recital, be there and do all those things."
Her Name Was Lola
On February 5, 2001, Kelly Ripa was announced as the official replacement on Live! Only a few months later, Ripa gave birth to her second child. This time, the couple welcomed a baby girl into the world. Per PEOPLE, the couple had intended to name her Sophie. However, there was a change in the plan.
On the way to the hospital, the taxi driver had Copacabana by Barry Manilow playing on the radio. Ripa explained on Live!, "I heard that [lyric], when he said, 'Her name was Lola,' and I said to Mark, 'Lola Consuelos would be a really cool name.' And he said, "If she's a girl, let's name her Lola.' And that was it."
Ending a Chapter
It was time to enter the next chapter in their lives. The parents of two decided that their time on All My Children had reached its end. Mark and Kelly both exited the show in 2002. Their time on the daytime soap opera will always hold a special place in their hearts.
Speaking about playing Hayley, Ripa told PEOPLE, "It was a happy accident. It changed my life. It changed my entire life - not just my acting life, but changed the whole trajectory of my life." Much to fans' delight, Consuelos and Ripa reprised their roles in 2010 to help the show celebrate its monumental 40th anniversary.
The stork is calling for Kelly and Mark! A third baby is on the way. The couple welcomed their third child into the family on February 24, 2003. Ripa shared the happy news with her co-host Regis Philbin and TV viewers when she called up the show from her hospital bed.
They named their baby boy Joaquin Antonio. Now their family unit was complete. With two boys and a girl, the Consuelos had it all. What could possibly be next for this couple? They've already conquered parenthood, marriage, and being costars together.
It turns out that the couple was able to find another project for themselves. Ripa and Consuelos opened up their own production company together. They named it Milojo, which is a combination of their children's names, and they have gone on to produce many projects.
Back in 2006, when asked why they had turned toward producing, Consuelos told E! News, "So we can be the bosses." Ripa continued, "Yes, the goal is to eventually get off camera, some day. Because as you can see, we are not gorgeous like soap stars are." Consuelos replied, "Yeah, those guys are really good looking."
So, how do they do it? What's the secret to juggling their careers, being parents, and maintaining their own bond? In 2010, Kelly told Good Housekeeping, "We carve out time for ourselves." So, it isn't magic fairy dust that keeps Consuelos and Ripa together?!
She continued, "I think we're better parents because date night gives us something to look forward to, a night where we're not saying, 'Put that down, stop touching her, don't spill that.' Sometimes we'll put the kids to bed early and watch Jersey Shore on DVR. It can be that simple, just the two of us, alone..."
20 Years Later
In honor of their 20th wedding anniversary, the couple planned a trip for the whole family. They took the kids and headed to Turks and Caicos. The family enjoyed a relaxing beach vacation. When she returned, Ripa shared sweet moments from the trip on Live!, including one photo where she wore the dress she married Consuelos in.
Ripa also memorialized the special moment by posting on Instagram. She posted a throwback photo of her and Consuelos and wrote in the caption, "The Roaring 20! I love you @instasuelos #cheerstotwentyeyars." The huge milestone is a significant moment to celebrate, especially in Hollywood.
After many years of not sharing the screen, Consuelos and Ripa got another shot at it. Consuelos portrayed Hiram Lodge, Veronica Lodge's father, on the hit show Riverdale. During the show's third season, Ripa appeared as Hiram Lodge's mistress, Mrs. Mulwray.
Consuelos shared with PEOPLE what it was like to have his wife on set, "It was so much fun. We got to spend the weekend up in Vancouver and we had a nice little weekend there." Ripa isn't the first family member to join Consuelos. Their eldest, Michael, played a younger version of his father's character in a throwback episode.
An Unforgettable Run-In
After Regis and Michael Strahan exited the show, Kelly was joined by Ryan Seacrest as a co-host. Whenever Seacrest needed a substitute, Consuelos would step in as co-host. During one appearance, the couple told a story that has become unforgettable and is a testament to their love for each other.
The couple recounted how they ruined their daughter's 18th birthday. Ripa said, "She knocked on our door - our bedroom door." And their daughter saw some NSFW things happening. Ripa continued, "She shuts the door and you hear, 'You just ruined my birthday! And my life! And I used to see in color and now everything is gray.'"
Over the years, Consuelos and Ripa have shown how much they love each other. It's like they have superpowers, and according to Ripa, her husband actually does have a superpower. She raved to ET Canada, "We've been together a long time, but all Mark has to do is look at me [and I[ feel so special, so pretty and so young."
She continued, "It's probably his superpower. He knows how to treat his spouse like the only person in the world. He's got the best smile I've ever seen, so when he smiles it's like the sun's shining on you. … He's got this magic ability to be present and part of everything, so I feel very fortunate. I'm very lucky!"
Celebrating the Milestones
The couple often shares their lives on social media, from major milestones to everyday moments. Their Instagrams are filled with love notes, special momentos for birthdays, and celebrations of their adoration for each other. They give fans a glimpse into the world and their love.
Here are just a few examples that made our hearts melt. Consuelos wrote to Ripa on her 50th birthday, "Happy birthday to my little ray of sunshine. I love you, sexy." Showing their adventurous side, Ripa posted a photo of them rock climbing together and captioned it, "Couples therapy."
As their children grew up, they left home. Michael went to work as an actor, writer, and director. Their daughter, Lola, is an aspiring musician, and Joaquin is currently enrolled at the University of Michigan, where he is a member of the wrestling team. So, what was it like going from busy parents to empty nesters?
Ripa told PEOPLE that she was nervous at first. Then, she shared, "But there was this other moment, where we went to the beach alone for the first time since our honeymoon with cheese and a baguette... I realized I had never noticed the sunset because I was making sure our kids didn't run into the water when I wasn't looking."
A Big Investment
Things didn't stay quiet for Consuelos and Ripa for that long. They announced in November 2022 that they were the new co-owners of a soccer team. How neat! They are now the proud co-owners of the Italian team, Campobasso 1919. The team has been around for over 100 years and has a massive fan base.
Although they have struggled recently, Mark and Kelly want to turn things around. Consuelos said in a statement, "The Campobasso project is the quintessential underdog story….Kelly and I wanted to get involved and be part of the solution." They sure know how to keep things interesting!
Consuelos is no stranger to his wife's talk show. He's appeared as a guest co-host over the years and has watched his wife every day on the program. It shouldn't be a surprise, but Consuelos became a fan favorite. Watching him and Ripa interact was always a joy.
When Ryan Seacrest announced in February 2023 that he would depart the show, Consuelos did what any good husband would do, he stepped up to the plate as guest co-host. Seacrest filmed his last episode on April 14, 2023, and it was recently announced he would take over as host of Wheel of Fortune after Pat Sajak exits.
Ripa added yet another title to her extensive resume. She recently became a podcast host! She launched her very own podcast called Let's Talk Off Camera with Kelly Ripa in 2023. Her first guest was none other than her charming and loving husband, Mark Consuelos.
Among many topics, they discussed how they don't want to have any more kids, and Consuelos said he was "really looking forward to" being a grandfather. Other guests who have since appeared on Let's Talk Off Camera include Katie Couric, Andy Cohen, Joel McHale, and Sebastian Maniscalco.
A Permanent Position
Consuelos and Ripa had an exciting announcement for their fans. He was going to be the permanent co-host on Live. The couple shared the news on an episode. Ripa told PEOPLE, "To have Mark join me at that desk every day, it's a dream come true. We've been so uniquely blessed. It's going to be off the rails!"
The first official episode of Live with Kelly and Mark aired on April 17, 2023. Their easy banter was just the same as every other time he's been on the show. Consuelos said, "Thank you for trusting me to be your co-host. Thank you America, thank you - Hayley and Mateo forever."
Advice to Newlyweds
With almost three decades of marriage under their belts, the couple has been through many ups and downs together. Mark and Kelly have been through it all, from raising three kids to balancing careers. So, what would their advice be to newlyweds? Ripa gave her two cents on an episode of Live with Kelly and Ryan.
She shared with viewers, "You're going to fight. You're going to have disagreements. Relationships, marriages are not sprints, it's a marathon. There's going to be like, mile 24, when you're like, 'I quit.' But you just got to push through. Just push through."
A Return to Pine Valley
Mark and Kelly may be returning to where it all started. It was announced in 2020 that a spinoff show of All My Children was in the works, and Consuelos and Ripa were attached as executive producers to the series. Per Variety, the spinoff is titled Pine Valley, named after the fictional town the soap was set in.
The new series will follow "a young journalist with a secret agenda" who wants "to expose the dark and murderous history" of Pine Valley but finds themselves "entangled in a feud between the Kane and Santos families." In 2022, Ripa gave an update to ABC 7 that the project is "still in the queue."
Keeping the Spark
After being married for so long, Kelly and Mark have learned how to navigate the waters of a long-term relationship. They have also had to discover how to keep the spark alive. From sending each other slightly inappropriate texts to grand gestures of love, they keep each other on their toes.
They do it so well that Kelly didn't recognize her husband one time! Consuelos surprised the star with flowers to celebrate the 26th anniversary of the day they met when the actress was leaving the gym. She heard someone say, "Hey sexy," and thought she was getting mugged. But it turned out to be Mark with five roses.
Kelly & Mark Forever
They began their journey as costars, raised three wonderful children together, and now are co-hosting Live together. Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos have proven just how much love and admiration they have for each other. The couple recently celebrated their 27th wedding anniversary in May 2023.
Ripa said to AOL.com, "We're very lucky that we found each other, that's all I have to say. I would say to Mark, 'Who would we have married if not each other?'" Whether or not you believe in true love, Kelly and Mark have proven they are made for one another. Cheers to daytime television's favorite couple!