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Al Roker and Deborah Roberts might work for rival networks — he's the weatherman on NBC's Today show, while she's a seasoned reporter for ABC News — but in the end, that doesn't really matter. Al and Deborah are all about having fun.
While Al and Deborah are known for keeping things light, they've also been open about the struggles of their 25-year marriage and the life lessons they've learned along the way.
Starting from the beginning, Al and Deborah met in 1990 when Deborah joined NBC as a general-assignment reporter. As Al shared on The Kelly Clarkson Show recently, he and Deborah were in the "friend zone" for a period of time, and Deborah once asked him to keep an eye on her apartment while she was away.
"And I had to snoop around," Al told Kelly. "I was in the kitchen, and I open up the fridge, and there's nothing. ... There's nothing in the fridge, like some old cheese, a bottle of Grey Poupon mustard, that's about it."
And so, what did Al do? "A day before she got back from her trip, I stocked her pantry, I stocked her refrigerator and left some flowers on the table and a note, 'Welcome home.' And then I got my first date with her a week later."
"Al was so sweet," Deborah told People about her early days getting to know him. "He showed me pictures of his daughter and talked about his family." But, she adds, "I just thought he was a nice guy, and that was that."
They kept in touch for two years while Deborah was transferred to Miami, and then Atlanta. But in 1992, she was back in New York as a correspondent for Dateline NBC, and by then, Al and his then-wife, Alice, had split up. On New Year's Day in 1994, Al proposed on the rim of the Grand Canyon.
And suddenly, Deborah was a stepmother to Al's daughter, Courtney. "There were times when we were the dueling girls," Deborah told People in 1999. "Sometimes I was feeling, 'Why is Courtney getting her way? I want my way.' And Courtney was doing the same thing. It's not a piece of cake, but it's a lot better than it was. Courtney and I have both matured."
The same year she and Al were married, Deborah moved to ABC News as a correspondent for 20/20. Today, she reports for 20/20 along with GMA, World News Tonight, and Nightline, according to her ABC biography.
Al and Deborah had their first child, Leila Ruth, in 1998, after fertility issues led them to opt for in vitro fertilization. "At 9:17 a.m. on Tuesday, November 17, 1998, I heard the most wonderful sound: the cries of our newborn daughter, Leila Ruth Roker," Al wrote in Guideposts magazine. "A nurse held her up for Deborah to see. My wife started to cry and so did I. I held my new daughter and looked into her eyes. Is this how Mom and Dad felt when they held me? I wondered."
But the joy of bringing a new baby into the world led to a career sacrifice for Deborah. "When we had Leila, it became a difficult point in our marriage because I was already working mornings, and ABC came to her and said, 'We'd like you to do the newsperson's job on Good Morning America,'" Al said on the Today show. Even though it was her dream job, Deborah ended up not taking it and instead focused on caring for her newborn. "Deborah decided to step back. Her career suffered some for it. You always feel guilty about that," Al added.
"I will admit that deep down in my heart of hearts I have felt at times that I have sacrificed more but I think also he's also listened to me, too, and tried to feel a little bit of my pain," Deborah said in the same Today broadcast.
In 2002, Al had gastric bypass surgery, which led him to lose 160 pounds. He said that his weight had become an issue in their marriage, because Deborah is an athletic person who was disappointed that her husband wasn't making healthy choices. "She was upset about it, she was frustrated, she was angry," Al wrote for Today.com, noting they had a "mixed-weight marriage." "She thought, 'Why don't you care enough about yourself and why don't you care about me and our relationship enough to change?' And I said, 'Look, it's not about you. It's about me.'" Eventually Al joined Deborah on runs, and ended up running the New York City Marathon.
The same year Al had his surgery, he and Deborah welcomed their son, Nick, who has special needs. Al has spoken out and honored Nick's longtime occupational therapist, Lori Rothman, on the Today show. "When you're parents and there's something not right with your child, sometimes you can almost freeze, because it's so overwhelming," Al said. "And to have somebody who's not only amazing for your child and to your child, but is an advocate for your child, is a godsend."
In 2016, Al and Deborah opened up about their life together in a book, Been There, Done That: Family Wisdom for Modern Times. The couple talked about what they agree — and disagree — on, and how they make their marriage work.
"We don't like the same foods, we don't really like a lot of the same music, we don't like a lot of the same theater events, Deborah told GMA. "But we love each other very much and we have a deep and abiding respect and feeling for family. I think that's what grounds us."
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