It was only a matter of time until The Real Housewives of New Jersey‘s Kathy Wakile officially crossed paths with now-husband Richard.
“Twenty-nine years ago, we met on a plane going to Florida. It’s been an adventure ever since,” Kathy recalls. “Best flight you’ve ever took,” Richard adds.
“We were part of the same crowd but never really met before,” Kathy says. The two went to different High Schools in Paterson, N.J., but ran with the same large group of friends. “I was the guy with the brown van in high school,” Richard says. “Bean bags and mattresses, I was that guy.”
“I was actually surprised that I’d never seen you before. And you say that you’ve seen me?” Richard asks. “Yeah, we’d be out together, and you would be standing right next to me,” Kathy says.
The two officially met years later, after running into each other on an airplane. Kathy was flying to Florida with her girlfriend, who went to the same school as Richard, while Richard was traveling to the Sunshine State for business.
As fate had it, Richard had two empty seats next to him.
“We [Kathy and her friend] had worked together for 10 hours that day, so I said, ‘OK, let’s go talk to Richie Wakile.'” The two then went over and sat, talking with Richard for the rest of the flight. “When we landed, that’s when we got to know each other,” Richard tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “We landed late, and they were staying in a hell hole in Orlando, Fla., and I was staying in Disney.”
The bus driver at the airport who was taking Kathy and her friend to their hotel suggested it wasn’t a great idea to be in that area that late at night. That’s when Richard saw an opportunity to host his new friends. “It was very platonic,” Richard says. So the two girls were back and forth between their hotel and Richard’s hotel, and they spent most of the weekend all together.
Kathy and Richard didn’t get together until months after the trip, even though Richard says he tried to get Kathy’s attention soon after they returned from Florida. He visited the salon Kathy was working at to get a haircut. “I thought, OK, this guy is trying to get to my girlfriend through me,” Kathy says.
A little more time passed before Kathy decided to return the gesture. She went to visit Richard at his job to show him the pictures from their Florida trip. “Showing me the pictures from six months ago, that was one hell of an excuse,” Richard says. Eventually, the two got on the same page and went on their first date to the Halloween parade in New York City’s Greenwich Village.
One year later the two were engaged. A year after that, Kathy and Richard were married.
“When you know, you know,” Kathy says, smiling.
One gorgeous custom-built New Jersey home, two successful children, and five seasons of The Real Housewives of New Jersey later, the Wakiles thrive as a family.
“At the end of the day, we got a great experience out of it. We got out intact.” Richard describes living through the filming of the reality TV show. “Even though we weren’t the craziest or the most popular people, we are the most successful. We got out clean, and we’re still together stronger than ever.”
“The trust that we have and the open communication that we have between one another is what helped us through it all,” Kathy adds. “It’s been a fun ride and experience. Sometimes making great TV is being who you really are.”
“Every day with you [Richard] has been an adventure; you don’t know what’s coming next. But what I do know is that I can always trust it’s gonna be great for our family,” Kathy concludes.
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