IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Al Roker and Deborah Roberts: A timeline of their sweet relationship

Originally in the "friend zone," the couple has been married for 28 years and share three children.

Al Roker has been the beloved weatherman and anchor on TODAY since January of 1996, which means viewers have been tuning in to see his smiling face for more than 27 years.

And they aren't the only ones. Deborah Roberts, co-anchor of 20/20 and longtime ABC News correspondent, has been just as fortunate, considering she's married to the guy.

The celebrated media couple share a home in Manhattan, three children, and two blockbuster careers. They also added to their family earlier in 2023 in July, when daughter Courtney Roker Laga gave birth to the couple's first grandchild, Sky Clara.

Named to People magazine’s 100 Reasons to Love America in June of 2023, the couple’s enduring relationship is one for the storybooks.

Twenty eight years of marriage doesn't come without its share of ups and downs, however. According to Al, one of the biggest challenges of longevity is that between raising kids and work, it can be easy to go on "autopilot" he previously shared in an interview with

"You've got to focus on your kids and then your job, (but) you've got to also focus on yourselves because it's very easy to let that slide," he said.

Fortunately, he and Deborah share many core values and a solid sense of humor, Al said. "I think at the end of the day, we try to make each other laugh," he told "Because a good laugh goes a long way."

From the thoughtful favor Al did for Deborah that took their relationship from the friend zone to getting married, to becoming first-time grandparents in July of 2023, here's everything to know about Al and Deborah's long-time love.

How did Al and Deborah meet?

Al was born on Aug. 20, 1954 to Isabel Smith Roker and Albert Roker Sr. in Queens, New York. Six years later on Sept. 20, 1960, Deborah Roberts was born to Ben and Ruth Roberts in Perry, Georgia.

"One thing we do have in common is being raised in a large family, with Deborah being the seventh of nine children and Al being the oldest of six," the couple wrote in their 2016 book “Been There, Done That: Family Wisdom for Modern Times."

"When we think back to our childhoods, the happiest and most vivid memories that bring us the greatest joy are those family moments that shaped us into the people we've become today," Al and Deborah wrote.

Their paths crossed when Deborah accepted a job as a general assignment reporter at NBC in 1990. It was there that she met Al, who was working as a weather anchor for WNBC News in New York and filling in for then-TODAY weatherman Willard Scott.

"I thought she was beautiful, and she thought that I was taking up space," Al jokes during a 2022 appearance on the Rachael Ray Show.

When did Al Roker and Deborah Roberts begin dating?

Despite thinking Deborah was attractive, Al told Kelly Clarkson during a 2021 appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show that his future wife didn't see him as anything more than just a pal.

“We were in that ‘friend zone,’ we were friends and she said, ‘Oh, let’s not ruin that friendship,’" Al explained.

That all changed, however, when Roberts left to cover the '92 Summer Olympics in Barcelona and asked Al to keep an eye on her apartment while she was away.

Along with watering Roberts' plants, Al did a little investigating.

"And I had to snoop around, I was in the kitchen," Al said to Clarkson. "And I open up the fridge and there’s nothing in the fridge. Like some old cheese, a bottle of Grey Poupon mustard and that’s about it.

“I open up the oven expecting to see a mess. It was a new oven, I guess, when she had moved in. The cardboard was still on the oven grates. I thought, ‘This woman’s never used this oven. This is insane.'"

Al decided to remedy that, and the day before Roberts returned from the trip, he stocked her pantry, her refrigerator and left flowers on the table with a note welcoming her home.

“And then I got my first date with her a week later," he told Clarkson.

And then...Al and Deborah get engaged.

After dating for two years, it was time to take their relationship to the next level.

While on the Rachael Ray show with Al, Deborah said that it took her future husband too long to pop the big question. So long, in fact, that she said she debated breaking up with him.

"The year is ticking along, and we've been talking about marriage and I kinda think we're going to do this. I'm not getting any younger, what are we doing?" she recalled.

Meanwhile, hoping to pop the question along the Grand Canyon at sunset, Al said he spent the better part of a year planning the proposal in hopes of getting it just right.

On New Year's Day, 1994, the TODAY anchor made dinner reservations at El Tovar, a restaurant located on the South Rim. According to Al, it was 17 degrees outside when he asked Roberts to come outside with him after dinner.

She told him no. But he convinced her to come anyway. Once outside, he dropped to one knee and asked if she'd marry him.

“I thought if she said no, only one of us was coming back,” Al joked on TODAY in 2020. “She thought I was gonna break up with her. I said ‘No.’ I had the ring out, I was on my knee babbling about something. It was a word salad.”

Al and Deborah tie the knot in 1995

On September 16, 1995, Al and Deborah made it official and tied the knot at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in New York City.

Included among the guests were former TODAY co-host Katie Couric, as well as Barbara Walters, who Roberts fondly recently remembered in an Instagram post honoring the late broadcaster.

"I will never forget how gracious (Walters) was with my starry eyed mom and dad. Daddy couldn’t stop grinning and even planted a kiss on her cheek. Barbara smiled and began asking them about their lives, in her classic way, putting them at ease."

Reminiscing on the special day during the 3rd hour of TODAY in September of 2020, Al said he was "sweating like crazy" at the wedding, but that it was "a great time" and a "good party."

“Deborah had a great time (at the wedding),” he said. “In fact, she didn’t eat anything. The next year for our first anniversary I had our dinner re-created, because she never ate it.” 

For their honeymoon, the newlyweds traveled to Provence, France.

Al and Debra welcome a daughter

On Nov. 17, 1998, Al and Deborah had their first child together: Leila Ruth. Already a dad to Courtney, Al's daughter from a previous marriage (born May 14, 1987), Roker told that his second daughter, Leila, "has a wicked sense of humor," and is also a "hard worker and a loyal friend."

In 2021, Deborah reflected on her firstborn daughter in a heartwarming birthday post on Instagram, writing: "The girl who came into the world with a curious face, a bold spirit and a bright smile. The girl who didn’t hesitate to make herself present and to share her mind! Leila, you were the greatest gift I could’ve imagined 23 years ago. Happy birthday my Lovely first born! What a light you are in this world."

Al and Debra become parents once again with the birth of their son, Nick

Not quite four years after having Leila, Al and Deborah became parents again when son Nicholas Albert was born on July 18, 2002.

During an appearance on the 3rd hour of TODAY in 2019, Al opened up about his relationship with his son, saying that Nick has special needs and falls on the autism spectrum.

Despite not having an official diagnosis, Al said that his son has overcome many challenges. When speaking to, the proud dad described Nick as "somebody who never lets obstacles get in his way.”

Of her son, Nick, Deborah posted a loving tribute on Instagram in 2023, writing: "In the world of sons, I hit the jackpot! How blessed are we to have witnessed joy, kindness, gentleness and warmth rolled into one kid? Love you Nick."

Al and Debra celebrate their silver anniversary

Time flies! On Sept. 16, 2020, the long-time couple toasted to 25 years of marriage.

Roberts commemorated the occasion with a heartfelt post on Instagram, writing, "It couldn’t possibly have been 25 years ago. Could it?? 25 years of love, laughter, peaks, valleys, discovery, bewilderment , bliss, struggle and all that this journey offers.

"But through it all we’ve tried to remember those beautiful and profound words spoken at our wedding. 'Love is patient, love is kind ... it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.'"

As for Al, he also posted a loving tribute to his wife, writing, "A #happy25thanniversary to @debrobertsabc who helps me a better #father #brother #person and challenges me to do better each and every day. #thankyou and #iloveyou."

Al is diagnosed with prostate cancer

On Nov. 6, 2020, Al announced on TODAY that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier in the fall and required surgery to treat the disease.

“It’s a good news-bad news kind of thing,” Al said on TODAY. “Good news is we caught it early. Not great news is that it’s a little aggressive, so I’m going to be taking some time off to take care of this.”

Of her husband's cancer diagnosis, Roberts said to People, "My heart just sank to my toes. I love this man."

On Nov. 9, 2020, he successfully underwent surgery, and the pathology report found no evidence of the cancer spreading beyond his prostate.

“It was this great relief,” Al said on TODAY. “For a first start, this is terrific news. I’m going to be up for — and a lot of people who live with cancer — up for lifelong testing to make sure this doesn’t come back.”

Leila Roker graduates from college

After four years of attending The American University of Paris in France, Al and Deborah's daughter graduated from the university in May of 2021 with a major in journalism and minor in fine arts.

“So incredibly proud of @aupinstagram #classof2021 #graduate @cleilapatra Four years that tested and made you an amazing adult,” Al wrote of his daughter on Instagram.

Courtney Roker marries Wesley Laga

Al's eldest daughter announced her engagement to drama teacher and actor, Wesley Laga, in April of 2021, before officially tying the knot on June 4, 2021.

A trained chef and recipe developer for the kitchen appliance company Chefman, Courtney wrote of the wedding, "Last night was beyond anything I could ever imagine. I celebrated my love for my husband, and felt the love from everyone. My heart is filled with happiness and filled with joy."

Al shared an Instagram post of his own, writing of the event, “A perfect magical evening being there for the marriage of my first princess."

Al and Deborah become empty-nesters

In August of 2022, Al and Deborah became empty-nesters after dropping their youngest, Nick, off at college.

Of the bittersweet moment, Al wrote on Instagram, "I guess this is happening. Taking the last one to college. So proud of one @nickroker155."

Deborah also posted about their youngest, writing, "After all the hard work. All the discipline. All the dreaming. All the prayers. His moment to soar has come. I'm not crying. I promise. Pride doesn't even begin to describe this day Nick Roker. The journey continues."

Their son briefly returns home from time to time when he has breaks throughout the school year. Nick spent five weeks with his parents during the holiday break before heading back to campus in January 2024.

Al and Deborah playfully celebrated having the house to themselves again in an Instagram reel.

The TODAY weatherman uploaded a clip of them singing, "It’s the most wonderful time of the year."

"Just dropped Nick off. We’re going to miss him. But like my dad always said, ‘Can’t miss you if you don’t leave,'" Al joked.

He wrote in the caption that the couple would join Nick on campus in three weeks for "#parentsweekend."

The couple overcomes another health scare for Al

Along with being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2020, Al has undergone quite a few other procedures throughout the years, including rotator cuff surgery in 2014, knee replacement surgery in 2016 (and again in 2023), a hip replacement in 2019 and shoulder replacement in 2020.

In 2022, however, he, Deborah and their family faced one of their biggest hurdles when Al suffered from a series of blood clots in his leg and lungs, as well as internal bleeding that left the TODAY anchor fighting for his life.

The family was very worried that they "were going to lose him," Deborah recalls during an interview with Maria Shriver.

"I lost half my blood. They were trying to figure out where it was," Al said of the medical team that treated him at the NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center upon returning to TODAY after recovering from the traumatic medical event.

“Thank God for Deborah,” he said, reflecting on the difficult time. “She basically shielded me from a lot of this. I had no idea how sick I was. I am a living example of ignorance is bliss. ... I was able to put all my energy into just recuperating because I didn’t know how bad off I was.”

Al and Deborah become first-time grandparents

After announcing they were expecting a bundle of joy in March of 2023, Al's daughter, Courtney, and husband, Wes, welcomed a baby girl on July 3, officially making the couple first-time grandparents.

Named Sky Clara Laga, Al told that he hopes when his granddaughter is old enough, she'll call him "Pop-Pop," the same nickname his beloved late father once held.

“My dad was Pop-Pop to all of his grandchildren, so I want to keep the tradition going. The little one may have other ideas, but that’s the one I’m pushing,” he said.

Holding his new grandchild, Al posted on Instagram that he could "look in this face all day." In a separate post, Deborah welcomed Sky into the world saying, "What joy you have brought to our family."

Al celebrates his 69th birthday

On Aug. 20, 2023, Al celebrated his 69th birthday with a sweet birthday serenade from Grammy Award winner Jon Batiste. In an Instagram video, he explained why there's more to celebrate this year than ever.

“This is my 69th anniversary of orbiting the sun, and after everything I went through at the end of last year, I am more than grateful to be celebrating this birthday,” he wrote.

He also credited his long-time wife for "getting me out of the hospital."

In honor of her husband, Deborah posted, "“What a year. What a guy. So blessed to have you in our lives @alroker,” she wrote. “You brighten every space you enter. Happy birthday to my dearest.”

Al reflects on he and Deborah's enduring relationship

Reflecting on their decades-long relationship, Al told that he and Deborah share many values, including their children and their faith.

"Deborah was raised Baptist. I was raised Catholic, and now Episcopalian, but we both share the same core faith values," he said.

Of their respective media careers, Al said that rather than implementing an embargo of sorts where they don't talk about work, they do just the opposite.

"I think we help each other dissect and analyze what's going on in each other's workplace, because we have come to it from different vantage points," he said.

"I find it's been very helpful. And in any number of times where I've had some conundrum or issue, Deborah's given me really good advice."

When asked how his wife of nearly 30 years would describe him, Al told, "I would say, caring, loving...and annoying."

Al Roker and Deborah Roberts Relationship
Courtney Roker Lage, Deborah Roberts, Al, Leila and Nick Roker.Bruce Glikas / FilmMagic