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Al Roker reveals kind act that won him his first date with Deborah Roberts

Deborah's sparse kitchen provided an opening for Al to lay the groundwork for what has become a 25-year marriage.
/ Source: TODAY

A simple gesture by Al Roker before he started dating wife Deborah Roberts ended up laying the groundwork for a 25-year marriage.

Al shared how he and Roberts eventually became more than just friends back in 1992 during a recent appearance on "The Kelly Clarkson Show."

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Roberts, who is now a reporter for ABC News, was away covering the Barcelona Olympics for NBC at the time. Al said they were in the "friend zone" during that period, and Roberts had asked him to keep an eye on her apartment while she was gone.

"And I had to snoop around," Al told Clarkson. "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.

"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.'"

The untouched kitchen must have been especially galling for Al, whose love for cooking is well documented. He decided to spruce the place up for Roberts' return.

"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,''' he said. "And then I got my first date with her a week later."

"That was smooth," Clarkson said.

It marked the beginning of a decadeslong romance, which included the moment they got engaged during a trip to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon at sunset.

"I thought if she said no, only one of us was coming back," Al joked on TODAY last year. "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."

The couple celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in September 2020. They have raised daughter Leila and son Nick as well as Al's daughter Courtney with ex-wife Alice Bell. Courtney is now getting ready to tie the knot herself after getting engaged to boyfriend Wesley Laga last April.

"But through it all we’ve tried to remember those beautiful and profound words spoken at our wedding," Roberts wrote on Instagram for their anniversary. "Love is patient, love is bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things'. Today I celebrate all that love has allowed. Happy Anniversary my sweet, kind, generous, hilarious and real soulmate."