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The funny story of how Adam Sandler and ‘The Wedding Singer’ helped me find love

On the 25th anniversary of the iconic rom-com, I can’t help but think about how pivotal the hilarious celeb has been in my own love story. 
The Wedding Singer
When I saw "The Wedding Singer" in high school, I realized I wanted what Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore's characters had. Alamy

I’ve only written two real love letters in my life. One was the poem I read to my husband at our wedding. The other was to Adam Sandler when I was 10 years old.

It all began when I sent Adam a letter in 1991. I knew my mom’s best friend worked on the “Saturday Night Live” set, so I gave her a letter to give to him that professed my love, but also (jokingly!) said he better respond or else I’d come to the studio and find him. (I was a quirky kid, and now as an adult, I would never send a letter like that.)

Weeks later, my mom presented a thin, brown envelope addressed to me. Inside, I found Adam’s glossy 8-by-10 headshot inside. Scribbled across the front of his beautiful face, in black Sharpie, it read: “Dear Blake, please don’t hurt me. Love Adam.”

It became my greatest possession from that day forth. 

The signed portrait that started it all.
The signed portrait that started it all.Courtesy Blake Turck

When “The Wedding Singer” came out in 1998, I was dating my high school boyfriend. It was an intense relationship — the kind that only exists without the presence of maturity and age. But the now classic rom-com unexpectedly brought my young relationship into focus, and impacted my life in quiet but monumental ways. 

“The Wedding Singer” — which turns 25 this week — showed me what being with a soulmate really looked like and was a catalyst for the eventual realization that my young relationship didn’t resemble that scenario. I was in love — but that best-friend connection, that can’t-live-without-each-other feeling that Robbie (Adam Sandler) and Julia (Drew Barrymore) had was starkly missing.

'The Wedding Singer' — which turns 25 this week — showed me what being with a soulmate really looked like.

I resigned myself to the belief that this kind of kinship only happened in the movies — even as a small part of me held onto the possibility it was out there, somewhere.

Over the years, I made many (unsuccessful) attempts to meet Adam, from visiting movie sets he was on to traveling across the country to see him perform and then waiting backstage. I can’t completely explain the steadied emotion that has resided within me almost my entire life when it comes to Adam Sandler. 

My love for Adam Sandler has been steady for years.
My love for Adam Sandler has been steady for years.Courtesy Blake Turck

This March, the actor will receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor and his dramatic work over the last few years has catapulted him into a new film arena. Seeing Adam mature is helping me embrace a level of adulthood in my own life, too. 

The act of adoring him has also sometimes felt like a way to connect to my mom, who passed away from cancer in 2010. 

One of my greatest memories is when she took me to see Adam’s “They’re all Gonna Laugh at You!” tour at Radio City Music Hall. Adam was in the early stages of his career in 1996 — at the time more known for raunchy CDs and immature characters. There were explicit sex and drug references and the show commenced with a ceiling-tall inflatable penguin walking on stage smoking an equally massive joint. 

Adam Sandler in "You Don't Mess with the Zohan." And me, of course.
Adam Sandler in "You Don't Mess with the Zohan." And me, of course.Courtesy Blake Turck

My mom knew it was mildly inappropriate, but always placated me when it came to Adam, even when I plastered his pictures and articles all over my nicely painted walls until you could barely see the walls at all. I had a library of VHS tapes where I recorded every TV or event appearance he made. I bought a “Happy Gilmore” clock and pillowcase on eBay. 

When Ariel Levy wrote a New York Magazine piece in 1999 about how, for some women, Sandler is a “Jewish love god,” I was jealous because it meant that other women enjoyed him as much as I did. I always wanted to be the only one. However, I took solace in knowing no one else had that special, personalized photo on their nightstand. 

Occasionally, life does give you what you need. I eventually found my person on — my sole date on the site, just before app dating took over. But I’m convinced I wouldn’t have been fully open to him had it not been for Adam — who showed me all those years ago in “The Wedding Singer” what I really deserved from a partner.  

He had a gentle nature — like all of Adam's early characters at heart — and it was something I hadn’t experienced before. The love I’d seen portrayed on screen in “The Wedding Singer” had actualized in my life, years later. He was kind but capable of sass. He swept me off my feet, but also kept me in check. He even resembled Adam at times, with his demeanor and goofy humor. More than that, he provided loyalty and support — a part of what the actor had always symbolized to me. 

Once reality turned romantic, my pretend relationship with Adam suffered. A lifetime of subtly following his movements waned. He became like that stuffed animal that one day suddenly stops accompanying you everywhere. I still loved him; I just didn’t need him. 

But regardless, my feelings for Adam Sandler always quietly lingered — and he popped up at monumental moments. At my wedding, my best friend surprised us by singing “I Wanna Grow Old with You,” the song Adam famously sings to Drew Barrymore at the end of “The Wedding Singer.” 

Later that same year, a long-shelved desire unexpectedly hit its pinnacle. We were watching his show at a theater that has a small in-the-round setup. As Adam left the stage, my husband yelled out to him, “My wife’s in love with you!”  

Adam looked up, smiled at me, and we shook hands. After three decades, our moment had finally happened — all because of my husband. I realized that was the real love story. He’d finally made my dream come true, after years of supporting my obsession and gifting me earrings and T-shirts with Adam’s face on them. But in a weird way, I could argue that Adam, and “The Wedding Singer,” had also inadvertently led me to find my husband, too.