Typically, contestants go on Jeopardy for a few reasons: to show their smarts, compete for cash, and make it on the small screen. Two guests, however, got something else entirely—they found their future spouses! Maryanne Lewell and Michael Townes just got married thanks to the game show. The pair met on the set of a 2013 episode, and are sharing their story now.
A few years ago, Lewell and Townes were invited to compete in Jeopardy's annual Teachers Tournament. Lewell, a high-school history instructor, and Townes, a middle-school English instructor, met each other in the green room. According to the New York Times, the couple instantly hit it off, and continued the conversation at drinks after the first day of filming. "She was so sweet and smart and easy to talk to," Townes shared. "Mike was just a fun person to be with," Lewell added. "I find a sense of humor to be pretty attractive."
While neither teacher won the tournament, they did win a chance at romance. The pair kept in contact after leaving the show, despite being miles apart. Lewell lived in Canada, while Townes resided in South Carolina, but the distance proved not to matter. "She was always on my mind," Townes recalled. "Most of the things I texted her about were really just excuses to talk to her again." It didn't bother his crush, though. "When you really connect with somebody, there's an intangible thing where you almost instantly start to share and speak the same language," she said. "You understand what the other person means, and we had that right from the get-go," she admitted.
Finally, Townes expressed his feelings, and the pair dated long-distance. Now, years later, the couple's officially married, all thanks to the chance meeting on TV! Of course, Alex Trebek was invited to the wedding, but unfortunately couldn't attend. He did send the pair well wishes, though, and his message was super sweet. "My congratulations to the couple," he wrote in an email. "Although Maryanne and Michael are not the first couple to have met at Jeopardy and gone on to be married, they participated in one of our best Teachers Tournaments," he said. "Even though neither won the competition, they certainly are 'Winners in Love.'"
Read the full love story over at the New York Times, and prepare to feel your heart swell.