These days, you can click on a heart icon to express how much you love a photo of a man. Back when Live! with Kelly host Kelly Ripa was on All My Children, there was no other option but to marry the guy!
Okay, maybe not exactly. But the actress, who played Hayley Vaughan on the ABC soap opera for 12 years, admits that marriage did cross her mind when she first laid eyes on a photograph of the then-unknown actor Mark Consuelos. The Spanish-American performer was one of hundreds auditioning for the role of Mateo Santos -- and Ripa immediately knew he was not only the one for the part, but also the one for her heart.
"They had been looking for this character for some time. They were looking really for a Latino actor, not an actor that was like -- they didn't want like a dark-haired guy. They wanted a Latino actor," Ripa recalls during a SiriusXM show Lunch with Bruce. "And so, I had auditioned every Latino actor in the city and around the city and then California. And then, all of a sudden, Judy Blye Wilson, who was the casting director at All My Children, said, 'I found him.'"
Ripa continues: "[Judy] showed me his picture, and, Bruce, I'm not this person. At that point, I was not a hopeless romantic. I never thought about getting married. It never occurred to me that I would grow old with someone. I just thought I would be living my single girl life in the city and sort of like moving. You know, if I needed to up and move to a location, I could do that. I had no responsibilities, and I was earning a good living on this soap opera because I was there for almost seven years before Mark got there. ... I was a baby when I got the job."
When Ripa caught a glimpse at Consuelos' photograph, however, her entire outlook on love changed.
"When I saw him, the photograph of him, I saw my entire future with him flash before [my eyes] -- like I saw it," Ripa says. "And I don't believe in any of that, and now I do because of that moment."
Funny enough, Consuelos has a slightly different story about the couple's meeting.
"I thought she was adorable, hot and sexy and all that stuff, but I was very focused [on my budding career]," he tells HuffPost Live. "I didn't really think I had a chance with her, so I wasn't really focused on that."
There's no denying true love, however, and it wasn't long before Ripa and Consuelos were dating, which led to their marriage in 1996. And now, two decades later, the couple shares three children -- sons Michael, 21, and Joaquin, 15, and daughter Lola, 17.
Despite the many years they've been together, Ripa shares that her hubby always makes their dates feel like they're newly together rather than as if they're "old hat."
"Every date with Mark is like a first date in your sophomore year of high school. Every date," Ripa shares on her new Facebook Live series, Heads and Faces, which follows her and her best friend Rachel Harris' bicoastal video chats in weekly episodes posted every Monday. "Like, every date he's like, 'Is this okay? Is this okay? Is this okay? Can I touch you here? Can I touch you there?'"
She explains that his hesitancy stems mostly from the fact that she puts a lot of effort into looking great for evenings out, which includes a few "fake out" beauty accoutrements from time to time.
"He's never sure what's glued in, what's clipped in, what's actually a part of my body, and what's maybe just temporarily a part of my body," she quips. "When he undresses me, he's the one that coined the phrase 'I'm a human pi˝ata.' Because at the end of the night -- and I don't want to brag, but after a night with me -- it's like party favors all over the floor.... There's false eyelashes, there's hair extensions, there's chicken cutlets, those are on the floor. You name it: anything that I try to look like a female in person!"
After Consuelos left AMC in 2002, he went on to star in shows like American Horror Story, Alpha House, Pitch, Queen of the South, The Night Shift, and his most current series, Riverdale.
Ripa also left AMC in 2002 and has spent most of her time since then hosting her morning talk show. However, she has also made time to star in other shows like Famous in Love and American Housewife, the latter of which you can read more about here.
What do you think about Ripa and Consuelos' memories of meeting each other? Do you believe in love at first sight? Why or why not? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.