After 22 years of marriage, Kelly Ripa can't live without her husband, Mark Consuelos. "I miss him already," she once shared on social media when he was traveling for work, confessing that she'd already moved to his side of the bed to comfort herself. "If two people were ever supposed to be together," she previously gushed to Soap Opera Digest, "I'd say it was us."
That's why it surprised everyone when the Live With Kelly and Ryan co-host admitted in a recent podcast that she dumped Mark — who was playing her love interest on All My Children at the time — a year after they started dating in 1995. "They were both only about 25 and they fell in love so quickly. They just didn't trust it," an insider exclusively told Closer Weekly (in the magazine's new issue, on newsstands now!) of the shocking split. "Kelly just had to be sure she wasn't making a mistake by moving too quickly."
As fate would have it, a joint appearance on Live With Regis and Kathie Lee soon brought them back together. "It was their Mother's Day special," Kelly, 47, revealed on Betches' Comments by Celebs podcast. "And one of the mother's dreams was to meet Mark and me because we were her favorite characters on All My Children."
Their sweet reunion on the show clearly ignited their attraction to one another and a week later, over pizza and wine at Mark's apartment, "Mark just said, 'Let's go to Vegas,'" Kelly previously shared on her morning show, and the two eloped and secretly got married on May 1, 1996.
Their first year of marriage was tough ("We fought constantly," Kelly admitted to Redbook), but the two figured things out. "We looked at each other one day and said, 'We're in this for the long haul, so let's make it fun,'" she shared of surviving their rough patch. The couple are now proud parents to Michael, 21, Lola, 17, and Joaquin, 15, and "their kids are all healthy and well-adjusted," the insider revealed. "They both keep family their top priority."
Though Mark's projects, like his role on The CW's Riverdale, often take him out of town, the two strive to stay connected. "His absences do put stress on the relationship, but they FaceTime and text each other a thousand times a day." the insider noted. "They never take each other for granted."
"That's what you want in life, to have a good companion, somebody that loves you, that listens to you, and is your equal," Kelly told AOL. Regular date nights help keep the romance alive, too. "We carve out time for ourselves," Kelly once told Good Housekeeping. "It gives us something to look forward to, a night where we're not saying, 'Put that down! Stop touching her! Don't spill that!' It can be that simple, just the two of us, for dinner and high jinks."
She doesn't shy away from raving about their love life, either. "Lots of sex" is key, she revealed to Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live!. "We try to do spicy things together all the time."
Their enduring passion, however, doesn't exactly thrill the rest of their household. "Kelly and Mark love posting sexy pics on Instagram, and that sometimes makes their kids roll their eyes. But Kelly and Mark don't care," the insider said with a laugh. After all, the couple who rolled the dice and eloped in Vegas are just proud that they've beaten all the odds. "We're very lucky that we found each other," Kelly told AOL.
For more on Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelols, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now — and be sure to sign up for our newsletter for more exclusive news!