They looked like newlyweds. On March 25, Mark Consuelos shared Instagram photos of Kelly Ripa at the beach in a string bikini, writing, “Sultry Sundays with the sexy one are my fave.” The Live! With Kelly and Ryan host returned the compliment with some steamy posts of her own, captioning a shirtless shot of the Riverdale star in the water “coming up for air.”
As they approach their 22nd wedding anniversary on May 1, Kelly and Mark’s marriage is as sexy — and strong — as ever. Though the parents-of-three have, like most couples, had their share of fights and issues over the last two decades, they’ve also embraced a sense of fun that’s kept their romance humming since they got hitched at age 25. Mark “is the person I was meant to be with forever,” Kelly raves. “We really do have quite an allegiance to one another. No matter what, we support each other in everything we do.”
So what’s their secret? After pal Andy Cohen suggested on a 2016 episode of Watch What Happens Live! that the couple has an active sex life, Mark agreed, “We keep it going! I’m bananas over my wife.” A friend of the duo also told Life & Style, “Kelly firmly believes that a good sex life is key. They go on lots of dates, just the two of them, and occasionally sneak off to a hotel just to change up the scenario. Kelly still wants Mark to feel he has a wife who cares about how he sees her. She wears something sexy to bed, even if all that’s going on that night is a little pillow talk before falling asleep.”
Things haven’t always been so good. The duo had a whirlwind beginning: Mark says he fell for Kelly “instantly” when he auditioned to play her love interest on the daytime soap All My Children in 1995, and they eloped in Las Vegas the day after he proposed over pizza and wine. They fought a lot early in their marriage, Kelly’s admitted. But she says she learned from it.
“Don’t be a bottler; you’ll explode,” she notes. “If something bothers me, I just say it, no harm, no foul. So much of marriage is ego-based — who’s right, who wins the argument. Mark and I don’t really have that.” Neither one likes drama. “They talk things out,” explains the friend, “and don’t let things fester.” That’s helped Kelly cope with potentially jealousy-inducing behavior. “Kelly’s always had to deal with Mark’s fans being flirtatious,” notes an insider. “But as time has gone on, she’s developed the confidence to know that at the end of the day, Mark comes home to her and her alone.”
Sometimes their busy schedules keep them apart for weeks or months on end. But they’ve even learned to work around that. “If Mark is away working in LA, Kelly will pack her bags and take off for the West Coast to be with him on weekends,” says the friend, “even if it means just a day together before she has to be back on the Live set in NYC.” After all this time, the spark and the respect are still there. “They have each other’s backs,” says the insider. “They put full confidence in their love for one another.”