Jeopardy may not stir up feelings of romance in most people, but for one brainy duo, that's exactly what happened. Maryanne Lewell and Michael Townes met each other, as fate would have it, as contestants on the game show back in 2013. It was the annual Jeopardy Teacher's Tournament, and while they weren't in the same taping, the teachers did end up meeting when all of the contestants went out for drinks.
The New York Times caught up with the (now-married!) couple to discuss how their love blossomed. "If Maryanne were part of a Jeopardy category, it would have to be 'Nerdy Redheads,'" Townes told the Times. "Much like myself, she was into a lot of nerdy sort of pursuits."
As for Lewell, a Canadian history and social studies teacher in New Brunswick, it wasn't exactly love at first sight. After all, she came all the way to Culver City, California to win, not find a partner! "I was there to play the game," Lewell said. "When you're in a group like that, it's really overwhelming because there's a lot of information coming at you...I was busy trying to take in all that information in order to play the game properly."
And while Lewell did advance to the semifinals, it didn't end up stopping her from falling for Townes, a middle school English teacher living in South Carolina. "He was such an easygoing and kind person," she admitted. "I felt very comfortable around him."
After taping for the show ended, Lewell and Townes parted ways—one north and one south. But thanks to the power of social media, many contestants began to chat on Facebook, Lewell and Townes included. Their friendship grew as they shared similar interests and hobbies, and one day Townes finally got the courage to admit what they had both been thinking. He texted Lewell saying, "At the risk of what seems like a fairly strong friendship here, I really just have to say, I hope it's not too weird, but if we lived in the same city, there's really no way I wouldn't have asked you out by now."
The two eventually met up in Canada and fell deeply in love. They wed on July 7 at St. Andrew's Catholic Church in New Brunswick. "It has been one of the greatest gifts of my life," Lewell told the Times.
Even Alex Trebek voiced his congratulations to the happy couple via email. He wrote, "My congratulations to the couple. 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. Even though neither won the competition, they certainly are 'Winners in Love.'"
We can't with this cuteness!