First reality show romance still sizzles 60 years later

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Even after 60 years of marriage, Gene and Helen Edwards can't keep their hands off each other.

"We embrace, we kiss all the time," Gene said the two make a point to embrace at least a dozen times through the day.

"I try to find a way to tell her how much I love her, and it comes right out of my heart how beautiful she is," Gene said.

The two are literally inseparable. They spent the entire hour long interview sitting hip to hip on a full sized couch, never letting go of each other's hands.

Their love story began in 1950. Gene was a 17-year-old Baptist minister in Texas, and Helen was the church secretary, only 19-years-old herself.

"I came into my office and there was a vase of roses on my desk with a note that said, 'Hey kid, I think you're cute.'"The first day Gene saw her, Helen says he left her a gift.

After four years of dating, the two decided to get married, but were disagreeing about wedding plans.

"We had a pretty big fight," Helen remembers. "But we slept on it and had forgiven each other, and then a telegram had come in at my parents' house."

The telegram was from NBC-TV in New York.

They wanted to televise Helen and Gene's wedding nationally.

They agreed, and in 1954 NBC broadcast the show "Bride and Groom" to 10 million people across the country.

"It was an amazing experience," Gene said. "At the end of the ceremony a crew came in and started removing all the facades and they said, 'You've got two minutes to get out of here Howdy Doody is coming in."

Now, after 60 years of marriage, they've proven that reality TV romances can work.

"At least one of them has worked," Gene laughed. "That's for sure."

They both have dozens of tips and pieces of advice for young couples, the greatest, Gene says is being willing to do whatever it takes to make the marriage work.

"Any marriage can be saved, and I mean any," he said. "This has been the hardest thing I'll have to do as long as I live on this Earth, but it has been worth every moment."

"You have to pursue your wife everyday," he says he makes sure to make Helen feel needed and loved at all times.

He still writes her poetry, they even sing together.

They say of all 60 years, these last 10 have been the best so far.

"All the sugar is at the bottom of the cup," Gene said. "There are the best years, the most beautiful."


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