On Dec. 22, Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten and her husband, Jeffrey Garten, will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. While making it to such a milestone is a huge feat, it is particularly rare in Hollywood, but Ina and Jeffrey make it work. How? Well, with love, patience and a great sense of humor. Before the fame and fortune, Ina and Jeffrey shared a sweet relationship that started with a photograph and letter.
According to People, Ina and Jeffrey met in 1963, while she was visiting her brother at Dartmouth College. “He [Jeffrey] saw me on the street and then sent me a letter with a photograph of himself in it,” Ina explained — and she was immediately enamored. “I just remember running through the house and going, ‘Mom, Mom, you’ve got to see this picture of this guy. He’s so cute!’”
But that wasn’t Jeffrey’s only letter to Ina. In fact, he would write to his girlfriend and, later, his wife many times over the years, such as when he was deployed to Thailand shortly after they were married. “I wrote to Ina every single day,” Jeffrey told People. “During the whole year I was only able to call her once.”
When Jeffrey’s job relocated him to Japan, he turned to the written word again. “For a couple of years we commuted between Tokyo and the Hamptons,” Jeffrey said, but letters helped keep them connected.
“He used to write me notes all day, and he would fax them to me at night so when I woke up in the morning, I had them,” Ina explained.
Today, these love notes remain a cornerstone of their relationship. “When we’re not together, I’ll send her five or six texts per day,” Jeffrey told People.
Of course, these messages seem like a simple, obvious gesture — after all, communication is key. However, they are a particularly integral part of Ina and Jeffrey’s relationship, and one the pair doesn’t plan to give up any time soon.
As for what comes next, Ina is slated to release a new cookbook, Cook Like a Pro, on Tuesday and Jeffrey is continuing to teach at the Yale School of Management, but it seems that what they do doesn’t matter as much as who they do it with. “We’re like two vines that grew and wrapped themselves around one another,” Jeffrey told People. Intertwined, but never separated. And if that isn’t love, we don’t know what is.