Al Roker has been a weather anchor for nearly 50 years. But did you know that the NBC TV personality has an equally famous wife? Meet Deborah Roberts, the ABC News journalist, mother to two of Roker’s children, and the famous weatherman’s “rock.”
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Al Roker Has Been a Nationally Lauded Weatherman for Nearly 50 Years
Al Roker was born on August 20, 1954, in Queens, New York. He graduated with a B.A. in communications from the State University of New York (SUNY) Oswego in 1976. He made his TV weatherman debut during the last two years of college, with CBS affiliate WHEN-TV. Roker spent two years as a weathercaster for independent TV stations and was hired on by NBC in 1978.
After working for NBC affiliates, beginning in Cleveland and then in New York City, Roker began working for national NBC shows. He worked for NBC News at Sunrise and then Today Show, and also hosted his own program, The Al Roker Show. He currently runs his own production company, Al Roker Entertainment and continues to report on weather for NBC’s Today. Roker is the co-host of parenting lifestyle program 3rd Hour of Today. He has won 14 Emmy Awards for his work on TV to-date. Roker is also an award-winning author, philanthropist, and all-around beloved media personality, and has made dozens of cameo appearances in film and TV over the years.
Roker Has Been Married Three Times
Incredibly, Al Roker has three famous relatives: Roxie Roker, Lenny Kravitz, and Zoë Kravitz. He also was once married and divorced to a woman whose name has been kept anonymous. The dates are unknown. In 1984, Roker married again, to WNBC producer Alice Bell. They adopted a daughter named Courtney in 1987 but later divorced. He met Deborah Roberts, the future love of his life, in 1990, but it would take time before they fell in love.
Deborah Roberts Is a Critically Acclaimed News Journalist
Deborah Roberts was born on September 20, 1960, in Perry, Georgia. In 1982, she graduated from Georgia University’s Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication with a Bachelor of Journalism degree. Like Al Roker, Deborah Roberts found immediate work in her field. Her journalism career launched in 1982 with local TV stations, beginning in Georgia and then in Tennessee. From 1987 to 1990, Roberts was a co-anchor and NASA field reporter for Orlando station WFTV.
Deborah Roberts Is Famously Known for ABC’s 20/20
Roberts’ first major network gig came in 1990 when she was hired by NBC News. She started as a general-assignment reporter and then became a Dateline NBC correspondent. In 1995, she moved to ABC and has remained with the network ever since. Roberts became a household name as a 20/20 correspondent. She’s since anchored Good Morning America, World News Tonight Weekend, guest starred on The View, and appeared on prolific shows like Nightline and Primetime, and Lifetime’s Lifeline Live.
Roberts has won an Emmy Award and a Clarion Award for her reporting. She co-authored Been There, Done That: Family Wisdom for Modern Times with her husband Al Roker, published in 2016.
Deborah Roberts Met Al Roker on the Set of NBC Today
Al Roker and Deborah Roberts first met in 1990 on the set of NBC’s Today. Roker had been there for 7 years and Roberts was a new hire with the network.
“Al was so sweet,” Roberts later recalled to People. “He showed me pictures of his daughter and talked about his family… I just thought he was a nice guy, and that was that.”
Roberts Friend-Zoned Roker at First
The two maintained a platonic friendship over time, keeping each other’s emails. Then they crossed paths again in 1992. Roberts was being bounced around the country for work, and as Roker remembers, she had a long line of “stud muffin” suitors.
Roker didn’t think he was Roberts’ type, nor did she.
“He was a nice guy but kind of annoying, overly chatty. I just didn’t think of him beyond a friend,” she told People.
Stuck in the heartbreaking hell of “Friend Zone,” Roker finally switched fate’s trajectory while housesitting for Roberts. She was covering the 1992 Olympics and he was staying in her barely used NYC apartment.
Roker Got Past the Friend Zone After Stocking Roberts’ Fridge With Groceries and Leaving Her Flowers
“I had to snoop around, so I was in the kitchen, and I open up the fridge, and there’s nothing,” Roker told The Kelly Clarkson Show in 2021. “There’s nothing in the fridge, like some old cheese, a bottle of Grey Poupon mustard, that’s about it… I open up the oven expecting to see a mess. It was a new oven I guess when she had moved in. The cardboard was still on the oven grates. I thought, ‘This woman’s never used this oven. What? This is insane.'”
So, he restocked her food and left her flowers on her table along with a note.
“Welcome home,” Roker remembered, “And then I got my first date with her a week later.”
Roberts Became Impatient and Wanted Roker to Propose
Despite the awkward start and Deborah Roberts initially being slow to warm up to Roker, she was eager to marry him by December of 1993. Roker told People that his girlfriend became “annoyed” when the holidays didn’t come with a wedding proposal.
“We had a chat,” Roker recalled, adding that he promised to propose “before Groundhog Day.” He popped the question days later, on New Year’s Day. They were on a road trip through Arizona and stopped by the Grand Canyon.
“I thought, what a great place,” said Roker. “On the rim of the Grand Canyon. And if she says, ‘No,’ one of us isn’t coming back. She thought I was gonna break up with her. I said ‘No,’ I had the ring out, I was on my knee babbling about something. It was a word salad.”
They Have Two Biological Children Together
Al Roker married Deborah Roberts in 1995 at Saint Thomas Church in New York City. In 1998, they welcomed their daughter, Leila. Her brother Nick was born in 2002.
Roker and Roberts later told Today in 2016 that motherhood came with some career sacrifices. Roberts was offered a dream job on ABC’s Good Morning America but couldn’t do it as she was still breastfeeding.
“Deborah decided to step back,” Roker told Today. “Her career suffered some for it. You always feel guilty about that.” Roberts praised her husband for listening to her and feeling her pain with her. She later told People that there was something deeply important about seeing her family as a unit and working towards that over all else.
“I love this man; I love us… I love us and I’m determined to cheer us and to be there for us and to make us work and to make us a priority,” she told People. They’d just celebrated their 25th Anniversary. Their children were grown up by then. And they’d weathered more than one storm.
Roberts Supported Roker Through His Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment
In 2020, Al was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer. The good news was that they’d caught it early enough for it to not be immediately fatal.
“My heart just sank to my toes because it never even occurred to me that there was anything serious,” Roberts told People. “When he said, ‘It’s cancer,’ I just lost it.” The couple told their children about the news over a Zoom phone call. Then Roberts started accompanying her husband to every single doctor’s appointment.
“It was very emotional for me,” Roberts recalled. “What if he is not going to be here with me much longer? You really let your mind go there, you cherish, and you clutch, and you hold on.”
It was that true companionship that may have pulled Al Roker through.
“When somebody you love happens also to be your best advocate, that’s just a bonus,” he told People. “So that helps you a lot to get through. That can make all the difference… She’s been a real rock.”
Roker received surgery in November 2020. By January, his cancer levels were nearly undetectable. Roker said he’ll need to get blood work every 6 months for years post-op. But he’d defeated the undefeatable, thanks to the love and companionship of his adoring wife, Deborah Roberts.