Before their forthcoming wedding, Robin Roberts and Amber Laign discuss their 18-year love story

Phurden Lepcha
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The beginning of a new chapter that has been nearly two decades in the making will come when "Good Morning America" co-anchor Robin Roberts says "I do" to Amber Laign at their wedding next month.
The 18-year romance between Roberts and Laign began when their mutual acquaintances arranged for them to go on a blind date. 

Before their friends arranged for them to meet, Roberts and Laign both said they postponed multiple first dates with one another over the course of a year.

Laign described their ultimate first encounter, saying, "I remember just walking up and she's just beautiful, and she took my breath away, and she still does." "Our two friends, my friend Alex, and her friend Bert, finally said, 'Enough, you two are going to meet,'" Laign added. 
Roberts recalled that she had initially only intended to meet Laign for drinks, but that if things went well, she would kick him under the table to convince him to remain for dinner. 

I was kicking my pal Bert under the table within a few minutes of the date, Roberts recalled. Her friend was unable to stay when we asked if they would like to stay for dinner, but she did.

When they first met, in 2005, Roberts had just transitioned from ESPN to "GMA," where she shared an anchor desk with Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer.
Roberts' new position gave her and Laign a rare chance to spend every day together at the beginning of their relationship.

Sam [Champion] would be giving the weather report as Laign passed through Times Square, he recalled. Robin would stroll over to the windows and wave as Sam read the forecast, and we would clock it.

It just gave me a bit more vigour in my step, she continued. That took a while, but I don't know how we ultimately got the timing right. 

Roberts recalled eagerly anticipating the moment Laign would pass by and she could wave to him, adding, "I do remember looking forward to that time in the morning when she would walk by and I could just go, I'd just run [to the window]."

Overcoming personal loss and physical challenges together

Roberts' diagnosis with breast cancer in 2007 presented a challenge for Roberts and Laign as their relationship developed.

When I was given the news that I had breast cancer, we had been dating for less than two years, according to Roberts. "She could have ended the relationship sooner. Nobody would have been in her right. 
Rather, Laign remained by Roberts' side, supporting her as she recovered from procedures and therapies. Through it, Laign came to embody the moniker Roberts first given her: "Sweet Amber."

"People always ask me how I came to refer to her as "Sweet Amber," but it just kind of happened," Roberts remarked. "It's just the aura she gives out. She is incredibly compassionate. She's just so kind, and it just seems so sincere, you know? It's not an attempt to change who she is in any way.

Together, Roberts and Laign overcame additional health and personal challenges in the years to come. They endured the loss of Col. Lawrence Roberts, the destruction of Hurricane Katrina in Roberts' home state of Mississippi, and the passing of Roberts' mother Lucimarian Roberts in 2012.
Roberts received a myelodysplastic syndrome diagnosis soon after her mother passed away, and she needed to have a bone marrow transplant to save her life. As a result, she had to take nearly six months off from filming "GMA." 

The challenges they've experienced, according to Roberts, "can either tear you apart or bring you closer together, and thank the good Lord, it brought us closer together." "We work together. "We work together. We will make any effort necessary, and I believe that the illnesses we have experienced and are now experiencing have only strengthened us and improved our ability to be empathetic and sympathetic towards one another.

When Laign's father passed away in 2020, Roberts was there to support her. In 2022, when Laign was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent both surgery and chemotherapy, Roberts assumed the role of carer. 

We're lucky in our dual responsibilities as patients and carers, according to Laign. that was unfortunate that we had to go through that, but we were able to support one another in both positions.
Despite the ups and downs of their health problems and individual losses, Roberts acknowledged that their partnership "has not always been a bed of roses." She and Laign attended couples therapy, and according to Roberts, there were times when they had to "fight" not just to stay together but also to live.

"There was no paper present. There was no justification for us to remain, she remarked. "We had the option to leave at any time, but we chose not to."

A decision to say "I do"

Roberts and Laign's relationship, like so many others, was put to the test in 2020 during the COVID-19 epidemic. 

The epidemic, according to both women, was the longest uninterrupted "stretch of time" they had ever shared. Laign abruptly took over as Roberts' replacement producer after she stopped travelling for work and started appearing on "GMA" from their house's basement.

"It was like, OK, I'll get up when we heard she would be filming in the basement. I'll lend a hand. I'll do all it takes to speed up this entire process, Laign vowed. "I found it to be gruelling. I'm not a morning person, therefore it was amazing that I suddenly woke up at 4:45 in the morning. 

 The pair claimed that spending time together at home helped them become closer and made their long-distance marriage plans a reality.

Throughout the length of their relationship, Roberts and her partner had intermittent conversations about getting married, but for whatever reason, it never materialized. We were like, "Yeah, we kind of like being around each other almost 24/7 after the lockdown."

At the conclusion of 2022, an appropriately casual marriage proposal was made. They slipped calamari rings on each other's fingers as they ate at their favorite restaurant in Connecticut and made their engagement announcement.

Roberts recalled how they just proposed to one another by placing the calamari rings on each other's fingers. Looking back, it was really pretty suitable for us not to have a down-on-one-knee proposal with just one person making the proposal. It was just the two of us relaxing at our tiny Mexican joint when we said, "Let's go," and put calamari rings on each other. Let's get going.

When Roberts said live on "GMA" during an interview that she was "saying yes to marriage" in 2023, the engagement news became public shortly after.

Laign recalled that when she said, "Let's get married," he felt a wave of excitement, apprehension, and happiness. "This was like perfect timing, saying it on air," the couple said. "We had planned to get married last year, but then I was diagnosed [with breast cancer]."

Roberts and Laign, who have been together for 18 years, said they value each other more than ever as they approach their wedding day.

She speaks the truth. She treats everyone so kindly, and having someone at your side in that way is a treasure, according to Laign.

"Many people enter marriage hoping and searching for what Amber and I already know we have, so ours is a celebration," continued Roberts. It's a celebration because we have been living happily ever after despite all the ups and downs.

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