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Liam and Adela O’Brien

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Head Over Heels

Esteemed Valley Couples Share their Love Stories and Happily Ever Afters

In honor of V-Day, we connected with four fabulous Valley couples and got the scoop on their love story and secrets to marital bliss. Check out these happily ever after odes courtesy of local celebs, athletes, and acclaimed business owners. 

Johnjay and Blake Van Es

Johnjay is the host of the nationally syndicated Johnjay and Rich Radio Show and Chief Laughter Engineer

“Our hearts collided at a radio station out of college, where love at first laugh became our favorite punchline. It feels like we’re still newlyweds, but we’ve been officially hitched for 27 years. Our ideal date is a Valley-wide scavenger hunt because love is the greatest treasure hunt of all! And to keep the spark alive, we value prank wars and impromptu dance parties in the living room.” -Johnjay

“Our secret to marital longevity is embracing imperfections with a side of laughter; we call it the ‘giggle and forgive’ approach. We also prioritize our family foundation: a trio of sons, mini jesters causing mischief and spreading joy.” -Blake

“Marital advice for navigating ups and downs includes dancing through challenges, finding your rhythm, and when life throws you lemons, turn them into a stand-up comedy routine and therapy." -Johnjay

“One of our most cherished relationship moments is the night we whispered our dreams to the galaxy, and shooting stars carried our wishes into the cosmos! Moral of the story: our love is a sitcom filled with smiles and unexpected plot twists.” -Johnjay

Liam and Adela O’Brien

Arizona Coyotes Forward (known as an Enforcer) and wife 

“We met in the square in Prague and have been married one and a half years. Our ideal date is dinner at Humble Bistro and our key to marital success is by showing appreciation and love for one another. If I could describe Adela in three words, they would be beautiful, strong, and fun. The moment we found out we were having our first child, Adela surprised me, and it was the greatest most special moment.” -Liam

Billy and Nicole Cundiff

Former NFL player turned Managing Director, Greystar and wife Nicole, Real Estate Specialist, Valley Luxury Group

“Nicole and I met during freshman year at Drake. The first time I saw her, I knew she was special. Good thing I am persistent. I consistently tried to flirt with her to no avail. Still, I stuck with it, but in a respectful manner. After over two years of getting my teeth kicked in, my persistence paid off.” -Billy

“We have very different recollections of how we started dating, but I remember going to a party and he held the door for me and that was basically it.” -Nicole

“We’ve been married 20 years and have three beautiful kids. Our ideal date is an easy dinner, great food and good drinks... dining at Vecina with Nicole checks all those boxes. We savor the special moments, but life is lived in the ordinary ones. Traveling is also a great way to recharge the batteries.” -Billy

“Our key to marital success is having aligned priorities but allowing space to grow as individuals. A strong marriage takes tons of empathy, seeking to understand, and communication.” -Nicole

Joey and Cristina Maggiore

Restaurateurs and Co-Owners of The Maggiore Group 

“We met in San Diego. Cristina took one look at me and fell in love. We started dating in 1998 and have been married 24 years. Date time for us is easy; we love doing dinner at Francine, Steak 44, Buck & Rider, and of course, our restaurants. We’re also happy staying in with a good movie and a nice glass of wine.” -Joey

“To keep our spark alive, we treat our marriage like a new one every day. When you’re married to your best friend, you enjoy every minute together regardless of if it’s work or a simple car ride.” -Cristina

“I always try to win her over. I’m a romantic Italian, so I never stop. She’s the most beautiful woman in the world; I need to show her love all the time.” -Joey

“Being best friends and having the same goals keep it rewarding and fun. In addition, we value the willingness to forgive, listen and never go to bed mad. We got married in our twenties, so we’ve had our fair share of ups and downs. During our first 10 years of marriage, we had three kids... they are the reason we work so hard.” -Cristina

“My most cherished moment in our marriage is waking up every day next to this beautiful woman, who I love dearly. What else could a man want... a powerful woman by his side, spectacular children, and good health. We also cherish December 4th,1999 - the day we got married. That was when our story began. Looking back on the last 24 years, I am just so thankful and can’t wait to see what’s to come." -Joey

  • Johnjay and Blake Van Es on their wedding day
  • Johnny and Black Van Es
  • Liam and Adela O’Brien
  • Billy and Nicole Cundiff on their wedding day
  • Billy and Nicole Cundiff
  • Joey and Cristina Maggiore on their wedding day
  • Joey and Cristina Maggiore
  • Joey and Cristina Maggiore
  • Liam and Adela O’Brien
  • Liam and Adela O’Brien
  • Liam O’Brien, Arizona Coyotes