For any fans of the TV show Sliders, one would think the life of Jerry O’Connell was just an alternate reality. A world in which the heavy-set little kid from Stand By Me, would grow up to become a leading man who could capture the heart of one of the most gorgeous models in the world — Rebecca Romijn. This isn’t science fiction, it is the story of an unlikely pair that are still going strong and are now proud parents of twins.
The audition for the role of Vern Tessio was a massive cattle call. Overweight kids from all over the Chelsea, NY area showed up to read for the role in the small independent film, Stand By Me. However, there was something special that kept popping out in Jerry O’Connell. He read several times for the role before eventually landing the character. His father told him not to tell anyone that he had the part out of fear of the small movie never getting released. It did, however, and went on to become a success both at the time and for years to come.
This lead to more TV work for O’Connell and a few small film roles sprinkled in here and there. O’Connell decided to change his image by getting in shape and redefining himself. His big break back into the mainstream came in 1996 when he got to play football star Frank Cushman in Jerry Maguire, opposite Tom Cruise. He would go on to land roles in Scream 2, Mission to Mars, Can’t Hardly Wait and 69 episodes of the show Sliders.
Rebecca Romijn was born in Berkely,California and considered herself an insecure “drama geek” as a child. Because of her growth spurt to the height of 5 feet, 11 inches, she suffered from scoliosis and was always in pain. Finally comfortable in her body, she began to model fashion and eventually moved to Paris for two years. She graced issues of Sports Illustrated and Victoria’s Secret and shared the runway with Claudia Shiffer, Kate Moss and Cindy Crawford.
In 1998, she married actor John Stamos and became a bright star in Hollywood’s floodlights. She got her first substantial role in the 2000 hit X-Men, and would follow that up with roles in Femme Fatale and The Punisher and a great role playing a transsexual on the hit ABC TV show Ugly Betty. Her career was in a wonderful place. Her marriage, however, was not. She and Stamos separated in 2004 and would divorce in 2005. A recently single Rebecca began pouring herself into her work which lead her to a chance meeting with O’Connell in Las Vegas.
“I think to make any relationship work it just takes a tremendous amount of effort and accepting of one another.”
The couple met in the fall of 2004 when Romijn was scouting for her documentary Wet Dreams, about choreographing the fountains at Las Vegas’ Bellagio Hotel and Casino.
“I met Jerry at a party,” Romijn told People. “We told him what we were doing and he was like, ‘You’re making a documentary out of this? I want to be the boom operator!’ He was totally game.”
His persistence paid off and she agreed to go on a date with him a week later. He proposed the next year and the two married in a small private ceremony at their ranch in Southern California. In 2008, they welcomed a set of twins into the world and became a family. They continue to work and love each other very much.
“I think of myself as a funny guy but nobody thinks I’m funnier than my daughters.” –Jerry O’Connell
Rebecca can be seen starring in the show King and Maxwell on TNT and O’Connell was one of the leads in CBS’s We Are Men, which was pulled after 2 airings. With both parents working, juggling a family life is difficult but the two have grown much closer because of it. They constantly have each other’s backs and are learning what it is like to work hard to support their family. Stand by me has become their motto to each other as the two grow and blossom into the beautiful people they were always meant to be.