They finally did it! Legendary media darlings Donna La Pietra and Bill Kurtis made it legal on Wednesday, December 13 (Donna's birthday), at exactly 4 pm. They were married in the Supreme Court Chamber by longtime friend Justice Anne Burke. To all the friends, and they are legion, who know and love them, this was a long time in coming and a perfect gift for the holidays.
Their love story is one for the ages. They met at Channel 2 forty years ago when he was an anchor and reporter and she was a writer and executive producer. Donna said, "He's still the front guy and I'm still the producer and what a great relationship we've had!"
The intimate ceremony, only 8 close friends, began with the traditional walk down the flower-strewn aisle, Donna wearing a long gown carrying a Bill Heffernan designed bouquet along with some very personal pieces of jewelry, a wedding band that was her mother's and an engagement ring that belonged to her grandmother. Bill, decked out in a dapper blue suit, wore his father's WWII military ID bracelet. Donna had placed family photos on the judge's podium.
In an 8 minute presentation, Donna "presented her case" to Justice Burke on why she and Bill should be married. "Well, here we are, thanks to Justice Anne Burke, in this grand setting in the Supreme Court of Illinois courtroom, with herself presiding, after years of prodding emails of her own. I could have no better wedding planner," she joked. "And a thanks to our accountant, John Foy, who would NOT let another year of a major tax deduction for Bill go by!"
She continued, "If it please the court, I offer these exhibits as testimony as to why Bill and I have been joined together for forty years and finally now believe it is meant to be forever and therefore officially witnessed by our closest friends and legally sanctioned by Justice Anne Burke."
During the presentation, Donna showed photo exhibits of the two of them when they were younger. "Bill and I both firmly believe that if we can keep the same hair style for life, we can certainly keep each other, " she said.
The next exhibit B, was a photo of them together in the channel 2 newsroom. "As the photo demonstrates, I've often thought you love me because I can be calm in a crisis. But I realize that's because I'm often the cause. No one loves dancing on the edge more than I do, but no matter what I've cooked up, you are always there with me--the "out front" to my "behind the scenes" dynamic duo..."
"And because you really had to take a not so easy leap with me--because I'm the sort of person who marches to a different drummer, thinks and acts and looks outside the norm--not the comfort zone that defined the YOU forged in Kansas. But that by being myself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else, you have come to believe that resisting is one of life's great accomplishments."
"I believe Oscar Wilde said it best, 'You don't love someone for their looks or their clothes, but because they sing a song only you can hear.' Thank you for hearing me Bill, the real me."
In another exhibit, she spoke about their "exchange of gifts." "Perhaps a different sort of woman would have a different view, would have an expectation of a piece of jewelry to mark birthdays or cashmere scarves upon the return from a far away trip. But this is not what turns my head. I much prefer the Oosik you brought back from a far flung trip--which turns out to be the penis of a walrus."
For her final "exhibit," she shared a reading. "How about a short one from a book straight out of the tornado that brought Bill to Chicago, the Wizard of Oz? 'A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.' In the storybook of our lives, this day is the chapter where it says, 'and they lived happily ever after.'
And I know they will!
Thanks Donna and Bill for sharing your lives and love with all of us. You are so beloved and everyone who knows you, are smiling ear to ear right now.
Their wedding dinner was at Chicago Cut where they could "see the best views of the city that they both love so much."
And their wedding song, of course, was Etta James' "At Last." ( (See romantic dance here!) Donna said they will honeymoon on a Great Lake just like her parents did, Lake Erie for them, and Lake Michigan for the newlyweds at their beautiful Mettawa Manor where they recently planted 40 pine trees, one for each year they've been together. (Photos by Del Hall and video by Jill Barancik).
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