Marilyn Denis and Jim Helman

Marilyn Denis on marrying her high school prom date

From prom to proposal in 43 years

Marilyn Denis, host of The Marilyn Denis Show and 104.5 FM morning show co-host, announced on Thursday on her show that June 9 will be the last episode after more than three decades. While Canada will be sad to see her go, she said she’ll be continuing on as radio host. We’re looking back on the story of how the TV host eloped in the summer of 2018 with her high school prom date, Jim Helman. Here, the pair share the story of how they reconnected four decades after their first date.

How they met

Marilyn: Jim moved from Baltimore, Maryland, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at Christmas of 1971. In January of 1972, we met in eighth grade homeroom at Ingomar Junior High School. Jim’s stay in Pittsburgh ended two years later when his father was transferred to a job in Nashville, Tennessee.

The first date

Marilyn: Our first date took place in spring of 1975, where we attended our high school junior prom in Pittsburgh. We went together as good friends. Nothing happened. We were two good, 16-year-old friends at a dance party. We had a great time dancing, catching up with friends, and since we were friends, there was no drama. At the time, Jim was living in Nashville, and he flew back to Pittsburgh for the prom.

The courtship

Jim: Our courtship began when I thought of Marilyn while driving to the Pittsburgh airport after visiting my parents — 41 years after our one and only date: prom in 1975. I looked her up online and learned about her amazing career in radio and television. I wrote an email to her show to congratulate my friend on her successes. We subsequently chatted and a year later got together for lunch. We realized that our relationship could be more than a friendship.

The proposal

Jim: We travelled to Carmel, California in May of 2018, where we stayed in a beautiful hotel overlooking the Pacific Ocean. We had a romantic dinner at a beautiful French restaurant, and then we walked back to our hotel. I was looking in the hotel garden for a place to propose but discovered another loud party of hotel guests had overwhelmed the garden. As I returned to ascend the beautiful, long and flower-draped stairs, I saw Marilyn at the top of the staircase, her face showered by moonlight. The perfect moment had presented itself to us.

The wedding

Marilyn: We were married at Toronto city hall on June 19, 2018. My son Adam and my daughter-in-law Caprice were our witnesses. We had a pre-honeymoon in London, England, and we celebrated our honeymoon in Barbados.

Balancing careers and marriage

Marilyn: We are very thoughtful of the demands of each of our careers. We value every moment together.

Shared hobbies

Jim: We share a love of music, love of arts, travel and being with our family and friends.

Life after retirement

Marilyn: Right now, we are both very involved with work. We will get back to you on this query in 10 years.

The Marilyn Denis Show airs weekdays at 10 a.m. on CTV.

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