A Romance Writer’s Real Life ‘Love at First Sight’ Story

In New Orleans, March 2002

In December of 2001, my (now ex) husband told me he was in love with, and having an affair with, my best friend. We had celebrated our 9-year anniversary just four months before, and we had a 4-year-old daughter, Kaylee. He had a lot of substance abuse problems and other addictions, and we had the normal financial problems that come with that kind of addictive lifestyle. Consequently, life was a little hard, but I desperately tried to keep everything together and normal for Kaylee. When he told me about his affair, one of my first emotions was relief, which made the decision to end our marriage very easy.

I was tired. I’d been the primary money-maker for years. I did most of the hands-on parenting. My job was demanding. I managed our home. I got up every morning at 4AM so that I could write my books. I was active in my church. My (now ex) husband was very demanding and selfish of my time and attention. I was simply tired. I only had a desire to set up a little house for me and Kaylee and live the rest of my life alone, man-free. The concept was incredibly appealing.

Within two weeks, I was moved out and set up in my new place. For those of you who think that I moved too fast to end my marriage, I’ll add that the week before I moved out, he moved his girlfriend into our home and stayed with her in the guest room.

By that time, I’d been writing for about three years and had ten books written. I’d also been actively involved with a writing community on America Online (AOL) and a writing email group that sprang out of that community of about 20-30 people. From this community, and within this email group, I made several friends (many of whom are still my friends today). One friend, a woman we called C.D., lived within a few hours of me, in central Florida. One free weekend in January, a couple weeks after I moved into my own place, I drove down to meet her in person. We had the best weekend. C.D. had once been a stand-up comedian, and had me rolling and laughing more than I had in years. It was a wonderful visit.

April 2003

When I got home, I went to work on a book and my computer crashed. It had been a hand-me-down from my boss, so when I got it, it was already on its last legs. Computers crash all the time. That’s just a fact of life. But, this computer crashed with my 10 novels on it, and I had no backups.

I called C.D. and asked if her husband could help me. He was (and I’m sure still is) a computer technician. Unfortunately, he wasn’t available. C.D. said, “Call Gregg.”

I said, “Who’s Gregg?”

She said, “You know Gregg.” Then she gave me his AOL screenname.

I said, “I don’t know him. I can’t call him.”

She said, “Of course you know him. You email with him in the group every day. He can help. Call him.”

So, she gave me his number.  And I called him.

Gregg was wonderful on the phone. Me? Not so much. He tried talking me through getting to my books on the hard drive, but I am not technically proficient and have never pretended to be. Finally, after several (I’m sure frustrating) minutes, he said, “Listen. I am driving down to C.D.’s house this weekend and will go through Tallahassee. Let me just come by your house and I’ll look at it there.”

He lived in Alabama — about 350 miles from my house in Florida.

Disclaimer: This is not an encouragement for anyone out there to invite someone into your home whom you know only from online. Because I knew C.D., and because C.D. and Gregg were close friends for many years and had stayed in and out of each others’ homes many times, I agreed.

Wedding Reception on our 1-Year Anniversary, June 2003

While I was very clearly NOT on the “market”, not looking for a man, and not interested in a relationship, I was nowhere near what Gregg was looking for, either. As I talked about on my Hallee the Homemaker blog during the study of The Power of a Praying Wife, Gregg would pray to God, “Dear God, please let me meet a wife, but she must have never been married, have no children, be able to have children, be shorter than me, and live within fifty miles of me.” I met absolutely none of those standards. As such, when we arranged to have him come fix my computer, he was coming to fix my computer. Neither one of us had any concept of anything else.

Gregg arrived at my home on a Friday evening (Kaylee was not home that weekend). My dog, Maia, an Akita mix I’d had to once catch mid-air as she leaped to attack a friend whose keys jingled the wrong way, ran out to greet Gregg when he arrived. She’d gotten past me, and made a beeline for him. I cautioned him about her, but when I got to them, I found Maia on her back, her stomach exposed, tail thumping the ground, tongue lolling out like the happiest dog on the planet. If I’d had even the slightest bit of apprehension about letting Gregg in, it went away with Maia’s acceptance of him.

Gregg often tells this story, and he says that when I stepped out of my house and he looked at me on my little porch, he knew very quickly he was “in trouble.” His attraction for me was immediate and absolute.

We hugged hello, not something I’m personally prone to do, and it felt…right. I was comfortable talking to him and chatting with him as he came into my house. After initial polite pleasantries, he went right to the point and asked where the computer was. Within minutes, he’d restored my computer. Then he invited me to dinner.
We drove down the street and ate chicken at Boston Market. We held hands for the first time as we prayed over the meal.

We could not stop talking. I had a spare bedroom and spare bathroom. He spent the weekend and every single minute with him was perfect. Absolutely perfect. By the end of the weekend, we were hinting at talks of marriage.

I’m not kidding. I was married, recently separated, and absolutely exhausted. But talking with this beautiful, brilliant man about marriage was the most natural thing in the world. Until that moment in time, I would have said that “love at first sight” was something romance writers like me just used as a plot launch. I would never, ever have believed it to be a real “thing”. But I can tell you in all honesty right now, I fell in love with Gregg the moment we met, and that love has done nothing but multiply over the years.

That was January 12th. Four weeks after I’d left my (now ex) husband. On March 22nd, Gregg asked me to marry him, and I happily and readily agreed. On May 23rd, my divorce was final from my ex-husband. On June 28th, at the Calhoun County Courthouse in Anniston, Alabama, we said our marriage vows in front of the Honorable Arthur Murray.

Our 9-Year Anniversary, June 2011

We have had an amazing, adventerous decade of life together. We’ve grown personally, spiritually, and together. We’ve made mistakes, have hurt each other, have healed, and have grown closer together. We are partners. We are one. He is my hero and I am his bride.

I am thankful to God, every single day, that C.D.’s husband was unavailable when I called, that I had the courage to call Gregg, and that he finally got so frustrated with me on the phone that he offered to come fix my computer in person. I am so thankful for every second of my marriage to this amazing, wonderful man, and am so proud to be his wife.

Happy 10th Anniversary, my remarkable husband. I look forward to many more decades together.
Hallee Bridgeman Precious Signature

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  1. Hallee, I just loved your account of the first time you met your husband. I hope you’ll continue to use the love you have for him and your daughter to help you create wonderful romance stories for your readers. Have a great anniversary!!! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much!

  2. Wonderful story! Love at first sight is a special gift from God . . . Sometimes we just know something is right, and there’s no reason to wait . . . and wait . .. and wait. Congratulations on ten wonderful years!

    • Missy Tippens on June 28, 2012 at 07:53
    • Reply

    What great photos!! And what a wonderful story. Happy anniversary!! My husband and I were also married on June 28th! We’re celebrating 26 years today. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Missy! And, Happy Anniversary to you, too!

  3. Your story is very much like mine. My ex actually got his girlfriend pregnant. My saga was more drawn out, but in the end God gave me a great second husband. I enjoyed reading your story.

    1. God is good. 🙂
      Thank you!

    • Paula on June 28, 2012 at 08:18
    • Reply

    Beautiful romance story! Maybe you should put it into print but with fictitious names. Tony and I have a similar story – I probably need to write so it can be handed down to our grandchildren. If I ever do, I will share with you. Love

    1. I’d love to hear it, Paula!

  4. I love that you got your “Happily Ever After” and I think my favorite part is what he prayed for. Don’t you love that we think we know what we need but that the Lord always knows better? Your story is beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Gregg and I often laugh about how he had to repent of the sin of dictating to God how God would work.

      Thank you!

  5. Happy Anniversary Hallee and Gregg! Yours is truly a wonderful “love at first sight” story. Congrats on 10 years and here’s to many more to come!

    1. Thank you so much, Taryn!

  6. Hallee:
    This was a lovelyl story. And I’m so glad you found each other. And I hope you have at least a hundred more years together.
    My husband and I met on a blind date. Another one of those instances that you don’t know whether you can trust the guy enough to get in the car with him. We’ve been together 37 years.
    Teresa R.

    1. I love blind date successes!

  7. Awww, that’s so sweet. What a great beginning. Fiction just can’t compare to real life can it? May you have many more happy years.
    Aurthur Murray? Really?

    1. Yep! Arthur Murray! It’s how I remember the name.

  8. WOW–I love it–that beats a fictional romance any day! Happy Anniversary and what a beautiful photo!

    1. Thank you!
      My husband is not a fan of having his picture taken. I treasure everyone one I manage to snap.

  9. Congrats to a wonderful Christian couple!

    1. Thank you, Rose!

  10. I’m so glad you shared this story. You two are so cute!

    I can’t wait to see you all aging at our next meeting.

    1. We look forward to seeing you again, too!

  11. Always a treat to read a true love story. I love asking couples how they met. Each one is distinct and fun to listen to. Also glad you two have stayed in love, and grown closer. That is the icing on the story. Thank you for sharing with us.

    1. Thank you, Cecilia!

  12. Your husband and CD also helped my husband and me, at one of the most peril-filled points of my life. It began one of the most unlikely friendships in history, I think, Greg and Alan. Nothing is ever too tough for you two–and you never even ask for more time! I think of you two whenever I face a difficult anything! I have my flag within reach right now.
    LOVE you. You two were made for each other.

  13. Happy Anniversary and thank you for sharing your love story Hallee!

    I can never get enough of true stories like these…so encouraging! I shared your story with the readers at InspiredChristian.com.

    May God continue to bless you and your marriage!


    • Cindi Altman on May 24, 2013 at 23:06
    • Reply

    Thanks for sharing your story. It is so inspirational.

    I enjoyed meeting you this evening on TBCN too. Good luck with your potatoes 😉

    1. I enjoyed meeting you as well, Cindi!

    • Barbara on December 6, 2017 at 16:05
    • Reply

    Your story is beautiful. I met my husband and 2 weeks later he asked me to marry him. We just celebrated our 58th anniversary. He is the love of my life and a wonderful Christian. God has blessed us so much and we are both so thankful for the love and life we share together.
    Love your books and look forward to many more.

    1. I love this so much. I can’t wait for my 58th anniversary!

  14. What a great story, Hallee, thanks so much for sharing!
    I greatly enjoy you’re writing. Double thank you!!

    • Lorel Kline on November 16, 2018 at 15:05
    • Reply

    Your story was so amazing. Thank you so much for being so transparent and sharing with us. I love your books. You are such a gifted and talented writer.

    1. Thank you so much, Lorel.

  15. Being the hopeless romantic I am, I absolutely love to hear other couple’s stories of how they met. Thank you for sharing yours! A true testament of how God works all things out for good!

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