Strange things about Howard Stern's marriage

Shock jock Howard Stern is one of the most iconic figures in pop culture. For decades, he's dominated American radio, entertaining us with his raunchy bravado and insightful interviews. Animal rights activist, author, and model Beth Ostrosky Stern is his better half. And although these two are clearly meant to be, particular oddities about their romance have definitely raised more than a few eyebrows over the years. How much do you really know about these lovebirds? We've rounded up some of the stranger facts about the Sterns' marriage.

Howard was previously married for two decades

The Howard Stern Show host's marriage to his first wife, Alison Berns, lasted 21 years before they called it quits in October 1999. The former couple, who finalized their divorce two years later, share three daughters, Emily, Ashley, and Debra.

"My marriage ending blew my mind," Stern told Rolling Stone in 2011. "I was upset that I failed and let down my family, my kids, my ex-wife. It was all very painful."

"I was totally neurotic and sort of consumed with work. I took work as the most important thing and the only thing," he told the magazine in 2014, explaining that he felt like a "detached robot" before starting therapy. "I knew things weren't right, and I said, 'Gee, where am I going to get some answers?' I had never been a guy to turn to religion but then as my marriage was coming to an end, I needed help to explain it to my children and make sense of it all and communicate with them. Because once you are a divorced guy, being a father is a whole different thing."

Howard and Beth's meet-cute was nearly a disaster

When Howard and Beth met in 2000, Stern had been separated from his first wife for less than a year. But their real-life meet-cute was almost a total disaster.

As Beth told Andy Cohen on Radio Andy in 2017, she was on a horrible blind date at a friend's dinner party, "And in walks Howard Stern … There was one seat open, and it was right across from me. And he was just in the grumpiest mood. He was starving, so he just puts his head down, he starts eating."

As a joke, the model got up from the table to imitate a woman who had been following Stern around all night, desperately flirting to no avail. "So I walked over to Howard, and I, like, flipped my hair back, and I'm like, 'You've got the most beautiful eyes,' and he looked at me, and he goes, 'I do?' And he looked at me, and he did!" Beth said.

"And that was our moment," she revealed. "He looked at me, he looked through my soul, and I was like…I'm done, and he said that was his moment, too."

The future married pair soon found out they lived half a block away from one another on the Upper West Side in NYC, exchanged phone numbers, and said goodnight—before Howard called Beth at 4 o'clock that morning for an impromptu movie night invite. As Beth said, "We've been together ever since."

Stern's explicit proposal

It may have been love at first sight for these two, but Howard and Beth didn't become engaged until seven years later. It was a surprising turnaround the King of Media, as he had vowed to never marry again.

But in true Stern fashion, he had no problem sharing all the details of his proposal with his listeners. "Do you want your Valentine's Day gift now?" he recalled asking his future wife, adding that he had told Beth to strip down when the model said she wanted her present, a 5.2 carat diamond ring, early (via MTV News).

"I love you. You're everything to me," he had told her. "This is so gay … I'm asking you to spend the rest of your life with me." The two made love immediately after Beth said, "Yes." According to the bride-to-be, "[I kept my] hand up and was looking at my ring the whole time."

Really sweet? TMI? We'll let you be the judge on this one.

They had a star-studded wedding

Following a 20-month engagement, the Sterns married on October 3, 2008, in front of 180 guests at the Le Cirque restaurant in New York City.

According to MTV News, their wedding was a massive, star-studded affair. Officiated by Kelly Ripa's husband, Mark Consuelos, the ceremony's other famous attendees included the likes of Joan Rivers, Chevy Chase, Jimmy Kimmel, Sarah Silverman, John Stamos, Barbara Walters, and many more. Guests were entertained by Phoebe Snow, who sang her classic "You Send Me," and Billy Joel, who performed "The Stranger."

"Chevy Chase doing an impromptu [and X-rated] speech was fun," Beth recalled. "Billy Joel serenading us was not planned, and my best friend got up and spoke. Jimmy Kimmel made a surprise speech at the altar as Mark Consuelos was officiating. It was so much fun." 

Okay, that sounds amazing.

Things changed when they got hitched

Unfortunately, it took people a long time to take the Sterns' relationship very seriously. The problem? Howard's short-lived, albeit notorious playboy lifestyle.

"After my divorce, I realized, 'Oh wow, I can go have sex,'" he told Rolling Stone in 2011. "And I was running around, picking up women. Then all of a sudden, it dawned on me that I really didn't need that much sex. I just wanted somebody with me every minute. I was using women as a surrogate mother. When I tapped into that, it suddenly became very childish behavior."

Of course, he'd cleaned up his act by the time he hit it off with Beth shortly after. But no one really believed it would last until they finally tied the knot eight years later.

"Things changed when we got married," Stern continued. "Everyone before was like, 'Oh, are you Howard Stern's blonde bimbo that hangs out with him?' But suddenly, when we were married, it was like, 'Oh, this is Howard's wife.' And that was important to me. Part of the reason I got married was that I wanted Beth to understand how important she is and also how equal I feel she is to me."

Howard is 18 years older than Beth

Yes, there is a whopping 18-year age difference between this married pair. In 2017, Howard turned 63, while Beth turned 45. But it seems like age is nothing but a number for these two. 

"We really do have fun together, day in and day out, and we do well when we are together 24/7," Beth told Hamptons Magazine in 2011. "We appreciate each other, and he really listens to everything I say. I think he is quite a catch—the perfect husband." 

"I still get that fuzzy feeling in my stomach every time I see him," she told Us Weekly the following year. "We are just so blissfully happy. I wish this feeling for everyone. He's the most thoughtful person I know."

Howard is a hopeless romantic

We never would have guessed it from his blunt radio personality, but Stern is nothing but a softie at heart.

"Howard is so romantic. He writes love letters," Beth told Access Hollywood in 2014 (via the Daily Mail). "He tells me every day I'm beautiful," she continued, adding, "He's the best kisser."

The shock jock is also a generous gift-giver, who always goes the extra mile by using his many talents to keep things personal. "He has been doing watercolors and paintings lately, and I just cherish the ones he gives me," Beth told Social Life Magazine in 2015 (via Hello!). "He has painted many roses for me. My walls are covered with Howard originals."

Are you paying attention, fellas? Howard Stern is raising the bar.

Their marriage may have caused serious family drama

Not unlike her famous dad, Emily Stern, Howard's eldest daughter, isn't afraid to speak her mind. In 2015, she publicly called him out for allegedly changing after her parents' divorce, which she admitted left her with emotional scars.

"I believed that my parents were very much in love," she told the New York Post. "I felt like the divorce came out of nowhere. I thought that sacred bond was so strong. He used to be one way, and then he marries a model." Yikes.

As Emily, then 32, continued, she theorized that her mother returning to work may have broken her parents' marriage. "Maybe he couldn't handle it when she went back to work as a psychoanalyst," she said.

According to Radar Online, the candid interview reportedly caused major family drama among the Sterns. However, the shock jock played it cool in the media, saying he's "very blessed to have such a great relationship" with his children, adding that neither party felt the finished article was "very reflective" of their actual bond.

They keep a strict schedule

Don't be fooled by Stern's outrageous on-air personality—he isn't one to party hard. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that this couple actually keeps a super strict schedule.

"Everybody thinks, 'Oh you're married to Howard Stern … you must be laughing all the time,'" Beth told Access Hollywood in 2013 (via Digital Spy). "Yes, we are laughing all the time, but our life together, it is not crazy. We go to bed at 8 o'clock at night, even on the weekend, just because that's our schedule. He gets up early for his radio show. We are definitely not wild and crazy."

But the married pair don't only have an early bedtime, they also eat dinner at a cool 4 p.m., as Beth revealed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2016. To which the comedic host quipped, "You're so set for old age, you're all ready."

Stern didn't know how to do this basic domestic task

This story is both hilarious and somewhat tragic. In September 2017, Beth had to teach her then-63-year-old husband how to make coffeeSeriously.

The Yoda: The Story of a Cat and his Kittens author took to Instagram to share a screenshot of a humorous text message exchange between the two, in which she guided a perplexed Howard Stern through brewing his own cup of joe. "If you are listening to my husband on @siriusxm (this is the text exchange between us when he didn't know how to make coffee)," she captioned their convo, adding the hashtags, "#smile #heartbreaking."

Howard's personal day controversy

When fans freaked out over Stern taking his first-ever personal day from his show in May 2017, an abundance of rumors about his notable absence quickly began to swirl. According to Page Six, these ranged from supposed marital issues with Beth to the alleged death of one of his parents. Seriously, things got dark fast.

With her husband temporarily out of commission, Beth attempted to calm his fans' worst fears. "Everything is great. He's coming back on Monday. He had to take a personal day, that's all," she told the New York Post.

"There was a lot of speculation, 'Where was I on Wednesday?'" Stern griped when he made his on-air return (via Us Weekly). "I didn't take a personal day, I took a sick day—and I'm still sick, you can still hear it in my voice."

He continued, "Why was it such a big deal that I took a f***ing day off? I wanted to take off today because my voice is still shot, but I was afraid to. I felt so f***ing guilty. I missed a day of work and all of a sudden it's bigger news than James Comey."

They're both animal rights activists

The Sterns are longtime animal rights activists who use their public platform to raise awareness and help animals in need. Having worked with the North Shore Animal League America since the mid-2000s, the two have rescued, fostered, and found loving homes for hundreds of cats.

"This is what we do. This is our passion. We've done over 500 fosters in our home," Stern told Us Weekly in 2017. "It's just very fulfilling, it brings you outside of yourself, you're helping an animal and that bond, it sounds cliché but that bond is really fantastic and it makes me feel so good that we can help.

"It helps my relationship," he added. "Beth is so competent and so masterful with the animals coming through our home that it takes my breath away."

They have matching tattoos

When these animal lovers lost their beloved 10-year-old English bulldog, Bianca, in 2012, they decided to commemorate her memory in a unique way: by getting matching tattoos of her name on their arms. 

"She was the light of my life. My husband and I adopted her together, and she became our world," Beth told Us Weekly in 2014. "[The tattoo] is a happy memory." 

We're glad to hear this, because the couple took the loss of Bianca, who was featured on the cover of Beth's 2009 book, Oh My Dog, incredibly hard. The author called it "the saddest day of [her] life" on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Howard expressed his grief on his radio show. "I've learned I'm human because I'm so touched by my dog. My dog taught me how to love—love deeper," he told his listeners (via ABC). "Beth and I don't have a child and Bianca is sort of our child. Anybody who knows us as a couple, I mean personally, knows we just dote on Bianca—Bianca's everything. She's our fun. She's our life. I spent the whole day crying."

They're total relationship goals

This romantic pair may have their share of quirks, but at the end of the day, the Sterns are total #RelationshipGoals. Apart from constantly gushing about and supporting one another, their sweetest, funniest, and most candid moments are the ones that prove these two are simply meant to be.

Some of our faves include the pair's cross-dressing Christmas card, Beth's hilarious reaction to Howard's horrible sketch of her, and Stern cheering on his wife at the finish line of the New York City Marathon. 

But the absolute best was when the Yoda Gets a Buddy author revealed why Howard surprisingly dropped out of his America's Got Talent judging gig in 2015. As she told Extra TV, "Howard told me he wanted more free time to be with me." 

Admit it—you're awwing just as much as we are!