MIKE AND JANET HUCKABEE
Married Since: 1974
Family Album: Two sons and a daughter
They met in junior high school; by senior year, they were dating. At the age of 18, he didn't quite have the money for an engagement ring yet and proposed with the pull-tab of a soda can. They married in her parents' living room in Hope, Arkansas, in 1974. One could say Mike and Janet Huckabee have humble beginnings and have culled a rock-solid relationship over the last 30 years. During the last two decades, they have shared success and hardship. Just a year into their marriage, Janet was diagnosed with spinal cancer, threatening her ability to walk and bear children.
"He had made a commitment to me in sickness and in health. And the test of that commitment came very early in our marriage. He passed the test 100 percent," she recently told the Palm Beach Post. His reply: "I can't tell you what a stunning blow it was—two kids just starting out, you don't think something like that can happen when you're so young. Yet there we were, staring death in the face," he says on his web site, mikehuckabee.com. "For us, every anniversary is a miracle."
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They've also faced triumph. Diagnosed in 2003 with type II diabetes, Mike vowed to change his lifestyle, shedding 110 pounds and completing four marathons—Janet running two 26-milers herself. Mike has served his home state of Arkansas as governor from 1996 to 2007, while Janet made a name for herself, not as First Lady, but "First Tomboy." Dubbed a "good ole gal" during her husband's tenure, she tracked bears, hunted rattlesnakes, fired a grenade launcher, parachuted out of an airplane, and jet-skied down the length of the Arkansas River (to promote a conservation sales tax).
Janet works for a program manager for the American Red Cross, although she did try her hand at politics, too. When Mike sought re-election in 2002, his wife ran for secretary of state. She came under heavy scrutiny for her harsh campaign tactics and use of state resources, to which she replied to The New York Times: "If it weren't for the grace of God, I'd have shot a few people already." (She does hold a concealed-weapons license.) Needless to say, she lost her election, while Mike won his.