The two didn't win the Teachers Tournament, but they are 'winners in love,' the host says
You may not think of Jeopardy!’s Alex Trebek as much of a matchmaker, but for two contestants, love was in the air when they appeared on his legendary game show in October 2013.
Teachers Maryanne Lewell and Michael Townes got married on July 7 after they met while competing in the annual Jeopardy! Teachers Tournament about four years ago, according to the New York Times. Lewell, from New Brunswick, Canada, and Townes, from Greenville County, South Carolina, connected in the studio’s green room while awaiting their turn in front of Trebek. It was in that room where the two began chatting, discussing how Lewell taught history and social studies and Townes taught English.
As luck would have it, both Lewell and Townes were very much single and more than ready to mingle—until it came time to play the game, that is, and the conversation was cut short.
Luckily, the cohort of contestants went out for drinks after the first day of taping, and the blossoming couple gravitated toward each other once more to continue where they had left off in the green room.
“She was so sweet and smart and easy to talk to,” Townes told the Times.
“Mike was just a fun person to be with,” Lewell said of Townes. “I find a sense of humor to be pretty attractive.”
The two stayed in touch after they both lost in the tournament, and despite the distance between them, they grew close. The two discovered that they had more and more in common with each other outside of teaching—they liked Star Wars, comics, Lord of the Rings—and Townes finally worked up the courage to reveal his romantic feelings to Lewell.
After that, the couple paid routine visits to each other, slowly building up toward the day they would tie the knot this month, almost four years after they met in the Jeopardy! green room.
Lewell tells the Times that she plans to join Townes and his two children in South Carolina, once she figures out her immigration paperwork and teaching credential transfer.
“My congratulations to the couple,” Trebek wrote in an email to the couple, after he notified them that he couldn’t make it to the wedding. “Although Maryanne and Michael are not the first couple to have met at ‘Jeopardy’ and gone on to be married, they participated in one of our best Teachers Tournaments.”
“Even though neither won the competition,” Trebek continued, “they certainly are ‘Winners in Love.’”