Donna Hanover

It all began with a scandalous headline-making divorce: Donna Hanover's high profile marriage to the former mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, disintegrated into one of New York City's nastiest splits. Amid rumors of her husband's infidelity, Donna struggled to keep their 16-year marriage together.

The bitter and very public battle finally ended in divorce. Donna resigned herself to a life of being alone—but destiny had another plan.

Out of the blue, Donna received a call from Ed, a long-lost high school sweetheart. The surprise of hearing from her first love made Donna's knees weak—she immediately sat down and said a silent prayer: "Please don't let this be about fundraising."
Donna Hanover and new husband Ed

Donna and Ed arranged to meet, and what started out as "just coffee" turned into a five hour heart-to-heart. Ed even apologized for the way he had broken up with her over thirty years earlier. Donna was more than ready to forgive and forget: "You know," she said to Ed, "there are a couple of guys since you who owe me a bigger apology."

Donna and Ed were married in 2003. What song played at their wedding? "My Boyfriend's Back," of course.

Both agree that the circumstances—good and bad—leading up to their reunion happened for a reason. "It's a blessing that we have the opportunity to learn a lot of life's lessons and make mistakes in the past and learn from those, because this is forever. And it really doesn't get much better than this," says Ed.
James and Casey

Love hurts—just ask Casey and James, two strangers who met while recovering from a combined total of 16 cosmetic surgeries. Chosen to receive extreme makeovers on ABC's hit reality show, they hoped that a new look would help them find love—but cupid didn't wait for the final reveal. Despite bandages, bruises and hundreds of stitches, Casey and James were instantly attracted to one another.

After getting to know each other from the inside out, Casey and James were married last year. James says he doesn't understand why Casey wanted to change her appearance—to him she was already perfect. But he does admit that he was floored by her big makeover: "I lost it. She was drop-dead gorgeous."

Casey revealed a new look on Oprah: she's 8 months pregnant!
Bart and Brenda

Pregnant at 16. A forced adoption. High school sweethearts pulled apart by the unbearable pain of giving up their son…who could imagine that this heartbreaking situation would turn into a miraculous testament to the power of love?

Brenda and Bart were young, crazy about each other, and secretly engaged when Brenda became pregnant. They wanted to marry, but her parents insisted that she put the baby up for adoption. The loss of their son drove a wedge between the young couple and Brenda and Bart slowly drifted apart. Eventually they both moved on with their lives, married other people and had other children. They lost touch, but Bart never lost hope. He always carried in his wallet a picture of his newborn baby boy.

Twenty-six years after breaking up, Bart decided to search for Brenda online through Within an hour of receiving his e-mail, Brenda and Bart were chatting on the phone like teenagers.

Brenda and Bart discovered they were both divorced and arranged to meet. They fell in love with each other all over again… and the very next day, they began the search for their son.
Andy and Madisyn

Brenda and Bart's amazing love story doesn't stop there. About a month and a half after they began their search for their long-lost son, Brenda happened to fall into a conversation with a stranger in a car dealership about her search. Fascinated, the woman asked when Brenda's son was born. Amazingly, the woman's aunt had adopted a baby boy born on the same day, at the same hospital, as Brenda's son. Soon, it was confirmed: the woman's cousin Andy was Brenda and Bart's biological son!

It was a reunion 27 years in the making and the resemblance between the three was undeniable. Brenda and Bart, already engaged, felt their dreams had been answered, but there was another precious surprise on the way. A month after reuniting with Andy, Brenda found out she was pregnant!

Andy was there to welcome his baby sister in to the world and even picked out her name—Madisyn.
David and Diana

Newly divorced, Diana was a head nurse working 12-hour shifts to raise her three daughters when she received a devastating diagnosis of her own: she had leukemia. Without a bone marrow transplant, doctors said she would be dead in nine months. Diana's relatives were tested, but no one was a bone marrow match. As a last resort, doctors turned to a national registry in hopes of finding a match from an anonymous donor. It was a chance of 1 in 5 million of finding a perfect match. Meanwhile, Diana was slipping closer towards death.

Here's where David enters the story. Years ago when he was in the Navy, David had checked a box on a form agreeing to be a potential bone marrow donor. Although doctors had told Diana her donor would likely be of Puerto Rican heritage, David (of Scandinavian decent) was a perfect match! David's bone marrow saved Diana's life.

Diana wanted to thank her anonymous angel in person, but for months he declined. Eventually, he relented and they talked on the phone. When they finally met, their instant friendship turned into mutual attraction. They developed and long distance relationship and fell in love—now they're engaged!
Ed and Helen

Deeply in love and inseparable for more than 30 years, Helen and Ed sold nearly everything they owned, bought a yacht and set sail on the trip of a lifetime around the globe. They decided to spend Christmas in Thailand on Phi Phi Don island. On December 26, 2004, Ed and Helen were walking on the beach when the tsunami hit.

Ed knew they couldn't outrun it so he told Helen they had to hold onto each other. After the first wave hit, Helen was knocked unconscious. Ed thought they had survived…then the second wave broke and they were forced underwater.

"There was no doubt in my mind it was over," says Ed. "And I asked myself a question: 'I wonder how long it takes to die?' It wasn't even important. I just wasn't ready to give her up. I wasn't going to do it. So we held on."

Miraculously, Helen and Ed survived. A stranger in a canoe rescued them and got them to safety. Days ago, Helen and Ed returned to the site where they were swept away by the tsunami. "It looks as peaceful as the day we got here, it feels strange, it feels almost surreal," says Ed. "I think I had a lot of fear about going back, but I felt pulled there and I needed to go back. It was important and part of the healing process. And when I left the island, I think it was healthy thing because I saw hundreds of volunteers of students and kids working on the island to restore it. And I think that was probably the biggest memorial."

Though both Helen and Ed bear the physical and emotional scars of the tsunami, they've hired a delivery skipper to help them complete the amazing journey they started.

Learn how Oprah's Angel Networks is helping tsunami disaster victims.
Leon and Nakkia

You never know where cupid's arrow will strike. In 1990, Leon, 30 and single, came to The Oprah Winfrey Show looking for love. Though he didn't find it in the audience that day, love was waiting for him just around the corner.

When Leon saw Nakkia coming out of a restaurant near Harpo Studios, he boldly asked her for her phone number. Nakkia took a chance, never expecting he'd call her. But Leon called the next day and they dated for six months. Unfortunately, Nakkia wasn't ready for a serious relationship and broke up with Leon. Five months later, when she was still thinking about him, Nakkia tried to call him but Leon's number had been disconnected. Broken-hearted, Nakkia thought she had let "the one" get away.

Fast-forward 14 years. Nakkia was shopping in a mall when she bumped into…Leon! "I thought I was dreaming," says Leon. "I hugged her and didn't want to let her go." Now Leon and Nakkia are inseparable and will be getting married in August.
FROM: Mayor Rudy Giuliani's Ex-Wife Donna Hanover Reveals Her New Love
Published on January 25, 2005


Next Story