Love & Fame
One celebrity couple agrees to let Oprah's cameras go where few cameras have gone before. They've never done a television interview together…until now.
He's a Grammy-winning artist who's preparing to launch a new album. She's a supermodel, jewelry designer, television producer and star of Bravo's hit series Project Runway. Seal and his wife, Heidi Klum, have all the credentials of a power couple, but their careers never take top priority.
"I think the key to being a power couple, if there is such a thing, is that you just really have to make sure that you have your priorities right," Seal says. "You have to make sure that your family [comes] first."
This famous family splits its time between Los Angeles, New York, Mexico and Germany, Heidi's birthplace.
"I always wanted to have a big family and a wonderful man, and I totally have that," Heidi says. "But who would have thought that it [would be] Seal! How lucky am I?"
"We are different, but then I think that we're so different in many ways that it makes us so compatible," Seal says. "We're polar opposites, if you like."
Heidi says she fell for Seal the moment they met…and it didn't hurt that he was wearing form-fitting bicycle shorts at the time. "I met him in a hotel lobby in New York City, and he came in just from the gym. I was sitting there and I was like, 'Wow, he's a very handsome man,'" she says. "I was physically, straightaway attracted to him, and then we got talking, and I was like, 'Wow, he's such a warm and charming man.'"
After meeting in New York, the pair started dating and fell in love. At the time, Heidi was pregnant with her first child, Leni, her daughter from a previous relationship.
Seal says he knew Heidi was the woman he wanted to marry when he saw her during the fifth month of her pregnancy. "We hadn't seen each other for about a month and a half, and I came to New York. She came to meet me at the hotel room, and this time when I saw her, she had this bump," he says. "I think it was at that point, when I saw her with a stomach, that's when I knew. Of course we were in love before that, but that [was the] defining moment."
"The most amazing days before I had my family was when I would be snowboarding up in the high alpine in Whistler," he says. "I thought to myself, 'Well, if I propose to my wife, Heidi, I want it to be really special because, after all, this is the one time that I'm going to do this, right?' I wanted her to be a part of the most treasured moments in my life to that point."
To prepare for the proposal, Seal asked friends to load a bed, food, rose petals and champagne into a helicopter and transport them to the top of a mountain. Then, as soon as the weather would permit, Seal flew Heidi to the peak and asked her to be his wife.
They said "I do" on a beach in Mexico on May 10, 2005. This was their first wedding, but it wasn't their last! Every year on their anniversary, Seal and Heidi get married all over again.
"We do the ceremony again every year," Seal says. "It just keeps you focused. It reminds you why you got married—not that we need any reminding."
Since 2005, the couple has welcomed two sons into their lives, Henry and Johan. Despite challenging careers and the demands of three small children, Heidi and Seal keep their spark alive.
"The most important thing is that we put each other first. I always say that it goes in order of priority—it's my wife first, then the family, then my career," Seal says. "The most common hiccup is when couples get married … and then they have kids, and it [becomes] all about the kids, which is understandable because they're miraculous. But you've got to put each other first…she will always be number one for me."
"I try not to travel that much anymore," she says. "A lot of the people that I'm working with, they're really great and they come to me most of the time. They love coming to California because the weather is great, and it's a nice excuse for them to leave their office and shoot somewhere else. I'm very fortunate."
For this celebrity couple, living in California has its ups and downs. Heidi and Seal can spend more quality time with their children, but they also have to spend more time dealing with the paparazzi. Instead of getting angry at photographers, Seal tries to keep things in perspective.
"It's mildly annoying, but when you look at the grand scheme of things, I have an amazing wife, three healthy, amazing children, a job that I love doing," he says. "If [that means] dealing with kind of the trappings of that, or of the occupational hazards, let's say, that's a really small price to pay."
To have a happy life, Seal says there's only one thing a man needs…a happy wife! "In a funny kind of way, I learned that from my father, because my father and my mother had a very strange relationship growing up," he says. "It wasn't the most functional relationship, so I guess they kind of led by example. They showed me the things that I shouldn't really do."
No matter how bad things got at home, Seal always envisioned a better life for himself. "I was always the kid in the back of the class … staring out the window and daydreaming about this ideal life that I didn't have at home."
Two years later, Seal—known as "Henry" at that time—moved in with his biological father. "[I was raised] extremely poor and not in the most harmonious household," he says.
For 40 years, Seal says he wondered what happened to the people who knew him during his formative years. Then, last year on his birthday, Heidi called from Germany with a surprise. "She says to me, 'I think I found your parents,'" he says. "And I go, 'What?' She goes, 'Yeah, I put an ad out in the Rumford Chronicle, and it was answered. These people sent me a picture, and it kind of looks like you, but I'm not sure.'"
Heidi immediately sent Seal the photo over e-mail. "I'm sitting in the studio and all of a sudden, l literally start streaming with tears," he says. Seal recognized himself as the little boy in the picture.
They remember Seal as a little boy named "Henry" who liked to play on the seesaw. "Wherever we went, he was always there," says one member of the Schooling family. "It was just like being a brother to us and that was it. He was another addition to our family, and we just never treated him any different to anybody else."
When Seal went to live with his mother, the Schoolings say they wanted to get into contact with him, but they didn't know how.
To help bring back memories of his early childhood, Oprah Show producers put the Schoolings' family photos in an album for Seal. "He's never seen pictures of himself when he was a little kid," Heidi says. "Every time we talk about when he was a little boy, he has no memory and he has no one that could ever tell him anything."
Now, he has photos and someone to share stories with. Oprah flew Hilary, Seal's foster sister, all the way from London for a surprise reunion!
This album also features a duet by Seal and Heidi called "The Wedding Song," which Seal wrote the morning of their wedding. "I guess I was thinking to myself, 'What is it that I want to say, first of all, and most people would really want to say on their wedding day?'" he says. "And out came that song. … The best songs always happen like that. They tend to be quite effortless."
Seal says his wife is his best friend, first and foremost. "There are certain things that you may take for granted with your spouse, but there are very few things that you really take for granted with your best friend," he says. "You never really want to let your best friend down. The fundamental thing that you have for your best friend is respect. That's why I view her first as my best friend…then my wife."
Married seven years, Stevie and Kai have two powerhouse careers, eight children between them…and the stamina to handle it all! "God blessed us to find love with each other and to have two wonderful children," Stevie says. "And God blessed her to have this talent of design."
Preview Kai's spring fashions.
While Kai is upstairs in her office creating new designs, Stevie is often downstairs at the piano. Though he's constantly working on new music, Stevie still finds the time to clown around with the children.
"With children, it's always going to be sort of noisy. [There's] always activity," he says. "But I think that kind of reflects the spirit of the parents, the family … and to me, that's exciting."
Life with eight children and demanding careers can get chaotic, but Kai says she and Stevie always find time for each other.
"Steve and I have very similar schedules," she says. "When we have some time within our schedule, he will call me and say, 'I'm on my way home. What are we having for dinner?' Or I will go see him—we find the time. We find the time because we love each other."
With homes in both Maui and Malibu, Laird, one of the world's best and boldest surfers, trains year-round to conquer some of the earth's biggest waves—some swells reach eight stories high! His wife, Gabrielle, is a professional beach volleyball star, model and spokeswoman who has her own line of clothing and fitness videos.
If that's not enough to keep this couple busy, they're also the parents of three children!
Kidding aside, Gabrielle says she and her husband work to pay attention to each other's needs. "It's knowing, 'Okay, that person has a really busy week, or they're shooting or they're surfing or they're competing,' or whatever they're doing, and the other person knows how to step around and support them," she says.
In addition to supporting each other, Laird attributes their success to working as a team. "When two people get together and their unity becomes greater than just either one of them individually, but they both have their own identities, I think that's a big part of it, too."
Kai Milla's fashions