One spring afternoon in 1984, I was sitting in my living room with my friend Debra Hill, the producer and co-writer of Halloween. I was 25 years old and feeling cautiously optimistic about life, having just broken off a relationship and purchased a beautiful apartment in Los Angeles. I felt I'd really voted for myself—chosen to take financial and personal risks to become fully independent.
Debra and I were flipping through a Rolling Stone magazine when I turned to a photograph of three men. I looked at the man on the right, wearing a plaid shirt and a waggish smirk. I'd never seen him before, but I pointed at him. "I'm going to marry that man," I said to my friend.
"That's Chris Guest," said Debra. "He's in a very funny new movie called This is Spinal Tap. I know his agent." The next day I called the agent, gave him my number, and told him to have Chris call me if he was interested. I waited. Chris never called.
I went on with my life. I began dating a sweet man, but we both knew it wasn't for good. When he had to leave for an extended business trip, I dropped him off at the airport to say a friendly but final goodbye. From the airport, I drove straight to Hugo's restaurant in West Hollywood to have dinner with friends.
As I sat down at Hugo's, I glanced up and found myself staring straight at Chris, three tables away. He waved to me as if to say, "I'm the guy you called." I waved back: "I'm the woman who called you." A few minutes later, he got up to leave. Standing 20 feet away, he shrugged his shoulders and put up his hand as if to say, "I'll see ya." As he left, I looked down at my plate.
The next day, on June 28, the phone rang. On July 2, Chris and I had our first date at Chianti Ristorante on Melrose. And by August 8, when he left to tape a year of Saturday Night Live in New York City, we'd fallen in love.
One day in September, we were talking on the phone. "I went for a walk along Fifth Avenue today," he said.
"What'd you do there?" I said.
"Do you like diamonds?" he asked. We were married on December 18. This winter will be our 20th anniversary.
Chris and I have a wonderful, complicated, imperfect life. And a very real marriage. I'll never know why I thought we'd understand each other when I saw his photograph. Hidden in that smirk, I think, was a little secret that only I knew.
Jamie Lee Curtis stars in Christmas with the Kranks, in theaters November 24th.