They wrote their love story while scripting others
Bill Prady and Jessica Queller both remember almost every twist of their nearly two-decade trip together. The details of their relationship trajectory line up like those of a good romantic comedy. It’s the subplot that trips them up.
The couple agree on the essentials. They met in Los Angeles in 2003 as editors of the “Gilmore Girls” television series. They become friends. “Bill was the smartest guy in the room, and so sweet too,” Ms. Queller said.
Mr. Prady was divorced and remarried to a young girl at the time and considered Ms. Queller “the embodiment of Manhattan.” She was surprisingly smart and sophisticated.
When they met, Ms Queller, who grew up on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village, was in shock over the recent loss of her mother to ovarian cancer. She had taken a year off in Hollywood to take care of herself in Manhattan, then commuted from Los Angeles to New York during another year of her mother’s illness, before Ms. Queller and her sister spent the holidays. last three months of their mother’s life with her in Southampton.
She returned to Los Angeles from Southampton with a goal.
“I was like, ‘OK, now I have to find a husband and start a family,'” said Ms Queller, who describes herself as a “free spirit” and a “crazy romantic.” But in 2004, just as she started to go out on purpose, she received her own disturbing health news: that she had something called the BRCA1 gene, which put her at an increased risk of developing cancer. breast and ovaries.
Ms Queller, then 34, faced a tangle of thorny decisions. Should she have a prophylactic double mastectomy? Could she bear a child and then have her ovaries removed? Did she even have time to meet her soul mate?
Friends weighed in, including Mr. Prady, who suggested she “be practical” and settle in with a “suitable companion.”
In a March 2005 opinion piece in The New York Times, Ms. Queller announced that she would have both breasts removed. About three years later, his ironic and heartbreaking memories of his ordeal, “It’s nice what changes, “was published. She started writing for the original” Gossip Girl “on the CW network. And she bought sperm banks.
“My dream has always been to become a mother, even though I didn’t have a partner,” said Ms. Queller, who after nine intrauterine inseminations made her wish come true. In 2009, she gave birth to a daughter, Sophie, and then had her ovaries removed.
Mr. Prady, originally from Detroit, has reached his own milestones. In 2007, he created the hit TV show “The Big Bang Theory” with producer Chuck Lorre. Five years later, he joined the University of Southern California as an adjunct faculty member at its film arts school. He even had an asteroid named after him, by University of Hawaii astronomer Schelte J. Bus, in 2015.
In 2017, 14 years after they met, Ms. Queller and Mr. Prady, then a divorcing father of two, met again in San Diego at Comic-Con, an annual gathering of superheroes and comics. book fanatics. They had kept in touch casually over the years, but she had no idea her marriage was over.
Ms. Queller, now 51 and executive producer of the “Supergirl” TV show, was there on business. Mr. Prady, 61, who signed a deal with Netflix last year to develop scripted series for the streaming platform, is a regular Comic-Con attendee and took part in a panel on “The Big Bang Theory “. (A fanatic of all things sci-fi, he once took the New York subway wearing a Starfleet uniform from Star Trek.)
Shortly after this altercation, they agreed to meet for a casual lunch in Los Angeles. Nor refresh. “I didn’t think it was a date until Bill started to describe his ideal wife,” Ms. Queller said. “He described me exactly, until someone who read ‘Anna Karenina’, my favorite book!”
Mr Prady, who admits he may be a bit “spectral” and not that sensitive to social cues, was unaware of Ms Queller’s hypothesis. He cheerfully suggested a follow-up dinner. “I came from a 17-year marriage and reconnected with old friends, building community,” he said. “I know everything, but I was advised to go out into the world and I followed that advice.”
Now here’s where their story gets a little cloudy. It’s not so much that they don’t agree on who took the first step, but rather a case of unintentional conflicting messages.
Mr Prady insists it all sounded pretty platonic until Ms Queller covered his hand with hers at the bar at their follow-up dinner. The gesture almost made him spill his margarita. “Well, it’s a done deal,” Mr. Prady recalls. “I have found my person and now I will move on to other things that I need to accomplish in my life.” In Mrs. Queller’s mind, however, she offered nothing more than a gracious pat of the hand.
Mr Prady said his performance was influenced by Ms Queller’s reaction when he told her at dinner that he was considering buying a seat at TriBeCa. “She said, ‘Oh, we don’t belong to TriBeCa. We are old. We belong to the Upper West Side. ‘ “, Recalled Mr. Prady. “There was something captivating about the first person plural,” he added. Mr. Prady sent Ms. Queller some New York apartment listings that same evening.
But after that, he said, “like the kids say, she ghosted me.”
Ms Queller said she feared a love affair with Mr Prady could jeopardize their friendship. He sent her a pleading email acknowledging his romantic intentions, but she barely responded and her radio silence left him puzzled.
He missed her, but ultimately decided to cancel the possibility of a courtship in a heartfelt email. “Even though I think you are the right person for me, I have no interest in convincing you to love me,” he wrote to Ms Queller.
Still, he couldn’t help but share his dotted vision of them in this note. “I wrote that I could see how we would be together,” Mr. Prady said. “I could see us walking home from a Broadway play to an Upper West Side apartment. “
Mrs. Queller noticed his frankness. “It was an incredibly beautiful email about love and relationships,” she said. “Something has changed in me. But still, I ran away for eight more months.
During those months, Mr. Prady followed a strict friendship protocol and invited Ms. Queller to film screenings, political events and to the theater. “Most of the time I couldn’t go because I was a working single mom,” she said. “But I remember thinking each time, ‘Wow, this is something I really wish I had done.'”
Ms. Queller attended an intimate private screening of “Rear Window” at Mr. Prady’s home. “It was just a wonderful night,” she said, “and yet my feet were still cold. Looking back, I think something in me knew that could be it and I was. terrified.
In July 2018, nearly a year after they reconnected, the two met for dinner once again, at her suggestion. Unbeknownst to Mr. Prady, the woman he had since pursued unsuccessfully had finally returned – after scheduling an emergency session with his Manhattan psychiatrist.
“I finally stopped chasing unavailable men,” Ms. Queller said. “I decided to open up to this wonderful person, available and interested and, on paper, perfect for me. The two returned to San Diego for Comic-Con a few weeks later as a couple.
The following year, in December, Mr. Prady invited Ms. Queller while they were in Vancouver, British Columbia, to attend a 100th episode celebration of “Supergirl.”
The couple have twice postponed their wedding due to Covid. Meanwhile, Ms Queller and her daughter Sophie, now 12, moved into Mr Prady’s home in the Toluca Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles with him and his two children, Stella, 22, and Asher, 14 years old. want to pressure test a blended family, do it during a pandemic where no one can leave the house, ”Prady said.
On September 11, Ms. Queller and Mr. Prady married in the McGraw Rotunda of the New York Public Library, with Barbara Salinitro, a retired New York State Family Court judge, officiating. 140 guests were present, vaccinated and tested for Covid. They included actors Calista Flockhart and LeVar Burton, director John Landis and Broadway director Gordon Greenberg.
The bride wore an A-line lace gown by Vera Wang; the groom donned a tuxedo by Mattarazi Uomo. Passages by Ernest Hemingway and the poets Jalaluddin Rumi and Rainer Maria Rilke were read during the black tie ceremony.
Mr. Prady, who previously wrote for the TV show “Fraggle Rock” and worked with Jim Henson, asked puppeteer Dave Goelz, who plays Gonzo, to perform the song “I’ll be back someday” from the film. from 1979. “The Muppets Movie.”
In front of the crowd via video, Mr. Goelz sang the tender line: “There is no word yet for old friends who have just met.”
On this day
When September 11, 2021
Or The New York Public Library in Manhattan
Literary touches The table assignments were made to resemble the Dewey Decimal System catalog records. Each guest also received two books: “Nine Horses” by poet Billy Collins and “A Farewell to Arms” by Ernest Hemingway.
The surprise soloist During the wedding procession, Mr. Prady sang to the bride a saxophone interpretation of “Moon River” while Betty Buckley, the Tony Award-winning actor and friend of the couple, sang.