As the world mourns the sudden passing of Richard Holbrooke at 69, attention is turning to his wife, Kati Marton, an author, journalist, and women's advocate who had been married to the U.S. diplomat for 15 years.
The two had a storybook romance: They were friends for 10 years before connecting in Paris on Christmas Day and impulsively taking off on a three-day tour de France -- how's that for a great first date? And the rest, as they say, is history.
It's no wonder the two had such great chemistry: Both were passionate about world affairs. Holbrooke served as a US diplomat under every Democratic president from John F. Kennedy to Obama. The Budapest-born Marton has worked as a National Public Radio reporter, ABC News Bonn bureau chief, and authored four books -- including A Death in Jerusalem (1994).
The beautiful part of this story is that Holbrooke and Marton had admired each other from afar for years before finally connecting late in life. Marton once gushed to the press that she "didn't realize such happiness was possible at our ripe age." It was a third marriage for both of them.
No story more clearly demonstrates the intense passion they felt for each other than this one from New York Magazine, which details how Holbrooke presented Marton with a scribbled document after they began seeing each other seriously for several months. Marton said:
Richard gave me a list of every time he'd seen me in nine years. He has a phenomenal memory. It included things like elevator sightings, large parties, small parties. I was so overwhelmed. Even if I wasn't already half in love with him, that would have pushed me over, because of that sustained devotion and the fact that he never let on.
Here's Holbrooke's reaction when asked about the experience:
I wanted her [he growled]. But the point of the story is that she remembered those times, too. She was in denial -- she didn't realize she was irresistibly drawn to me.
This lovely story makes the news of his death that much more heartbreaking.
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