John Hughes is the husband of Kristen Welker, a White House correspondent for NBC and the moderator for the second presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. The debate Welker moderates will be the final opportunity for the Republican and Democrat nominees to face off before election day.
While his wife is one of the premier journalists in American politics, Hughes has a much lower profile. He currently works as a marketing executive with Merck, a multinational pharmaceutical company that ranks among the largest companies of its type in the world. He was promoted to the role at Merck in 2015 after working with the company since 2006, per The Sun.
Hughes & Welker Were Introduced By A Mutual FriendHughes and Welker went on their first date in October 2014, after being set up by mutual friend Laure Nagle. When he first saw the journalist when they met in the Center City neighborhood of Philadelphia, Hughes admitted that he was a bit intimidated by her, according to a report by The New York Times.
"When she got out of the car, I immediately felt like I was out of my league. I remember thinking to myself, 'If I can just make her laugh, maybe I'll have a chance.'"Hughes' strategy worked, with Welker saying that she felt at ease and comfortable around him. Their seemingly opposing personalities complemented each other, with the eternally calm Hughes balancing the energetic Welker and her fast-paced professional career.
The journalist's hectic lifestyle was already evident by the couple's second date. Hughes made the trip to Washington, D.C., to see her for dinner, but Welker was delayed by work for more than two hours. When she finally arrived, Hughes was not upset or annoyed. He had actually made her a presidential-themed crossword puzzle while waiting. Welker says that was the moment he won her over.
"That's the moment he got me. As a White House correspondent, it was so touching, and it marked him different than anyone else I ever dated."
The Couple Wed In 2017Hughes and Welker were smitten with each other, but the distance and work sometimes meant they sometimes went months without seeing each other. However, that didn't strain their relationship, and Hughes proposed after six months of dating. He made another trip to Washington, D.C., to take advantage of a 24-hour window Welker had free. He got down on a knee outside the Lincoln Memorial and presented her with a diamond ring.
"I wanted to ask her outside in a place you could walk by years later and tell your kids that this was the spot we got engaged," Hughes said.
The couple was married on March 4, 2017, at a ceremony at the Bellevue Hotel in Philadelphia, a block away from the location of their first date. Attendees included NBC News political reporter Kelly O'Donnell, Meet the Press host Chuck Todd, and Andrea Mitchell. For the event, Welker wore a strapless Vera Wang wedding gown and Hughes opted for a Michael Kors tuxedo. Their first dance was to "At Last" by Etta James.
More than three years later, little has changed. Things haven't slowed down for Welker, but one day remains sacred. Every year they celebrate the anniversary of their first date by recreating the event that started it all.