'I knew if she gets the Rose, I can't marry her' - Dáithí Ó Sé on falling in love at first sight with wife Rita
RTE star Dáithí Ó Sé said he "saw the big picture straight away" when he first met his wife Rita Talty when he was a judge and she was a contestant in the Rose of Tralee competition back in 2008.
Before he was the host of the annual pageant, Dáithí was on the judging panel when Rita competed as the New Jersey Rose and he says sparks flew instantly.
"I was judging and I saw the big picture straight away. I was like, 'If she gets the Rose, I can't marry her!' Obviously she hit the jackpot and got the big prize," he joked to VIP Magazine.
"But yes that is kind of a running joke in Rita's house at home. I remember the first time she came into the room, she was wearing a red dress and I remember thinking, 'Oh my God, this one is beautiful'."
The couple, who wed in 2012 after four years together, have a five-year-old son Mícheál together and Rita divides her time between Galway and her native New Jersey. Although their marriage isn't long-distance, Rita makes a point of spending as much time with her American family as possible and in fact, hers and Dáithí 's relationship initially started 3,000 miles apart.
"Well I suppose looking back...it was. There was definitely something there, so you could definitely say that. What I would say is that we became friends before we became lovers," he added. "We were in contact for a long time through Facebook and emails and then eventually, when we did get together, there was just a real strong bond, a real friendship there.
"So the friends thing kind of came long before anything else, which is the foundation for any good kind of relationship."
Earlier this week, his Today co-host Maura Derrane came out to staunchly defend Dáithí as the best host of the show, which takes place from August 17 to the 21, saying he's the only man for the job.
"I know we are all about feminism these days, but there are certain jobs that are for men. I think it would be a disaster if a woman started presenting the Rose of Tralee," she said.
"Daithi is so good at that job; he is ideal because it is a male-driven role, and it would be odd if a female was asking other females those type of questions. Daithi can ask the questions that other people can't and that works."