For almost a decade, viewers knew the TV version of Stephen Colbert. While his new gig as host of “The Late Show” has helped to show a softer side of the comedian, Monday’s (July 4) episode helped peel back one more layer to give insight into his past.

Before the show taping began, Colbert took some questions from the audience. The one that really stood out was from one fan who asked how he and his wife met. Jumping at the chance to share the sweet story, Colbert takes us back to his younger days. Colbert was just getting out of a serious relationship when he went back home to Charleston, S.C. Having a week to kill, he found himself out at the theater with his mother one fateful evening.

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“So, I walk into the lobby with my mom,” Colbert says. “I’m wearing a sharkskin suit, looking pretty good. I’m about 40 pounds lighter than I am now. And I’ve got a beard. And I walk in and I see across the lobby this woman, I think, for the first time. Not girl, woman. A beautiful woman in a black linen dress standing below one of the sconces in the lobby, and I think, ‘Her!’ Honest to God, I thought, ‘There’s your wife, you’re going to marry her.’”

The tale goes on to find the two “shooting eyes” at each other until they finally cross paths at the after party buffet table. It’s at this moment that they realized they grew up together and knew a lot of the same people, though they attended different schools. Still, whatever connection he thought they had, Colbert used a method to test the woman’s interest.

“I’m going to give her one minute to get away,” Colbert continues. “So, I turned my back for what now is clearly, to me, the most harrowing minute of my life. What if she’d gone away? But she didn’t! She was still there when I turned around, smiling at me. And now we’re married.”

Stephen and Evelyn McGee-Colbert have since been married for nearly 23 years.