Philly Love Story: Todd Carmichael and Lauren Hart

Dangerous Grounds host Todd Carmichael, 51, and singer-songwriter Lauren Hart, 48, juggle the La Colombe coffee empire, a music career, a TV show and a family of six.

Video edited by Alexa Carroll; royalty-free Music from Bensound

PM: How did you meet?
Lauren: On my TV show, which was called the 10! Show on NBC. I walked into the lobby and saw him across the room and literally … it was primal.
Todd: And then you interviewed me. I was going to Antarctica to trek to the South Pole. After — I was literally on my way to the airport — you sent one of your friends over, and she said, “Do you think Lauren is cute?”
Lauren: A couple weeks later, I got a phone call from the South Pole.
Todd: I made it.
Lauren: He made it.
Todd: I had a satellite phone and made one call, and it was to Lauren. I asked if she would go on a date.

PM: Where did you go?
Todd: Striped Bass. On the first date, I was a confirmed bachelor. About halfway through the meal, I decided, This is the woman I am gonna marry. And I told her that. She had her arms crossed the entire date — not a really good sign, body- language-wise. I waited four weeks to propose. And she said yes. And then we adopted 500 kids.
Lauren: [laughs] Our latest adventure is our four amazing children that we adopted from Ethiopia.

PM: With all that you have going on, how do you stay connected?
Todd: Politics. We watch the news together. We love movies, we love food, we love swimming pools, right? [turns to Lauren] We love swimming pools. Admit it! We love swimming pools.
Lauren: We also work together on a television show for the Travel Channel. And that keeps us sort of connected. [laughs] Which can be, yeah …

PM: I was going to ask how you handle conflict.
Todd: She goes quiet and I stay calm. … She balances her thinking and emotions in equal proportions,
so when she flares out, it’s probably because I screwed up pretty hard — and I’m just failing to see it. Can I tell you something about this woman? She doesn’t drink coffee. I can’t impress her with coffee.
Lauren: No.

PM: Lauren, how does overcoming cancer play into your relationship?
Lauren: It was such a significant part of my life [before Todd], and to have the person you’re closest with in the world not know that part of you …
Todd: There’s another thing I didn’t know: I never met Gene [Lauren’s father and the longtime announcer for the Flyers]. He completely blazed a trail for me. The kind of things I do, like walking across Death Valley … he and Lauren’s mom were like vaudevillian circus performers. So when I do stuff, it’s just normal … and I fit in that space that he created.
Lauren: Wow. That was nice. I’m speechless.
Todd: People ask me, how does your wife let you do this? That’s just a bizarre question for me. I think Lauren recognizes that you only live once, man, so go for it.
Lauren: It’s true, for sure. I went from a really dark time to having everything that I want and could ever ask for.
Todd: Everything I value in life has come hard … so hard is almost the shadow of beauty, the thing that I love.
Lauren: [turns to Todd, smiles]
Todd: See? She’s so pretty. She looks at me and just smiles …
Lauren: [laughs] I think when you are in a really good relationship, that person reflects you. You see your strengths and weaknesses more clearly. It makes it easier to be a better you.

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Originally published in the February 2015 issue of Philadelphia magazine.