Viewers of ABC's Good Morning America had never before heard longtime weather anchor Sam Champion talk about his personal life on the air.
But on Monday (8 October), three days after his engagement to Rubem Robierb was reported in a story in The New York Times, Champion made clear that he is beginning a new era as an openly gay television personality.
Rubem was backstage when anchor George Stephanopoulos said to Champion: 'I just want to thank you for starting out our week in such a happy way.'
News of the engagement had quickly spread on Twitter Friday (5 October) and Stephanopoulos observed how wonderful it must be for the couple 'to feel all that love coming in from all over the world.'
Champion said the response has indeed been overwhelming.
'I felt like we lived in a small town… I was born in Paducah, Kentucky, and to me that’s exactly what it felt like. We walked out on the street and everyone was like, ‘Hey, congratulations,’' he said. 'Thank you for the tweets, and the Facebook and just coming up on the street and saying the most wonderful things.'
The engagement news was the first public confirmation Champion had made that he is gay although he has long been out in his private life.
'I never saw this coming in my life until I met the most wonderful, giving, loving, caring person I think on the planet,' he gushed as the GMA camera panned to a beaming Robierb. 'I am so, so lucky to have someone like this in my life.'