Fittingly, it was horse racing that brought Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens face to face with his future wife, but it wasn’t on the race track that the love connection occurred. Instead, it was in Pomona, Calif., on the set of the film “Seabiscuit” where Gary was first introduced to Angie.
We sat down with the three-time Kentucky Derby winner and his wife to learn about the couple’s history together and what it takes to create a successful relationship while dividing time between the fast-paced world of horse racing and Hollywood.
How did you meet?
“We met on the set of ‘Seabiscuit,’” Gary explained. “I had never been on a movie set before, and I had a 4:30 or 5 a.m. call time, and I had no idea where I was going or what I was doing. I walked in and she saw me looking around like I was lost, and she came up and said, ‘You look like you need some help.’ That was the first time we met, but I didn’t really see a whole lot of her until the last couple weeks of shooting.”
“I don’t remember meeting him that day, although I’m sure I did see him,” Angie said with a laugh. “But I remember noticing right before the Breeders’ Cup, I heard someone yelling about how they wanted a helicopter, and they weren’t going to film anymore. I said to someone, ‘Who is this guy?’ and he said, ‘Gary Stevens.’ I looked at my call sheet and I’m like, ‘I don’t know who he is.’”
It was on a weekend trip to Vegas during Breeders’ Cup, that it finally dawned on Angie who Gary was.
“We all went to Vegas and were watching the Breeders’ Cup and here comes Gary Stevens. I’m like, ‘Oh, that guy’s a jockey!’ And (a friend) said, ‘Yeah, that’s why he was freaking out about leaving the set. He was freaking out because he wasn’t going to miss Breeders’ Cup for the movie!”
How did he propose?
When Gary asked Angie to marry him, it was a day sooner than he had originally intended. Having not asked her father’s permission, Gary wanted to wait until the couple visited Angie’s parents in Virginia before he proposed.
“It was kind of a mess because I hadn’t met her parents yet,” Gary explained. “It was less than 24 hours before leaving for Virginia. I had come home from the race track and I was having coffee and my phone rang. I went outside, and it was the jeweler.”
After overhearing Gary’s conversation on the phone, Angie became suspicious – but not about the proposal.
“I went outside to talk to the jeweler, and I came back inside and she accused me of talking to another girl, and it was so totally opposite of what was going on.”
Later that night, Angie was laying on the couch feeling sick, while a few of Gary’s friends had come over to play pool. As his friends kept questioning Gary whether Angie had seen the ring, her suspicions began to change.
When Gary’s friends left, he went upstairs and grabbed the ring and got down on one knee to ask Angie to marry him. Then came the difficult part. Gary had to tell Angie’s father, whom he still hadn’t met, the news about the engagement.
“I said, ‘Bill this is Gary. I was going to wait and do this tomorrow night but there were some issues where I couldn’t wait, and you better say yes because your daughter just said yes. I asked her to marry me.’ And there was dead silence for like 15 seconds.”
Finally Angie’s father spoke up and jokingly said to Gary: “Do you have any idea what you’re getting into? Good luck!”
How do you make it work on a day-to-day basis?
“She has a lot of patience in me, and I think we understand each other very well,” Gary said. “She knows how hectic my life was as a jockey, and it’s pretty hectic now doing TV and the acting. She comes from a world where the hours are just as crazy and hectic. She’s tough and she knows my mood swings pretty well, and I know hers pretty well. I have a pretty good idea of when to sit back and keep my mouth shut and say ‘Yes, Dear.’”
“Good answer!” Angie exclaimed. “He likes to golf a lot during the week, and people are like, ‘Doesn’t that bother you?’ and I say, ‘Well not really because I have so much stuff to do, what would he be doing here?’ He would be sitting home alone bored. I’m busy too and he works so hard when he is working that when he has down-time he shouldn’t waste it because he doesn’t get a ton of it. I think we know how each of us works, and we just go with it.”
How do you divide up household chores?
“That’s an awesome question,” Angie said bursting into laughter.
“I vacuumed the kitchen the other day,” Gary said with an embarrassed grin. “She cooks, she does the laundry, the dishes. I do a lot of outdoor stuff.”
Where do you like to go when you’re out ‘n’ about?
“We like going to Disneyland when we’re in California,” Gary said. “We spend about six months here and six months in California, but not consistently – it’s back and forth. We love having friends over and barbecuing.”
“We like to go to a lot of restaurants too,” Angie said. “Out (in California) we go to Café 322 in Sierra Madre. We like to find places that are casual where we can hang out. Nice but subtle. Here we go to Mitchell’s Fish Market some, and we love Scotty’s Big Bubba (Bub-Ba-Que) Barbecue restaurant.”
What is some advice you would offer couples – new or old – who desire to walk through life In Tandem?
“Be forgiving and open-minded and just know that neither one is perfect,” Gary said. “Accept the faults along with the good. It’s peaks and valleys just like life. Get through that and it’s all good.”
“Be faithful to your partner and be understanding,” Gary said.
“Don’t try to change them,” Angie advised. “They are who they are. If you can’t deal with it then don’t get married because it will not change.”
July 18, 2004
Gary and Angie have a 2-year-old daughter, Madison. Gary also has four children from a previous marriage: Ashley, 28, T.C., 27, Riley, 22 and Carlie, 19.
Gary is currently a race commentator/analyst and an actor. He’s also a three-time Kentucky Derby winner and retired jockey. Angie is talent manager at Meticulous Talent Management.
Cats or Cards?
“Since I live in Louisville, it better not come out that I’m a Cats fan,” Gary joked. “I’m from Boise, Idaho, so I’m a huge Boise State fan. I got my Boise State jersey on every Friday night.”
Contact writer Ashley Anderson at email@example.com, 502.498.2051.
photo by CHRIS HUMPHREYS | Voice-Tribune
Category: In Tandem
About the Author (Author Profile)
Ashley spends half her time writing stories at The Voice-Tribune office and half her time out on the town conducting interviews, while occasionally dressing in wild outfits to fully immerse herself in the experience (aka Princess Leia at Comic Con). Ashley is a huge UofL fan and loves the Yankees and the Boston Celtics (she is fully aware of the irony). She hopes to one day outshine Erin Andrews on ESPN and enjoys running, Bardstown Road/Fourth Street, Breaking Bad and reality TV (she’s not ashamed to admit that).