Flying the friendly skies turned out to be one lucky lady's chance meeting with Cupid and the man of her dreams, well, sort of. WNBA legend Lisa Leslie was ending a getaway in Mobile, Alabama, visiting family when she met her future husband's friend in the airport.
"He told me that he and his wife were huge fans," says Leslie, who's set to star in a new ABC reality series. "Then he told me he had a great guy for me to meet and thought we'd hit it off and even said, 'You're tall; he's tall,' and I'm thinking, I'm not trying to meet anyone. I'm single; I'm good."
But Leslie declined until this stranger's persistence wore her down and she handed over her digits for his friend. After ignoring three consecutive calls from Michael Lockwood, a 6-foot, 7-inch-tall pilot for UPS, Leslie finally returned his call after hearing his final message: "I've called you three times. C'mon, you can at least call a brother back!"
"He made me laugh and I love to laugh," says Leslie. "When I called him back we talked for eight hours that day and then every day for a month before meeting in person. It was nice to connect with him on a spiritual and intellectual level without having the pressure of the physical."
Of course, Lockwood had the advantage of finding pictures of her on the Internet and, according to Leslie, only had one hope: that she had a little junk in her trunk.
"Men are hilarious; he kept saying, ‘I knew I liked you but I was like, please let her have a little butt,'" says Leslie with a laugh. "As you can see, three-plus years later we are inseparable."
The couple settled on a destination wedding in Maui with 85 of their closest family and friends and remained there for ten days to enjoy their activity-filled honeymoon of biking, hiking, visiting waterfalls and volcanoes and more.
Now, a blended family with their 21-month-old daughter, Lauren Jolie, and Michael's daughters, who are 17 and 15, Leslie, who will retire from the WNBA this fall, confesses that she loves being a mom and wife.
"I love being a mom because every day there's a new challenge," says Los Angeles Sparks champ. "And as far as the love of my life, well, Michael's love for me has taught me the difference between having a man in your life versus a boy, and I couldn't be happier for that lesson and his love."