Married to Medicine LA couple Asha and Larry Blankinship are new to reality television, but not to love. The actress and physiatrist share the same alma mater, but sparks didn’t fly until years later when they both moved across the country to pursue their careers. Asha, a budding actress, and Larry, a physiatrist, were introduced through mutual friends and soon realized their values ran parallel to each other.
ESSENCE spoke to Asha and Larry about their love story, their two year Wakanda-themed anniversary celebration and their unconventional form of foreplay.
ESSENCE: How did you two meet?
Asha: We went to Howard University together but the catch to that is we did not know each other. We’re only a year apart. We have many mutual friends and didn’t meet until Los Angeles. Larry was doing his residency here and of course I am and was pursuing the dream. A mutual friend of ours from Howard University came to visit L.A. and Larry was there and so was I. That happened about three times.
Larry: Asha was Miss Howard University and that year 98/99 and my friend a good friend of mine was Mr. Howard at the same time that Asha was Miss Howard so.
Larry – how did you know that she was the one?
When Asha and I were dating, what really I liked about her was her energy. She was a go getter and that’s what stood out to me. She was speaking to me about her grind as an actress and the Milk and Honey project she was working on. I obviously knew of some things that she had done at Howard University, so I just saw a beautiful woman who was goal driven and on a mission. It was admirable and I liked it. I needed it. I wanted it.
Ok, so tell me all about the proposal. We want to know everything!
Larry: Well I knew it had to make sense for the pocket book, but I kept on thinking of something that was sentimental. Honestly I woke up one morning and said, ‘I’m going to get a bunch of pictures from the first time we met up until present day when I’m proposing to her.’ I got a nice engraved photo album that said ‘love’ or some sort and put the pictures in chronologically. Then the last picture of the photo album was of myself down on one knee, with the ring in my hand. So when she flipped through and got to the last picture, I then got on my knees and looked like a duplicate of the picture.
Asha: I’ll say this too – it’s really representative of [the fact that] we met after age 35. I think when you are older, you understand what’s really important. It set a trend for our actual wedding. We know a lot of people, we went to Howard University and had a lot of family and friends to where he could have done something big. But I think he did it for him and me and God. So I feel like we did the same thing for our wedding.
Speaking of that, I see you both chose a destination wedding. How did you come to that decision?
Larry: We looked at the list of everyone we want to come and initially we had, what, three hundred people? It was something ridiculous and we couldn’t really trim it. So knowing that we would be footing the bill for the whole wedding with no [help], we had to come to reality that a big wedding may not be the move. So then we moved on to the next idea of doing eloping, just Asha and myself. We looked at destinations and landed on Riviera Maya, Mexico.
Asha: We made sure we got what we wanted. Larry and I were at a certain age and with finances, we knew we didn’t want to go in debt from getting married. We didn’t want to put it on a credit card, we also wanted to save for a home. We also wanted to travel, so we took the whole year before and instead of that money going for people to eat at our wedding, we went to Shanghai and Buenos Aries. We were able to make memories and moments where we really connected.
I saw on Instagram that you two recently had a Wakanda-themed anniversary celebration. Was that an extension to friends and family that weren’t at your destination wedding?
Asha: Yes, it was our second anniversary and we didn’t do a big wedding. So the plan was always to eventually do a party because we realized it’s a process to really join where two become one. The number two, for us, signifies that. The second year married, we felt like we were really in a good place and we wanted to just celebrate that with our friends and family. So we got everyone to dress in African royalty, because any way we can tie ourselves back to the motherland, we love!
With you being a fairly newly married couple, were there any reservations about bringing your relationship to TV?
Asha: As an actress and a producer, I’m very aware of the images of black women on television. So for me, the problem that I had with reality TV [previously] was the lack of variety. I am okay with the black women that are screaming all the time and angry, but if that’s the only archetype that’s available, it’s problematic. So once Larry agreed we should do it, I said to myself. ‘well, you got to be on the field to change the game.’
You’ve also spoken on the show about wanting to expand your family. Where are you in that process, if you don’t mind us asking?
Larry: We’re doing ovulation tests and are actively trying
Asha: Yes, we’re on the journey. So hopefully we will have some news soon!
“This might be controversial, but I feel like [golf] is kind of our foreplay.” – Asha
Amazing! So lastly, you both have busy schedules. Asha – with you being on two TV shows and Larry with your work schedule, how do you guys squeeze in quality time?
Larry: The main thing is we’re intentional about our Friday dates. We both typically have a lighter load on that day and golf is usually what we do.
Asha: It’s funny because Larry’s been golfing for fifteen or twenty years. I did not enjoy it at first and was very bad at it, but one of our therapists recommended it as a way to develop great communication. Larry my husband got me golf lessons and now I love it. This might be controversial, but I feel like it’s kind of our foreplay on Fridays, because we get to be intimate and talk and that stuff is important to keep the spark. It feels like we’re just dating again.
Married to Medicine Los Angeles airs Sunday nights at 9pm on Bravo.