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November 1, 2014

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Love in the limelight: Las Vegas couples talk romance on Valentine’s Day

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Leila Navidi

Jerry and Lois Tarkanian.

Love in the Limelight

Ronnie Abaldonado, dancer, SuperCr3w, performer with Jabbawockeez at Monte Carlo and Caroline Sol, cocktail server at XS. Launch slideshow »

Las Vegas couples from all walks of life share their stories of how they met -- and what has kept them together -- on this Valentine's Day.

Kim and Dana Wagner

TV ANCHORS, WAKE UP WITH THE WAGNERS

KIM: We went to Europe together and he proposed on the Eiffel Tower in Paris six months to the day of our first date. His eyes were this big, so I knew he wasn’t joking. It was a leap of faith. He’s 12 years older, so I wasn’t really looking to get married. Of course, the best decision that I’ve ever made in my entire life was saying yes to marrying Dana Wagner.

DANA: If we have a fight on the morning news it has to last two minutes, ’cause it has to be done by the end of the commercial break. She and I are pretty good about it. We have it out; we say what we have to say; and then we move on. Even the fights at home don’t last very long.

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Jerry and Lois Tarkanian.

Jerry and Lois Tarkanian

FORMER UNLV BASKETBALL COACH AND CITY COUNCILWOMAN, WARD 1

JERRY: We didn’t have a big wedding because we didn’t have a lot of money. I was the assistant football coach at a Catholic high school and it was football season. We had a game on Friday night and we got married on Saturday. I took her to the Fresno State/Idaho football game [for our honeymoon], and she’s never forgiven me for that. That was the biggest mistake I ever made, but in reality there was nowhere to go.

LOIS: To this day I won’t let him forget it. I was a little shocked. But to know Jerry is to know that in every fiber of his body he has this interest in athletics. [As a coach] he was very busy and working very hard, and he had very little time, so I just took all the children to the games. Up and down the bleachers, it’d be Tarkanian’s army. They saw a lot of games. A lot of games. Everything that he did in basketball the whole family was involved in. I think it’s critical. It bonds a family.

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Ronnie Abaldonado, dancer, SuperCr3w, performer with Jabbawockeez at Monte Carlo and Caroline Sol, cocktail server at XS.

Caroline Sol and Ronnie Abaldonado

COCKTAIL SERVER AT XS AND SUPER CR3W DANCER/PERFORMER WITH JABBAWOCKEEZ AT MONTE CARLO

CAROLINE: They obviously have a lot of fans and groupies, but I think we’re both non-jealous people. We both trust each other, so I don’t think it really affects us. The hardest thing is when he has to go out of town for a little bit and I’m here working, but we talk every day on the phone and we Skype.

RONNIE: I’m a shy guy. I don’t have a Facebook or any of those other social media sites. And I think that’s where some guys get in trouble. We have fans and groupies, but I would never do anything. And same with her. I’m sure she has a whole bunch of drunk guys hitting on her. But we have a mutual understanding.

CAROLINE: All of our friends tease us all the time. They call us turtles ’cause we’re so slow. We take our time with everything we do. Even if we’re walking at the mall they’re 10 feet ahead and they’re like, “C’mon turtles.” We came up with these rules when we were in Greece, and our rule No. 5 was savor the moment. That’s what we live by.

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Ronnie Abaldonado, dancer, SuperCr3w, performer with Jabbawockeez at Monte Carlo and Caroline Sol, cocktail server at XS.

Larry Aberman and Marcela de la Vega Luna

DRUMMER AND ARTIST, ZUMANITY

LARRY: She’s so great at what she does it’s really easy for me to be proud of her. I’ve been involved in entertainment and music and art and things since I was 10 years old, so I have a pretty good idea of what’s artistic, musical, whatever. As an artist, Marcela’s just exemplary. She’s a standout. When she was out pregnant I missed her so much, as a friend and as a partner but also a person in the show. I missed her presence in the show.

MARCELA: You have somebody to share it with. You are in the same place and in the same position, so you understand the business and you know what we’re talking about. It’s not like you have to explain. We totally understand each other.

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Tim Olsen, production coordinator, Freeman Tradeshow Management and Marty Kreloff, artist.

Tim Olsen and Martin Kreloff

FREEMAN TRADESHOW MANAGEMENT PRODUCTION COORDINATOR AND ARTIST

TIM (LEFT): Marty’s the star when we’re in public. The first time he took me to Miami he said, “You know, I’m sort of a star here,” and I thought, “Oh, he’s just bragging.” We walk into a restaurant and suddenly there’s a visible stir in the room, like here comes Marty Kreloff. He’s the person that everyone’s fascinated with and the art and all of that. And I have to be content with knowing that I’m in the secondary role. Usually that’s okay; sometimes that gets a little irritating.

MARTIN: Friends treat us equally, but fans don’t. As much as I can, I try to throw the conversation and some of the spotlight back onto Tim because I know it’s not easy to walk in someone’s shadow. You stand back and you try to handle it with as much grace as possible. There is no star in our relationship. That’s an outside thing.

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Roxie and Jesse Amoroso.

Roxie and Jesse Amoroso

BASSIST AND GUITARIST, PIGASUS

JESSE: It’s kind of a blessing and a curse, because you’re in a relationship with someone who’s a musician and understands being in a band and stuff, but you also don’t have that voice of reason that some people do. “You can’t do this. Don’t do that. Don’t go out and buy that $3,000 guitar.” I don’t have that and neither does she.

ROXIE: [For couple time] we lock the doors and turn off the phones. Or we pretend we’re over here tonight and then we go out someplace else. We’ve been doing it for so long because before we had kids there were five bandmates. It’s really the same thing—dealing with children and dealing with delinquent bandmates. You’re trying to get away from them; you’re trying to wrangle them; you’re always wondering where one of them’s at; you’re wondering what they’re up to; you’re wondering what bad things they’re doing.

This story was originally published in Las Vegas Weekly.