Southern Living
Updated Jul 10, 2018 @ 12:57 pm
Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

On weekday afternoons for more than three decades, Fred Rogers was welcomed into living rooms across the country. The success of his eponymous children’s show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, hinged on his friendliness, candor, and uncanny approachability. But few knew the late television icon like his wife of 50 years, pianist Joanne Rogers.

On a recent appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Joanne opened up about their enduring love story, and the special significance of the number 143.

The couple first met at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. She told Fallon that she’d never met a guy like Fred before.

Their unique bond also held the key to Fred’s fixation on the number 143, which, as Joanne explained, spelled out “I Love You,” and was meant to be a special shout out to her. She added that the number meant so much to him that he even maintained a bodyweight of 143lbs throughout his adult life.

Watch Joanne’s heartwarming interview above and check out the new documentary about Fred Rogers’ one-of-a-kind life, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, in theaters now.