Glee fans, attention! Lea Michele, the actress who played Rachel Berry on the beloved musical-comedy-drama, in addition to cinching roles on Broadway as a child, has tied the knot! After all she went through with her late former beau Cory Monteith, it’s absolutely wonderful to know that she’s found love again. We can’t imagine how completely heartbreaking it had to be to lose him to addiction.
But back to the happy stuff, which is a total breath of fresh air. Michele has been posting pictures of herself with her now husband, Zandy Reich, for some time now, and you can tell just by looking at them just how happy her man makes her. So who is this new squeeze of hers, and what does he do? Is he an international man of mystery or does he fly totally under the radar? Did they meet and have a whirlwind romance a la Bieber and Baldwin? Here’s everything we know about Zandy Reich, who’s responsible for the 24-7 smile that’s been lighting up Michele’s face like never before.
UPenn won out over Dartmouth
Like both Patti LaBelle and Questlove, Reich was born and raised in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he was also educated. After he finished high school, he was faced with a decision regarding college: Dartmouth or the University of Pennsylvania, both of which were courting him at the time. Decisions, decisions! How do you pick between two completely incredible schools?
In the end, it was the University of Pennsylvania that won out for a variety of reasons. “I initially didn’t want to stay so close to home, but I realized that it was nice because I could be as close or as seemingly far as I wanted; that it was up to me,” Reich shared in a 2016 interview with Penn Athletics. “I love Philly, I knew plenty of people who’d gone to Penn, and it just really proved to be the best mix between athletics and academics. I don’t want to leave.” Who wouldn’t want to be at such a great university in such a great city? Sounds like a no-brainer to us.
Lacrosse is his sport
Insofar as athletics are concerned, Reich prefers one particular sport over all others: lacrosse. He started playing the game when he was in the sixth grade, according to Penn Athletics, when one of his teachers convinced him to try the sport. It helped that said teacher was also the coach of The Wings, Philly’s professional indoor lacrosse team. From then on, Reich ditched baseball, and instead played lacrosse along with basketball and soccer in high school. Dude must have been busy!
Basketball and soccer didn’t last for long, as it was clear that lacrosse was his number one jam. In fact, that was one of the major reasons both Dartmouth and the University of Pennsylvania were interested in him. So off to Penn he went, lacrosse stick in hand.
As much as he loved playing the sport, it did ask a lot of him. “Lacrosse is a huge time commitment, and it really cuts into your social and academic life, leaving you little chance to be involved in other things on campus,” he complained. But obviously it kept him in amazing shape!
Team sports taught him about leadership
Reich didn’t just play lacrosse in college — he was also the captain of the lacrosse team, a position that comes with significant responsibility. That meant that other players on the team looked to him as an exemplar. “Not only as a captain, but also as an older guy and one who has seen significant playing time, guys look to me as a role model,” he affirmed in an interview with Penn Athletics. “I’ve learned how to lead by example.” So when he was out on the field, he knew that he was being studied. No pressure, right?
But Reich clearly developed as a person and as a leader because of his tenure at Penn, which shows in his values. “Actions speak louder than words,” he continued, “so they look to what I bring to the field and how I handle other situations.” That means he knew he was also a role model off of the field too.
His advice to his younger teammates?
Of course, you don’t spend four years with a group of people and not get attached to them. So it’s only natural that Reich become super close to the men on the lacrosse team at Penn. “I love the guys on the team. They have become my group for the last four years, on and off the field,” he gushed in an interview with Penn Athletics. “They’re what has made it fun. They keep me going.” There’s nothing quite like good old-fashioned camaraderie, something that seems is short supply sometimes.
So when asked what kind of advice he would give to the teammates he would leave behind upon graduation, Reich had some sincere words. “Do everything you possibly can, everything you get the opportunity to do,” he continued. “I think I’ve done a fairly decent job of it, and these have been the best four years of my life. They go by quickly, so enjoy them.” In a nutshell, kick butt, take names, and don’t let a second pass you by. Love it!
Landing a coveted Goldman-Sachs gig after college
Reich didn’t just play sports at university, of course, even though it ate up a significant amount of his time. But as far as academics, Reich selected economics as a major at the Wharton School of Business, according to People magazine and an interview he gave Penn Athletics. Certainly that’s an excellent major to pick if you want to understand finance and make money. Smart move!
After he finished at Penn, Reich went on to do a two-year stint at the famous investment firm Goldman Sachs. And given how intense the job would be, Reich knew he had to squeeze in a little fun before it started. “I’m going to be (worked very hard),” he continued, “so I am going to try to live it up until then before the rest of my life starts.” No shame in that game.
You can see a candid shot of Reich hobnobbing with some fellow Wall Street buds at a charity auction reception here, enjoying a beer. Looks fun!
He works in the fashion industry
With college as well as two years at Goldman Sachs behind him, Reich went into the fashion industry, according to People magazine. He’s the president of the clothing company AYR, which stands for all year round, a company that caters to women. And according to a friend of the couple, Michele is a fan of the brand, and has donned clothing from the company at public events before. So she clearly approves what her husband does for a living!
The same friend also told People that Reich is both incredibly smart and very business-minded. That should suit him exceedingly well in the apparel industry, as well as in the world of business in general. Before Reich helmed AYR, he was the head of business development for clothing brand Theory, which caters to both men and women. Who knows what company he’ll work for next?
You won't find him on social media
When word got out that Michele was dating a new man, you weren’t alone if you raced to the keyboard to see if you could find the mysterious suitor’s Insta account, or to check in on his Twitter history. After all, that’s how to get the best intel on a person these days.
But if you were hoping to stumble across Reich posing for selfies in his lacrosse gear, or chilling out in exotic locations, alas: Reich does not have any public social media accounts. In fact, the only place you will see him posing in any selfies is on Michele’s Instagram page, where he occasionally makes an appearance in some smoochie snaps with her. That’s likely due to his off-the-radar nature.
But don’t worry: the couple really are as happy as they look in those precious few selfies, according to People magazine. One of their friends told the mag that their relationship has just been very private, and between the both of them. But they’re totally blissed out.
Michele's best friend introduced them
So how is it that the love-struck newlyweds met? Was it at a charity event in downtown Manhattan, or on a blind date at a trendy downtown night spot? Neither, actually, according to Michele, who said it happened when and where she least expected it. “I met my fiance at my best friend’s wedding,” she divulged in an interview with Insider. And of course, that best friend is Stephanie Levinson, the Twentieth Century Fox television executive.
Reich and Michele just happened to be near one another during the affair. “They had their siblings as their best man and maid of honor, but we were sort of the closest in the friend area, and we sat next to each other,” she continued. And while they were trying to talk to each other, one of her friends interrupted and asked him to move so she could talk to Michele. Oops! Fortunately, the two were able to connect again, after running into each other repeatedly for a while at the events of mutual friends. And the rest is history.
They didn't rush it
Some folks fall hard and fast, opting to rush off to Vegas to have their love legally sanctified, or just duck into city hall to get a marriage license on the DL. Others just drop off of the radar entirely and elope, no matter how cranky it might make their families. Hey, you gotta do what makes you happy, right?
But that certainly wasn’t the case for Reich and Michele, who definitely weren’t in a rush to tie the knot, or even share their burgeoning romance with the public. In fact, they were friends first, according to E! News, after a prolonged period of running into each other. So there were more than two years of dating before they decided to share their vows and make their partnership officially official, for life. Nothing wrong with taking the time you need to make sure it’s the right thing to do! We do wonder if they’re going to wait just as long to start a family, though — we’ll just have to wait and see.
Ryan Murphy's approval "sealed the deal"
One of the most important people in Michele’s life, which isn’t surprising, is Ryan Murphy, the creator of Glee. “Ryan is my family — he’s one of the greatest friends in the world that I have,” she gushed on E!’s Live from the Red Carpet at the 2017 Emmy Awards (via People). “When my boyfriend got the seal of approval from Ryan Murphy, that was it. Yeah my parents, yeah friends, whatever. But Ryan Murphy, it’s a done deal — it sealed the deal.” That’s some high praise. Who knows how it would’ve went down if Murphy didn’t like Reich?
Those weren’t just some throwaway words on the red carpet, either. Michele and Murphy are so tight, in fact, that Michele asked him to do something really special. “I have asked Ryan Murphy if he will officiate my wedding,” Michele revealed in an interview with Brides magazine. And of course, he did. Who’s cutting onions in here?
His proposal completely surprised her
You might think that Michele knew that Reich was planning on proposing to her, or that she dropped some major hints hoping he’d pick up on them. But in reality, she was completely taken aback, as she tells it. “I was surprised,” she confessed in an interview with People magazine. “I think the first thing I said to him was, ‘Stop joking around!’ So I was super surprised.” She legit thought he was playing a joke? That’s what we call a true surprise proposal. Amazing.
Michele must have been super-duper emotional, because her friends told her to work on being aware for the big moment. “Everyone said, ‘Try to be present because it’ll happen so quickly.’ Which I didn’t listen to at all and blacked out and I barely remember,” she continued. “We both blacked out and were like, ‘What? Did we say yes? Is this happening?'” We are unable to deal with how utterly romantic it all is.
He got Michele a serious engagement ring
It’s pretty clear that Reich isn’t hurting for money for a variety of reasons. For one, he got an Ivy League education, and secured a job at one of the most famous financial firms in the world before he even graduated. And, of course, he’s at the helm of a successful fashion company. Chances are he doesn’t have to worry about paying his bills on time, nor does he likely have to spend time haggling on the phone with customer service about overdraft fees. Lucky!
Indeed that looks to be the case, as Reich put one serious rock on Michele’s finger, which you can see in a post on her Instagram page. From the looks of it, there are a lot of diamonds in that lovely piece of jewelry. According to The Knot, Reich must have plunked down between $100,000 and $150,000 to grace Michele’s finger with that stunning engagement ring. Additionally, Reich wanted to make sure the ring was just right, and personally designed it with Leor Yerushalmi and The Jewelers of Las Vegas. How dreamy can you get?
They had an intimate wedding
Given that Reich is such a private person, it makes perfect sense that the couple opted to have an intimate wedding as opposed to a lavish affair with tons of publicity. And at the end of the day, it speaks to the intensity of their romance, as the wedding was indeed their moment — so their love really was at the center of it. “We are so excited to be married and grateful to be surrounded by our friends and family,” the newlyweds shared with People magazine. “And most of all, we’re so happy to spend the rest of our lives together.” If that’s not the definition of doing it exactly right, we don’t know what is.
And if you’re wondering if any of Michele’s Glee fam was in attendance other than Murphy, you’ll be pleased to know that they were. Darren Criss and Becca Tobin were in the house, according to Today, as was her best friend Jonathan Groff who reportedly served as her maid of honor. Don’t stop believing, y’all.
Michele says he keeps her centered
Michele is a busy woman, given that she’s a working, Emmy Award-nominated actress, has released several albums, and has made the time and space to get married, on top of everything else. So what does Michele do when she needs to unwind? “When I’m not working, I’m at home with my cat, with my family, with my boyfriend, with the people that I love,” she shared in an interview with People magazine. “That’s how I reset, and that’s how I center myself. It’s so important to tune out the noise and the unnecessary, and just focus on the people that you love because they know you better than anyone.” Amen sister, that’s the secret to happiness.
So how’s Michele feeling about life right not, and the future? “I’m very happy and I think that you can tell,” she continued. “I don’t really talk a lot about my personal life, but I’m also the kind of person where I always say, ‘You will see how happy I am just by looking at my face.’ I can’t hide it.” And from the looks of it, everything is going swimmingly.
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