Love IS all there is…

What a beautiful love story….enjoy!

(Bolding is for the bits that especially touched me…)

Photos: Rene Ortiz

Mark Fraser

As a television entertainment reporter, Ann Marie Ganness often got the opportunity to mingle backstage with well-known international singers whenever they came to town.

It was a perk of the job, yes, but it was also how Ganness got her exclusive interviews with the visiting artistes.

Even more than getting up-close and personal with the famous male singers, Ganness was always curious about their wives and girlfriends.

“I often looked on with interest at these women and think “oh that must be fun, I wish I could be a part of that one day.”

Be careful what you wish for, so the saying goes. Fast forward 20 years ahead and Ganness can now say for sure what it is like to be the wife of a famous entertainer, having recently wedded celebrated American singer and stage actor Michael Amante.

The story of the new Mr and Mrs Amante seems ripped right out of the pages of a romance novel or fairytale. From their courtship to their eventual marriage, their love story has played out in full view of their eager Facebook friends, followers and fans on their individual pages through photos and deeply personal love notes celebrating each other and their love.

Ganness, like many women, knew what it was like to experience the pain of a relationship gone wrong before meeting Amante.

She even went public about her divorce — but she never gave up on loving again.

In the months that led to her meeting wtih Amante, she would use her morning drive to work as her quiet time to talk to God about her desires.

“These quite intimate conversations often went something like this :’God I know that you didn’t put me on this earth to be alone and I believe that my partner is out there somewhere.

‘Dear God, please bring him to me and me to him. I believe and trust Father that you will connect us in your timing so that we can do your work and fulfil our destinies’,” she said.

Across the seas in New York, Amante’s prayers were along the same lines.

“(Our journey) began with a spiritual reaching out to the Divine by both of our souls and a longing for true love, something that both of us had somehow always been promised but never truly received,” Amante told Woman.

Like most people in the world nowadays, particularly those with busy lives, Ganness and Amante met on an online dating site.

Both were new to this type of dating but decided to throw caution to the wind.

Ganness recalled one night, after setting up the online dating account, she searched through some of the profiles on the site.

“I was bored. How this works is that you type in some specifics about the person you will like to meet — like age, location, children etc. That’s when I came across Michael’s profile.

“It said nothing of course about who he was or gave details about his life, however what he wrote about himself and his photos, immediately captured my attention.

“Michael’s love for God and his deep connection to his spiritual source was immediately obvious.”

Ganness sent off an e-mail to the singer introducing herself. To her surprise he wrote her back the very next day.

Describing Ganness’s introduction mail as “sweet and gentle”, Amante said his heart “bounded as if it knew with premonition that there was something very unique and distinctive about this beautiful young woman,” when he read Ganness’s words and saw her photo.

Initially, Amante was looking for someone near to his US home but when he heard that Ganness was living in Trinidad, he said this country didn’t seem too far away.

The couple’s first phone conversation will always be special, especially since Ganness, bent on playing it safe, intially didn’t want to share her number with Amante — even though he had given her his. Amante told the story of being awaken one Sunday morning by the ringing of his phone only to pick up and hear nothing on the other end.

Ganness’s cellphone pocket dialled Amante and all he could hear on the other end was “swooshing and muffled sound of people talking in the background.”

A “real” conversation happened the following day, the conversation about the accidental dialling a perfect way to break the ice.

Ganness laughed as she recalled how she felt when she found out that Amante was famous.

“Oh my goodness, I remember sitting in front my computer after I had typed in his name on Google and thinking to myself, ‘oh no, this is not happening!’

“I was at first shocked when I realised who he was but fascinated that he was so humble and dedicated to a life of service.”

When she read that her guy was called “The People’s Tenor”, had been billed as “the Prince of High C’s”, and referred to as “the Next Mario Lanza” by singing legend Tony Bennett, no less, she wasn’t quite sure if someone as well-known as he was would be interested in getting to know someone in another country or if he even had to time to pursue a long distance relationship.

“He soon proved me wrong however and indicated quite early that he wanted to get to know me better.

“Interestingly I wasn’t nervous because from the beginning he was just “Michael”, the man I loved and who I knew loved me.”

Now Ganness said “It just feels so natural and comfortable being with him that I hardly ever think of that famous side to him. When I see him perform it does hit home that yes he is well known and quite famous but I see the person, his soul, who he is off the stage and it is so very reassuring that there is no room for nervousness.”

The couple’s first face to face meeting was as romantic as their online meeting.

During one conversation, shortly after Amante told Ganness his feelings for her, she shared with him Shania Twain’s “From This Moment”.

Once he got off the phone, Amante ordered a dozen roses to her workplace and started working on his travel plans to Trinidad.

“I asked Ann Marie to pick me up at Piarco Airport in Port of Spain, Trinidad. I then wrote a song called “Meet Me In The Port Of Spain” and shared the lyrics with her as she sat stunned and speechless across the Atlantic Ocean.

“Right before I boarded the flight from Florida to Trinidad, I asked Ann Marie to indulge my sense of romance. I asked her not to enter the airport but to wait outside and in fact to not even turn and face me; she readily agreed.”

Gannes was anxiously texting Amante asking where I was—the anticipation of meeting her love driving her bubbling to overflow.

I exited the terminal, slowly walked up to her from behind and carefully, delicately put my arms around her in a loving embrace then sang the first few lines from her favorite song; “From this moment, life has begun, from this moment, you are the one, right beside you, it’s where I belong, from this moment on.

The couple’s wedding which happened in two parts – a Christian ceremony performed by a Presbyterian Minister at the Radisson Hotel and then the following day at Jaffa Restaurant, Tragarete Road, said their fairy-tale like romance and eventual marriage, have inspired their family and friends to believe in their love and love on a whole.

That their relationship is causing such hope in the hearts of the broken hearted and those wanting to love again, is not something the Amantes take for granted.

They both have begun to put plans in place to marry their talents – Ganness as a recently published inspirational author; Amante as a singer/songwriter – to help people on the path of loving again.

“Michael and I believe that our union is meant to inspire others to never give up.

Before we met we were on our individual paths of service to God and humanity, together we know that we could have a much greater impact. We want to help transform lives and to give people hope and we will do that through the talents which God has bestowed on us.”

Another bonus of being married to her soulmate , Ganness said, was gaining Amante’s three children.

“I said to a friend a few weeks ago that one of the joys of my life is now waking up to the sound of children in the house.

“I cherish the moments we share as a family- having breakfast, making dinner, going grocery shopping. I am so grateful for this blessing I have been given, not only am I married to a wonderful man but he has shared his three amazing children with me. My days are filled with hugs from these little ones and endless “I love you’s”.

“These children came into my life to show me another kind of unconditional love and I am so very thankful for the joy they continue to bring to me.

“I had never felt so comfortable with anyone before, so loved and adored and so secure. It was also a knowing that we both felt the same way and that we had to be together,” said Ganness.

Her husband’s words for his love, as quoted from an email he wrote to her shortly before asking her father for her hand in marriage, was simply this : “As you begin to prepare for a new life with me, my children and the promise of our future children together, I want you to know that I too, am planning and forecasting a new and different life from any I have known before. It is a life of true love and absolute devotion to you and you alone.”


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