Long and lasting love
Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer
WESTERN BUREAU:Mark Shields says it was not love at first sight when he met the woman who stole his heart - Emily Crooks.
In fact, he asked her boss Cliff Hughes to "never let that woman near me again," hours after he did his first local interview with her on the popular 'Impact' programme, nine years ago.
"She really got under my skin and I swore I never wanted to see her again," he told wedding guests who witnessed what could easily be described as one of the most beautiful ceremonies to take place at the fabulous Round Hill Hotel and Villas last Sunday.
Shields had just arrived in Jamaica from the United Kingdom, and was appointed deputy commissioner of police, ready to fight crime, while Crooks, a fearless journalist, went outside his comfort zone asking him piercing questions that he never expected.
As he grabbed the attention of the 100 guests in attendance at the seaside ceremony, his bride, wearing, a Ysa Makino Swarovski crystals-embedded gown, laughed hilariously, because deep down she knew she had really 'gotten under his skin'.
As much as Shields wanted Crooks to stay away from him, he couldn't help noticing how gorgeous she was.
"I thought she was absolutely gorgeous, but also thought she was out of my league," Shields told Outlook.
He said she was extremely professional and it took a while for her to notice him.
"For me, he was just another interviewee. I didn't see a handsome man. My producers saw his physical beauty, but I am never looking at that when it comes to a man. I am attracted to intellect and humanity and conversation," states Crooks, who has since gone on to become an attorney-at-law.
It took all of two years for Crooks to show Shields any interest and a lot of prodding from her colleagues who witnessed the way the man she walked down the aisle with on Sunday looked at her.
"I would interview him on the phone several times, and, for me, it was a professional thing, nothing more," revealed Crooks.
It was a Christmas party at Nationwide News Network that brought them together, even though they never interacted much at the event.
"After he left the party, my colleagues kept teasing me about how Mark was looking at me. But I laughed it off."
The very next day, she went to the supermarket and Lorraine Clunie walked up to her and said, "I want to plan your wedding with Mark Shields".
Crooks said she shrugged it off. However, she soon discovered the beautiful human being he really is "He is the nearest to perfection. In all of the years I have been with Mark, I have not bought a piece of clothes, he shops for me. There is such humanity about him," she stated with compassion.
Once the couple changed their relationship from professional to personal, Crooks said she stopped interviewing him on her morning radio show and followed her heart.
She tells Outlook that, ever since she was a child, she has always wanted a princess wedding. So when she went shopping for her gown, her intention was to get a long-trail poofy dress.
"However, my body would not have that and, when I tried the Swarovski crystal dress and looked at how it fitted, I fell in love."
Emily Crooks was escorted down the aisle by her father, Desrick Crooks, to the man who owns her heart. In the presence of her daughter Zuri Amber Shields and son Michael Meggs and Mark's son and daughter, Nicholas and Gemma Shields.
Her sister Andria Crooks-Nelson was a bridesmaid, and best friend, Dr Paula Dawson, played the role of maid of honour. Kimm Daley completed the female bridal party.
Soloist Nadine Sutherland, accompanied by Dr Kathy Brown on piano, paid tribute to the couple with a beautiful rendition of Mario Lanza's Be my Love and Barbra Streisand's Because.
The tastefully done, formal wedding was coordinated by planners, Rosanne Delfosse-Thomas and Roxanne Malcolm-Brown, while Reverend Terrence Gordon, in his usual playful mood, officiated.