Three Dates, and Then a Commitment
Grace Fooden and Michael Correy met on Bumble and quickly bonded over similar family backgrounds and a Phish cover band.
Grace Fooden and Michael Nicholas Correy make a practice of not dismissing the opinions of younger people in their lives.
For example, at the beginning of 2018, Ms. Fooden, who had recently moved to Los Angeles from New York, didn’t object when a work colleague in her 30s grabbed her phone and set up a Bumble profile for her.
And after a lackluster experience on another dating app, Mr. Correy was convinced by his daughter-in-law, Chloe Correy, to switch to Bumble “because it’s where the women choose,” he said.
However, Ms. Fooden wasn’t at first sure that choosing him for a coffee date in May 2018 was a good idea. Before they met at the cafe in the Los Angeles department store Fred Segal, he had to explain that his profile misrepresented his age by a couple years. To throw off identity thieves, he said, he had entered an inaccurate birth year. “It was nothing shady,” said Mr. Correy, 71.
In person, he reinforced that impression so effectively that the to-go cup Ms. Fooden, 61, asked for proved unnecessary. “I thought he was charming,” she said.
Ms. Fooden is an independent consultant to fashion and beauty companies. She had moved to Los Angeles in 2017 from New York, where she was the vice president for merchandise and merchandise planning at Ralph Lauren, to be a founder of the Biophile Skincare product line. She had dated on and off since her divorce in 2010, but her career had become her passion.
“I like to work,” Ms. Fooden said. Before Ralph Lauren, her job titles included senior director of merchandising for the shapewear company Spanx and senior design director at Victoria’s Secret.
Mr. Correy’s own work history “is not as glamorous,” he said. He had started working at AT&T when he was 20, and had been promoted to supervising technician when he retired from full-time work at age 50 to focus on parenting. His first wife, Patty Correy, with whom he had two children, died of metastatic breast cancer in 1993 at age 31.
Those two children, Brittany Correy and Michael Correy Jr., are now 38 and 34, respectively. Mr. Correy also has another daughter, Patrice Correy, 51, from a previous relationship.
A plan to return to work full-time — he had been doing some part-time consulting and technical work — once his children left home had to be scrapped when his mother developed Alzheimer’s disease in the late 2000s; he was one of two primary caregivers until her death in 2015.
If Ms. Fooden and Mr. Correy, who goes by Mickey, didn’t find much to bond over professionally on their Fred Segal date, their family backgrounds made up for it. Both are mixed race. Ms. Fooden, who has a bachelor of fine arts degree from Parsons School of Design, grew up in Chicago with a Black mother, Elizabeth Fooden, and a Jewish father, Jack Fooden. Both parents have died.
Mr. Correy, who spent two years studying at Los Angeles City College before working at AT&T, grew up in Los Angeles with a mother, Suggie Correy, who was biracial. His father, Bert Correy, who died when Mr. Correy was 12, was Black and Cape Verdean.
Their racial similarities became especially meaningful for Ms. Fooden after their coffee date. A week later, they accidentally saw a Phish cover band at the Santa Monica nightclub Harvelle’s. He thought he was bringing her there to see a blues show when an unfamiliar group took the stage. The couple stuck around, despite their lack of enthusiasm for jam bands. “We both thought it was funny,” Ms. Fooden said. “People seemed so happy two older Black people were there.”
At the end of date number three — a Memorial Day barbecue at the home of Mr. Correy’s son, along with Mr. Correy’s other two children — both were ready to commit. Ms. Fooden had felt ambivalent about going. “I thought it was too soon to meet his family,” she said. “But they were so lovely, and it was so special to me.” When they got in the car to leave, “the first thing Mickey said was, ‘You know they’re talking about us right now.’” Both laughed. But it was true.
“My dad never brought women around us growing up,” said Mr. Correy’s son, a firefighter. “I think we knew how special Grace was because he did bring her around.”
Still, Michael Jr. and his sisters were wary when Mr. Correy announced that September that he was asking Ms. Fooden to move in with him after four months of dating. The son said “‘You know, it took you four months to buy a dishwasher,’” Mr. Correy said.
The siblings genuinely liked Ms. Fooden, Michael Jr. said, but their father has “never been a spur-of-the-moment guy. Everything he does is meticulous and calculated.”
Mr. Correy managed to convince his children that living together would benefit everybody: “I had been in my house largely by myself,” he said. “It took the pressure off them to come and check on me.” Ultimately, Ms. Fooden kept her West Hollywood condominium until right before the start of the pandemic, though she moved most of her belongings into his house in the Faircrest Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, where they still live.
Quarantining in that house for Covid reinforced their compatibility, so much so that they started talking about marriage. Before they met, both had been sure they would never remarry. But “she changed me,” Mr. Correy said. “We laugh a lot.” Ms. Fooden said her willingness to make a lifelong commitment a second time sneaked up on her. “I never knew I could be so completely in touch with someone,” she said.
On Nov. 16, 2021, they went to XIV Karats Ltd., a jewelry store in Beverly Hills. Once they decided on an engagement ring, Mr. Correy dropped to one knee on the spot and proposed. “Salesladies were swooning,” Ms. Fooden said.
Life would get complicated before they had a chance to reacquaint themselves with wedding planning. In December 2021, two weeks after they announced their engagement, Mr. Correy had emergency triple bypass surgery. No one could have predicted the heart attack that preceded it. “I thought I was in good health,” he said.
He was still in the early stages of his recovery and relearning how to walk when, in January 2022, Ms. Fooden’s Biophile Skincare partner announced she needed to leave the business. “That was devastating,” she said. She had invested her savings in the start-up company and didn’t know how to run it alone.
After closing the company, her pivot to consulting that fall wasn’t as painful, or difficult, as she anticipated.“Before founding Biophile I had always worked for corporations,” she said. “When I positioned myself as a consultant I felt vulnerable. But I was overwhelmed by the support I got from my beauty and fashion industry supporters.”
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Her March 1 wedding to Mr. Correy at the Avalon Hotel & Bungalows in Palm Springs was a new beginning both could celebrate.
Ms. Fooden, in an ivory slip dress designed by Victoria Beckham, joined Mr. Correy, in a gray dinner jacket and bow tie, at an altar helmed by Cathy O’Connell, an interfaith minister through the Essene New Life Church. Ms. Fooden’s sister, Florence Fooden, walked her down an aisle that had to be assembled indoors at the last minute because of a rare storm that dumped rain, snow and hail. Michael Correy Jr. was the best man.
Their 47 guests, who were asked to take a Covid test before the wedding, heard vows that included notes each had written to Ms. O’Connell explaining why they love each other. Ms. Fooden shared in her note to Ms. O’Connell that she loved listening to classic soul music together. Mr. Correy’s reasons for loving Ms. Fooden came in broad strokes: “We laugh a lot,” he said. “And there’s no drama.”
On This Day
When March 1, 2023
Where The Avalon Hotel & Bungalows, Palm Springs, Calif.
So Fine At an on-site reception, in the hotel’s Presidio Ballroom, the couple danced to “Always and Forever” by Luther Vandross first. But “the party really got started,” Mr. Correy said, when a D.J. played their second selection, “Mickey,” the 1981 cheerleading anthem-style pop song by Tony Basil. “Everybody got up and danced.”
Keeping Close Ms. Fooden and Mr. Correy chose to get married in Palm Springs to accommodate Mr. Correy’s son and daughter-in-law, parents of their twin granddaughters. In February, the girls turned 1; the couple didn’t want the family, who lives in Los Angeles, to have to travel too far. And “we didn’t want to compete with celebrating their birthday,” Ms. Fooden said.
Gratitude and Grace “My dad is the happiest I’ve ever seen him,” Michael Correy Jr. said before the wedding. “Having Grace there with him throughout the Covid years, and then for his heart attack, has been such a blessing.”