The longtime couple celebrate their love in PEOPLE and ABC’s new series People Icons
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As it turns out, the pair first bonded over music and through mutual friends at a jam session in 1975.
“In comes Emilio. He’s playing the accordion in very short shorts, and he looked like he was naked, so that was the first impression that I got,” Gloria said in an interview for the series premiere, airing March 7 on ABC. “Then my mom drags me to a wedding a few months later, and I walk in the door, and there [he is] playing ‘The Hustle.’ He tracked me down two weeks later.”
Bruce Glikas/Getty Images for Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation
Shortly after, the couple began playing in a wedding band together, but things didn’t get romantic at first.
“We had chemistry for sure. But he had an older girlfriend, and he was my boss…” Gloria, 59, says.
Jokes her husband, 63: “She’s my boss now!”
RELATED VIDEO: PEOPLE Icons Exclusive Sneak Peek
Indeed, the pair soon after fell in love, and on their first date — a trip to the theater to see Young Frankenstein — “I knew I was going to marry this man.”
Sure enough, Gloria and Emilio exchanged vows in 1978 and welcomed two children: son Nayib, 36, and daughter Emily, 22. And their romance has only grown deeper over the years.
“When it’s real love, it gets better,” says Emilio. “It’s all about respect and love and communication. When you have a great foundation, it becomes easy.”
People Icons: Celebrity Love Stories premieres Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.