"She is funny and silly and supportive, and the most excellent person I know," Winick wrote of Dr. Ling
Judd Winick and Dr. Pam Ling of The Real World: San Francisco are celebrating the moment their relationship stopped being polite and started getting real.
Winick, 54, posted a carousel of photos and video to Instagram on Monday featuring unedited footage — which was gifted to them by Real World producers — of the moment they first met.
"30 years ago today on my 24th birthday, we began filming THE REAL WORLD," Winick captioned the post, which showed footage of him entering the Real World: San Francisco house that then cut to footage of him and Ling, 55, introducing themselves to each other and to their castmates.
Looking back on the last three decades, Winick continued, "Together, we have a home. Two children. And a nonstop adventure—which all started with what was supposed to be something silly and cool. Going on television."
Noting that birthdays tend to lose their appeal over time, Winick said his will always be "special" because it's the day he met his wife.
"I’m so grateful to have her in my life. She is funny and silly and supportive, and the most excellent person I know," he wrote. "I LOVE YOU!"
The 30th anniversary of The Real World: San Francisco cast's first day together is also a bittersweet moment. It's the same day the stars — including Winick and Ling's roommates Cory Murphy, Mohammed Bilal, Rachel Campos-Duffy and David "Puck" Rainey (who was eventually kicked out of the house and replaced with Jo Rhodes) — met Pedro Zamora.
The Cuban-American gay activist became a historic figure as he spoke openly about his sexuality, including filming his commitment ceremony to Sean Sasser, and the realities of his life with HIV/AIDS on the show. Just hours after the final episode of The Real World: San Francisco aired on Nov. 11, 1994, Zamora died at age 22 due to complications from HIV/AIDS.
In the years since, Winick and Ling have worked to carry on their friend's legacy of HIV advocacy, with Winick illustrating the 2009 book Pedro and Me: Friendship, Loss, and What I Learned.
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Winick, a graphic novelist, and Ling, a Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco, didn't start dating until after their season finished filming. They eventually married in 2001 and share two children.
Winick told The New York Times in 2016 that he was happy to have waited to pursue the relationship away from production because “I can’t imagine you’re completely you when you’re on camera.”
"Made the Clicker Cake for Judd’s birthday! I can’t sculpt so had to adapt lessons from many different you tube [sic] videos. Thanks to those posting helpful tutorials," she wrote in the caption. "And happy birthday @juddwinick."
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