A heartwarming bit out of this past weekend's "State of the Unions" column in the New York Times' Weddings section: Dr. Pamela Ling and Judd Winick, members of the original third season cast of MTV's The Real World, shot in San Francisco between February and June of 1994, just celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary. Their union was originally highlighted in the Times' "Vows" column on Sept. 9, 2001, and as they recount now, their bond deepened shortly after the show stopped filming, when they both flew to Miami to be by the side of their dying friend and fellow castmember, Pedro Zamora, who died from complications from HIV in November 1994, just five months after their season stopped filming and began airing.
It would be another seven years before they'd finally tie the knot, and Winick, now 46, compares their early relationship to "a 747 ready to take off that had been grounded on the runway." As he recalls to the Times, when they were filming and the audience noted clear sexual/romantic tension between the two, "We were in the friend zone because she had a boyfriend and we were on a television show."
[Sidebar: The Real World: SF house at 949 Lombard Street is still there, sort of, but is basically unrecognizable from the house featured on the show in 1994. Since then it suffered a serious fire in 2000, and then was completely renovated thereafter.]
Dr. Ling is now 48, and the two live in San Francisco have two children whose names and ages they haven't wanted to talk about publicly, saying they're waiting to let them decide when and how they might want to be in the public eye. She was a third-year medical student at UCSF when the show was filmed, and she's now now a professor of medicine there, focusing on how tobacco is marketed to kids.
The pair say the only tensions in their marriage have been about their work. Ling has been perhaps overly focused on her career, and Winick has had moments when his has taken him away from his family for extended periods.
Winick is now in his third decade as a professional graphic novelist and cartoonist, having worked for Marvel and DC Comics, and written several more personal graphic novels. In 2015, he published Hilo, an all-ages novel about a boy who crashes to earth and befriends a pair of children.
You can see both Ling and Winick below in a 1995 Real World reunion special, in a segment focusing on Zamora's death. Winick, who was Zamora's roommate and best friend on the show, continued lecturing on HIV and safe sex for three years after Zamora's death. He continued to incorporate LGBT issues into comics like Green Lantern and Green Arrow, and in 2000 he published a graphic novel titled Pedro and Me: Friendship, Loss and What I Learned.
Below, a vintage promo for an episode of The Real World: San Francisco, featuring Judd and Pam, and a trip the cast took mid-season to Hawaii.