Actress Melissa Joan Hart and her husband have been married for 20 years
Melissa Joan Hart and her longtime husband, Mark Wilkerson, have been married for two decades.
They first met in a chance encounter at the 2002 Kentucky Derby and wed the following year. Since, they have welcomed three children together.
Over 20 years after they first met, Hart commemorated the anniversary on her Instagram with one of their first photos together. "21! Years since we met and I still get weak in the knees when you look at me!! ❤️❤️❤️," she wrote in the caption.
In 2018, Hart told PEOPLE her secret on how they keep their romance alive after years of marriage. "We do day dates, we do lunches, we work out together a lot," Hart said, jokingly adding that they even send each other "dirty gifs."
So, who is Melissa Joan Hart’s husband? Here's everything to know about Mark Wilkerson and his relationship with the Sabrina the Teenage Witch star.
He met Hart at the 2002 Kentucky Derby
Hart and Wilkerson met when both attended the Kentucky Derby in 2002. According to his younger sister, Sally Wilkerson, the musician was blown away by the Hollywood star from the beginning.
“He tried to play it all cool, but he knew who she was. I screamed and I told my friends, ‘My brother just met Melissa Joan Hart and she asked for his number,’ ” Sally told PEOPLE in January 2014.
Turns out, Hart's feelings were mutual. In February 2018, she wrote a sweet Instagram post sharing the story of how they first met.
“In 2002, a girl from New York told her mother she met a boy from Alabama at the Kentucky Derby that she was going to marry," she wrote in the caption. "14 months later they were married in Italy, and within 5 years had 2 bouncing beautiful baby boys while living a blessed life in Los Angeles."
After dating for a while, the couple traveled to Alabama to visit the entire Wilkerson family.
“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, Sabrina the Teenage Witch is coming!’ ” Sally told PEOPLE. “I made her sign everything. Mark said, ‘Don’t you dare.’ ”
Wilkerson proposed during the holidays in 2002
After their first meeting, it didn’t take long for Hart and Wilkerson to take their relationship to the next level, and within seven months, they were engaged.
"I knew she was the one a week after we started going out and it's been that way ever since," Wilkerson reportedly said in a statement after he proposed.
The Clarissa Explains It All alum reminiscenced on Wilkerson's proposal in a throwback Instagram post in December 2021. "How it started.... how it's going!! 19 years ago, on #BoxingDay, I was given a ring as a belated Christmas gift from the man I love! ❤️," she wrote in the caption.
She continued, "This year, in the same town, in the deep snow, we recreated this happy moment. Not the engagement, but the happy memory of being in a winter wonderland together. It was Mark's first time in Sierra snow and we both fell in love with the town and have lived here for 16 years now. Happy Boxing Day!”
They got married in 2003
Shortly after their festive engagement, the couple wed in Florence, Italy, on July 19, 2003. The nuptials were televised on the ABC Family miniseries Tying the Knot.
"The most memorable part of my wedding was during the vows," Hart said in a 2009 interview with Woman's Day. "Mark was crying so hard and we were supposed to put our heads down, but his nose had filled up! I had my grandmother's handkerchief in my cleavage, so while the priest was speaking, I reached into my dress and everyone giggled — that was the only part of the day that didn't get caught on camera."
He is a father of three
The couple share three sons: Mason, Braydon and Tucker. After Braydon was born, Wilkerson decided to be a stay-at-home dad "because he was upset about missing bath time,” Hart told HELLO! in March 2023.
Because of this commitment, the Drive Me Crazy star said she could rest easy on set.
"Without him behind me, I couldn't do what I do and entertain people because I would have to stay at home with the kids," she said. "I could not have asked for a better husband and a better partner in this world to raise these kids. He is a great husband but he's a fantastic dad and he just lives and breathes those boys."
“Everything he thinks about is for them," she added. "I'm lucky I have a husband who doesn't mind doing the cooking or doing the drop offs at school or going to the football games and he is so involved."
In April 2022, Hart shared with PEOPLE that she was struggling as her young boys were becoming men, with her oldest learning to drive.
"They're getting huge. My oldest is driving and it's really upsetting," she said. "He's a pilot also, so he flies planes. I know he has a respect for engineering and machinery. So that helps."
She continued, "The younger two I'm more afraid of driving. But it's just a loss of — It's a loss of their childhood when they start driving, which is weird."
He and Hart regularly work out together
In 2014, the couple told PEOPLE that they used their frequent training sessions as a way to enjoy some much-needed quality time.
“This is a good way to join together and spend time – just the two of us – away from the kids,” Wilkerson said.
For the former child star, having a workout partner also helped her with accountability.
“I’m very much driven by working out with peers or working out with Mark,” she told PEOPLE. “If I’ve signed up for a class or I promised someone I’d be there, it just helps motivate me.”
He and Hart moved from Connecticut to Tennessee during the COVID-19 pandemic
Wilkerson and Hart moved from their home in Connecticut to Nashville, Tennessee, during the COVID-19 pandemic. They previously also lived in Lake Tahoe, California.
In a 2020 interview with Glamour, Hart shared that her family generally prefers the outdoors to city life. “Nashville is the closest to a city we’ve been in in a long time,” she said, “We really like to be out in the outskirts. The kids like to be out in the woods and climbing trees and catching frogs. I grew up that way, so I want them to as well.”
He is from the South
Wilkerson and his two siblings were raised in the South by their father and mother, who was a dance instructor.
In 2014, Hart jokingly called her sister-in-law Sally her "marriage counselor," telling PEOPLE, “She’s the only one that understands Mark! I can talk to her about anything — she helps me navigate the in-laws."
The actress also gave a peek into her husband's childhood during a 2022 episode of her podcast, What Women Binge. She said, “Mark is from the South, God bless him. He likes good food and he said to someone once. They said ‘Oh so you like to cook?’ and he goes ‘No, don’t like to cook. I like to eat.' "
He is a singer and songwriter
Before meeting Hart, Wilkerson was the lead singer and rhythmic guitarist of the alternative rock band Course of Nature.
“It was originally formed as a cover band. Then we started writing our own music," Wilkerson told The Metal Underground in a November 2007 interview. "We played this club for about two years and then we started throwing in our originals and we were getting a good response.”
He continued, "It was really, I guess, lucky that we didn’t have to go through the whole horror stories that bands go through getting a record deal. We got instant responses from the labels and literally over the course of a weekend we had a record deal.”
Beyond his singing and guitar talents, Wilkerson boasts some songwriting chops. In 2007, he was nominated for a Grammy for the Daughtry song “It’s Not Over.”
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