Rob Thomas and Marisol Maldonado met through a mutual friend in 1998
In recent years, Maldonado has been open about her struggles with tick-borne illnesses and has become an advocate for Lyme disease sufferers.
The couple have stuck by each other’s side through thick and thin and have only come out stronger. The Matchbox Twenty singer is dedicated to being there for his wife, and can always be counted on to post a photo of her on his Instagram page, along with a sweet caption about how much she means to him.
“I knew the second I kissed her that I would never, ever kiss another person,” Thomas told PEOPLE in a 2000 interview.
The two have remained just as in love since then. In a 2016 interview with Yahoo, Thomas said, “We pat ourselves on the back every anniversary, but at the same time when we got married the idea was that we were going to be married as long as we’re alive, so we don’t want to make too big a deal out of it. We were always headed this way, so it’s just about continuing that promise."
While Maldonado doesn’t have any public social media profiles of her own, and basically stays out of the spotlight, she is still open about her health and her support for her husband.
Here’s a look at everything there is to know about Rob Thomas’ wife, Marisol Maldonado.
They met in 1998 and got married a year later
In 2000, the couple opened up to PEOPLE about their romance and said that they were introduced to each other by a mutual friend after a Matchbox Twenty show in Montreal in 1998. “Rob and I met for literally 10 minutes,” Maldonado said. “When I left, I looked at my girlfriend and said, ‘That’s the man I’m going to marry.’ ”
While Thomas said that he wasn’t looking for a relationship and just wanted to be a “single rock guy,” that changed when they met. The two started having a courtship over the phone while Thomas was on tour, and they went on their first date a few months later at a Boston music festival. Thomas left and “told everyone I was going to marry her.”
In a 2023 interview with Yahoo, Thomas talked about how the two of them stayed in touch after meeting, since he was on tour and she was still in school. He said he would call her every night and they would talk for hours.
On their first date, Thomas said the pair already felt like they “just really knew each other," and a year later, they got married at a small ceremony in California.
She’s a retired model
Maldonado is a retired model who worked in New York City.
She has been struggling with various tick-borne related illnesses for years
Maldonado has been dealing with various different illnesses for a long time now. She struggled with trying to figure out her symptoms and ailments for more than a decade before being diagnosed with several tick-borne diseases, including Lyme disease, in 2015.
She has dealt with late stage Neurological Lyme Borreliosis, Babesiosis, and Bartonella, all of which have different symptoms, and her infections have triggered Hashimoto’s disease and Lupus-like symptoms, as well as Atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia.
Since Maldonado’s Lyme disease was diagnosed so late, it has been incredibly difficult to treat. In a 2017 interview with Entertainment Tonight, she opened up about how hard it has been for her, saying, “It’s like you’re standing still unable to participate as everything keeps going on without you, then you wake up the next day and the same thing happens. I don’t consider what I’m doing living. I’m existing … and fighting to hopefully one day live again.”
Thomas has been nothing but supportive of his wife as she has dealt with her health issues. In a 2019 interview with ABC, Maldonado talked about how much Thomas has done for her, like giving her medications, doing therapy that required injections, checking on her throughout tours and shows, and taking care of their dogs. She said people “have no idea that he was doing all of his six days a week … and he did it and never complained. He’s everything for me.”
She has had brain surgery
In 2015, after years of trying to figure out her illnesses, Maldonado had to have brain surgery to have a lesion removed from the base bone of her brain.
Not long after the surgery, Thomas spoke to PEOPLE to give an update about his wife, saying she was doing well, adding, “We don’t know what’s gonna happen. We’re just glad the surgery went well.” Thomas postponed his tour to be there for his wife through recovery.
“This sickness has been like this weird alien that’s moved into our life and inhabited my wife,” Thomas told ET in 2017. “Sometimes she’s just not herself. Watching the person you’re closest to become someone other than herself is so [hard].”
She loves animals
Maldonado is a big animal lover – so much so that she even started the advocacy charity Sidewalk Angels, which works with animal rescue shelters, alongside Thomas. The venture was inspired by the death of the couple’s dog, Tyler, who Thomas described as their “first love” in a 2019 interview with Forbes. “We were in a position where we were able to help a lot of people with their charities and I think we wanted to figure out where we could be the impetus of change,” Thomas said. “And no-kill shelters were always really big on our list.”
In a 2020 interview with PEOPLE, Thomas said that they had helped over 30 shelters get started off the ground or give them funds they needed. He added that the couple had two rescue dogs of their own and talked about how he hopes their foundation can help animals and the people who want to help them whenever possible.
She has inspired some of Thomas’ music
It’s probably no surprise that Maldonado has inspired some of Matchbox Twenty’s biggest songs.
In a 2019 interview with Forbes, Thomas said, “Some of the best songs I think I’ve ever written all came out of our relationship.”
He added that the song “If You’re Gone” was inspired by his wife, explaining that when they first met, he was on the road a lot and she was in college and didn’t know if she wanted to make a commitment to a rockstar. The song was “kind of a song to get her back.”
Thomas was also inspired to write songs like “Your Diamonds” and “Pieces” after watching his wife battle her health issues for nearly 20 years. According to an ET interview, “Pieces” was written while Thomas spent hours in the desert in Mexico waiting for Maldonado to undergo treatment.
She’s a stepmom
Thomas and Maldonado do not have any children together, but she is a stepmom to Thomas’ son.
She has helped Thomas with his career since they met
Maldonado hasn’t just been Thomas’ wife or a source of inspiration for his songs: she has also been by his side through nearly every step of his career.
In a 2019 interview with Forbes, Thomas talked about how they work together, saying that they met right before he got very famous and “informed a lot of the decisions I’ve made since then.”
He added, “She runs my career with me and my manager. She’s the first person to hear everything I write. She’s always picked the singles.”
In a 2019 interview with ABC, Maldonado echoed the same sentiment, saying they were young when they met and “created this together.”
She added, “Everything that people see, even when he’s on that stage – every haircut, every move, every song – it’s something we created together for the last 20 years. We were on a trajectory and headed somewhere.”
They are best friends
Thomas isn’t shy when it comes to talking about what makes his relationship with Maldonado work. He has stated several times that, at the end of the day, the two are close friends who love being around each other.
In a 2019 interview with ET, he said, “The other night, my wife and I were out and we realized that after three or four hours the two of us could just sit alone and bullsh** like you do with any of your friends. We had the same kind of fun on our own that we do if we’re around a whole bunch of our friends.”
He called her his “best friend,” saying that they would still be best friends even if their relationship ended.
For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on People.