If you’re not a regular viewer of the Rachael Ray show, you might not know much about her personal life. The Emmy-award-winning chef and author of multiple cookbooks isn’t married to anyone famous. Nor does she and her husband have a cool, Hollywood coupley name like "Bennifer" or "Jayonce" for tabloids to throw around. But what she does have is a rock solid marriage that’s been going strong since 2005, along with a man who supports her career while still pursuing his own passions.
So who, exactly, is Rachael Ray’s husband? His name is John Cusimano, and in addition to being the better half of one of TV’s most celebrated culinary personalities, he’s also a lawyer, a rock singer, and a pretty darned good mixologist. Though he’s far from a household name, and a bit of a mystery for those not intimately familiar with Rachael Ray, he’s still quite the renaissance man. So just who is John Cusimano?
Rachael Ray’s husband, John Cusimano, attended college and studied law in New York
Long before he was ever in the public eye, Rachael Ray’s husband, John Cusimano, was a passionate musician, even as a teenager, and, according to the Rachael Ray show’s website, he was accepted to the Berklee College of Music. But Cusimano’s parents had different ideas, and though a career in music was his dream, he opted to attend the State University of New York at Binghamton instead.
As per his bio at Martindale.com, Cusimano earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at SUNY in 1989. After graduation, he followed his parents’ practical advice and moved on to law school at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University, where he received a Juris Doctorate in 1994. He was later admitted to the bar in New York and New Jersey and practiced up until his life took a hard left turn when he met Rachael Ray. The two even share a fabulous home in the empire state.
Rachael Ray met husband John Cusimano at a party and thought he was gay
There is an old saying about what happens when we assume things, but that adage doesn’t usually end with "you make a celebrity couple out of you and me." But such was the case for Rachael Ray, who, according to an interview with People, made some serious leaps in logic when she first met her husband, John Cusimano.
"He told me what he had made himself for dinner the night before, and I assumed that if you’re not a chef and you made what he told me he made, that he was gay," Ray said. She even had plans to fix him up with another of her friends — a similarly handsome Italian chap — but those got spoiled when Cusimano revealed that he was not, in fact, gay. The two ended up staying out together until 4 a.m., which Ray considers the couple’s first date. Afterward, according to an interview with Vanity Fair, she called friend Donna Carnevale, who recalled, "She said she was going to marry that man, she was going to marry him in Rome." In retrospect, she wasn’t far off.
John Cusimano is the lead singer of a band called The Cringe
Not satisfied to be some well-coiffed arm candy to one of the world’s most famous chefs, John Cusimano also pursues his passion for music as the lead singer and songwriter of a band called The Cringe. According to an interview in AXS.com (via Heavy), the band has opened for everyone from Mötley Crue to Steel Panther to Alice Cooper and has regularly played gigs all over New York City. The other band members include James Rotondi, lead guitarist; Jonny Blaze, bassist; and Shawn Pelton, drummer. None of them, as far as we know, are married to famous chefs.
Cusimano’s exposure outside the band has been, at the very least, good for its social media following, as, at the time of this writing, The Cringe currently boasts over 31,500 followers on Facebook and nearly 168,000 on Twitter. Sadly, Rachael Ray does not get private shows at the couple’s home, as when the Rachael Ray show’s website asked Ray if her husband ever sang to her, she frankly replied, "No, not really … I didn’t legitimately seal that deal until I heard his music."
John Cusimano was an entertainment lawyer before marrying Rachael Ray
Reflecting on all the good decisions Rachael Ray has made — going into the culinary world, writing cookbooks, starring in a TV show — you might be surprised to learn what she considers the smartest move she ever made.
"Marry an entertainment lawyer," she told the Rachael Ray show’s website. "Saved me a bundle." Mid-interview hyperbole or not, it’s still hard to argue with the logic of having someone handle your professional legal issues pro bono. In the same interview, Cusimano revealed that he was an entertainment lawyer who worked primarily in film in New York city prior to meeting his wife. "Then I met this one, and now I only have one client and her name is Rachael Ray. So I just work on our businesses all the time," he said.
And if you were wondering, Cusimano only had to take the bar once to pass. Rachael Ray’s husband revealed in an interview with Love is Pop that he took the bar immediately after law school and never again. "I’m not one to have to subject myself to that more than once," he said.
John Cusimano married Rachael Ray in Tuscany in 2005
It seems only fitting that a world-famous chef get married in a place known for its food. And though Rachael Ray allegedly told friend Donna Carnevale after she met Cusimano that she was going to marry him in Rome, she was not far off in her prediction, as the couple were married at Tuscany’s Castello di Velona in 2005. The Rachael Ray show’s website has a comprehensive photo recap of the event, where you can see the stunning, 360-degree hilltop views from the castle, as well as some clean-shaven wedding pics of Rachael Ray’s better half.
They enjoyed the event so much that, ten years later, they hosted a lavish vow renewal ceremony at the same Tuscan castle in 2015. And though the event was special, People reported that the couple flies many of their friends and family to Tuscany to celebrate their anniversary every year.
John Cusimano is quite the mixologist … and dish cleaner and coffee maker
Trying to cook for Rachael Ray is probably a little like trying to serenade Christina Aguilera, so John Cusimano has found a way to complement his wife’s skill set: mixology. He has been a regular on the Rachael Ray show, stopping in to craft drinks to pair with her food, most notably the Negroni. But his cocktail-making skills aren’t just relegated to television. In an interview with People, the couple divulged he does the same at home when they’re dining in.
Cusimano’s around-the-house contributions aren’t limited to the bar. In an interview with Good Housekeeping, Rachael Ray revealed he does a lot more to help out at home than simply making drinks. "I never do the dishes, because my husband has an affinity for it," the TV chef said. "And I’m also not allowed to touch the coffeemaker." And though the "I cook, you clean" deal isn’t exclusive to this celebrity couple, it shows they know how to work together.
Rachael Ray’s husband, John Cusimano, is also an actor and producer
Though John Cusimano’s music credits have been well documented, and he had a career in entertainment law long before he’d ever met Rachael Ray, that’s far from the extent of his showbiz resume. Yes, he’s appeared on countless episodes of the Rachael Ray show and even made an appearance on Cake Boss when Ray came in to get an anniversary cake, but he also has a handful of acting and producing credits to his name.
In 2017, Rachael Ray’s husband starred alongside Sarah Silverman and Pete Holmes in an episode of Crashing. He was also featured in the 1982 post-apocalyptic thriller World War Mud and in Rurouni Kenshin: Wandering Samurai, in which he’s also cited as a producer. Impressive as that all may be, his acting and producing days seem to have slowed as he became more involved with his wife’s television show.
John Cusimano runs wife Rachael Ray’s merchandising
Though the glamour associated with the fast-paced world of entertainment law might leave you with visions of heated negotiations with high-powered studio execs over power lunches at the Beverly Hills Hotel, there are other sides to the business, one of which is merchandising. And when you’re a name as big as Rachael Ray, that can mean millions of dollars in contracts. Luckily for the 30-Minute Meals author, she’s got someone to handle it all right under her roof.
Though John Cusimano was an entertainment lawyer specializing in film prior to meeting Rachael Ray, in an interview with Love is Pop, he disclosed how his career path changed since then. "I used to be in the film business working on independent movies," he said. "Then I met my wife Rachel and she needed someone to start merchandising and licensing … So, yeah, that’s what I do."
John Cusimano and Rachael Ray are parents to a four-legged child
Though Rachael Ray is an outspoken advocate for pit bulls, according to Dogs and Treats, and even has her own line of pet food called Nutrish, inspired by her pet pit bull, Isaboo, when it comes to human children, Rachael Ray and John Cusimano have opted to forego parenthood. She discussed why in an interview with People (via Delish), saying, "I work too much to be an appropriate parent … I just feel like I would do a bad job if I actually took the time to literally give birth to a kid right now and try and juggle everything I’m doing."
But just because the power couple doesn’t have kids, this doesn’t mean they can’t participate in Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day. During a 2017 airing of the Rachael Ray show, Isaboo paid the set a visit in honor of the holiday. Since Ray has had the dog since she was a puppy, it didn’t seem like much of a stretch.
John Cusimano and Rachael Ray keep Valentine’s Day simple
Being rich and famous doesn’t mean you have to spend a gajillion dollars on Valentine’s Day. You can keep it simple and do the holiday like you were in high school even if you are a celebrated TV chef. In a Valentine’s Day interview with People, John Cusimano and Rachael Ray revealed their V-Day traditions are pretty simple. "He makes me a playlist every year and I make him his favorite meal which is pasta carbonara," she said. She did not elaborate on whether that playlist was delivered on cassette tape, burned CD, or MP3 player, but we’ll just assume they adapted with the times.
She also gifts him a bouquet of salamis each Valentine’s Day, which she said takes seven or eight months to run through. That, apparently, is the beauty of salted, cured meats. But Ray also admits the celebration isn’t always limited to her and her husband, as she’s thrown Valentine’s Day parties for her mom and her friends as well.
John Cusimano wrote Rachael Ray a song called "Burn"
When John Cusimano was courting Rachael Ray, the successful singer-songwriter used his creativity to write her a special song. While we can’t argue with his talent, and his heart was certainly in the right place, we do have to wonder a little bit about his selection of song titles. Because of all the things he could name a song dedicated to a chef, he chose to call the song "Burn."
This would be a bit like dating Danica Patrick and writing her a song called "Crash." Or trying to impress Mia Hamm with a song called "Tear Your ACL." Nonetheless, in an interview with Vanity Fair, Cusimano insists the ballad wasn’t about turning food into inedible balls of carbon. "It’s about the way you feel when you’re burning, whether with desire or you want to be near that person and you’re not," Rachael Ray’s husband said. Though it still sounds like a save to us.
Rachael Ray’s husband has contributed to her cookbooks
Having a project on which to collaborate is a healthy part of any marriage, and the same goes for celebrity chefs and their entertainment lawyer husbands. And since John Cusimano has been a regular on the Rachael Ray show showing her audience how to craft extravagant cocktails, it’s only natural that he’d use those skills to collaborate with her on… something. And so they did with My Year in Meals, Ray’s year-long, 1,216-page epic journey through a year of cooking, featuring cocktail recipes from her husband.
For his part, Cusimano’s section is called My Year in Cocktails, and it can be viewed by flipping the book upside down and starting from the back cover. It features over 100 recipes ranging from basics like gin fizz and mai tais, to inventive stuff like blackberry margaritas and Italian champagne spritzers. In a video review of the book, food blogger Christy Bright warns you’ll likely need to hit the liquor store to buy most of the ingredients. The recipes are intricate, and you probably won’t have most of the stuff sitting around your liquor cabinet.
Rachael Ray says John Cusimano is the only man she could’ve married
It takes a strong and confident man to be married to an independent, successful, and world-famous woman. And if you’re Rachael Ray, finding a man like that wasn’t easy, especially with her demanding schedule. In a 2007 cover story for People, the TV chef said that most of the men she’d dated prior to John Cusimano couldn’t handle her lifestyle. "I can’t give a man an enormous amount of attention," she said. "When men I have dated over the years whined about, ‘Oh, you make no time for me’ — see ya! I just dumped them."
That was until one magical night in 2001, when she met the man who would be her husband. Ray went on to tell People that Cusimano was "totally down" with her not being able to give him much attention. She drove the point home during an interview with ABC News, when she said he was "the only guy in the world I could have married. The only man that can possibly exist that doesn’t mind eating dinner at midnight, you know," she said. "I mean, he’s a really easygoing guy."
Rachael Ray’s husband likes to come home and curl up with her and their puppy
Even though they are celebrities and live a faster-paced, globe-trotting lifestyle, John Cusimano and Rachael Ray enjoy ending their days as unglamorously as everyone else. "It’s fun to come home after a hard day’s work and just cook dinner," Cusimano told People. "The place I’m happiest is curled up in bed with Rachael and the puppy." His wife concurred, calling them "turtle-like" and saying their evenings consist of wine, music, and reruns of Law & Order.
Of course, "puppy" is a relative term, as the dog the family shares is a pit bull named Isaboo, a rescue dog Ray has called her own since 2005, according to Dogster. The dog is as much a part of the family as a child might be, as Ray told the site, "I’m reminded of all of the folks who see their pets as family members. She is my daughter." And having a famous chef as a dog mom certainly has its benefits, as Ray makes Isaboo a birthday cake every year made of ground beef, pork, barley, carrots, bacon, roasted beets, and cream cheese. This dog has the life!