Adam revealed that he met his future wife around the same time that his breakout show, The O.C., was coming to an end and her hit, Gossip Girl, was just getting started. (The O.C. ended on Fox in 2007, the same year Gossip Girl first aired on The CW).
The chance encounter occurred at Canter's Deli in Los Angeles nearly 15 years ago.
"Josh Schwartz produced both shows and literally the first time we met, that whole cast was eating at Canter's and I lived at Canter's for like my entire 20s," he explained. "And I was leaving, and he introduced all of us."
He "bumped into" Leighton two or three times over the next couple of years, before they were both eventually cast in the 2011 movie The Oranges.
"We did this movie together," he said. "I was seeing someone at the time... So we met kind of through mutual work friends off and on. And then we didn't get together about a year after that movie, when I was single."
He admitted that he was physically attracted to her all along, but sort of assumed the worst about her personality.
"I was very attracted to her from jump. She's a heavenly creature," Adam gushed. "I thought she was gorgeous. And even when we did the movie, there was chemistry there, but I was seeing someone."
Yet, he had to confess, "But I had no idea whether she was a good person or not. And, in fact, kind of assumed she probably wasn't for like the first handful of years that I didn't know her, just because, I don't know, Gossip Girl."
He explained that his assumption wasn't based on anything specific. "Not that I tagged all actresses with that or anything—I didn't. And I like to date actors. I never believe that stigma," he said, before questioning why some fellow celebs refuse to date actresses. "Why? Too beautiful and smart?"
Adam continued his story, saying, "And I was like, ‘Oh, she's cool.' But I still didn't know, and that continued even to when we first started dating… And come to find out she's literally like Joan of Arc. She is the strongest, best person I know. She is my moral compass and North Star, and I just can't say enough good things about her character. It's crazy."
Are you swooning yet?
He then revealed another one of the qualities he loves most about Leighton: "She's never been rude to like a single person in her life, except—and I give her credit for this—paparazzi, where I'm too self-conscious."
As he put it, "I wouldn't say rude but like people will try to get her to sign some sexy old photo or something that aren't fans but they pretend to be fans... It's sort of a bottom feeding thing... She has no problem being like, ‘You can hate me. I don't care.'"
Adam also shared some of his lessons as a husband and father. Mostly, he's learned that having a family is all about compromise and that it's healthy to adjust. "Marriage and being an adult and having a family, it was a new frontier for me. Where, before that, I felt I didn't have to change," he said.
As any O.C. fan could tell you, before he was married to Leighton, the actor dated his co-star Rachel Bilson from 2003 to 2006.
Rachel said they started dating within a few months of the first season and nearly lasted through the finale. They broke up at the very end of the show, but still had to film their characters' wedding scene, she told Dax Shepard for his Armchair Expert podcast on Monday, March 29.
She said on air, "Brody is so cool. He really could do anything with the material and just make it his own. And his choices were always so smart, and I really admired that. I think working with him that young really helped me acting-wise, because I was working opposite him and it made me grow tremendously."
Rachel added that they still got along really well. "I had so much and still do love and respect for Adam. We went through so much together being so young," she noted.