Long hours, close quarters, bonding, confiding, commiserating: There are reasons why a workplace romance is a pretty common occurrence.
Yet for whatever reason, it feels wild when it happens on the set of a morning show.
Fans were riveted—online and IRL—when ABC News' Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes, co-anchors of Good Morning America spin-off GMA3: What You Need to Know, were photographed in November acting like more than friends and colleagues.
Not realizing they were the subject of a dedicated media investigation (into their personal lives), the pair shared an intimate-looking laugh over beers at a Manhattan pub, made excursions to each other's apartments and spent time at a cottage in upstate New York—pictorial evidence of which was published Nov. 30 by DailyMail.com.
The cameras didn't capture anything NSFW, but rather it was what people thought they knew about Holmes and Robach's respective relationship statuses that turned this into the hot topic of the holiday season.
Robach had been married to actor Andrew Shue since February 2010, the second marriage for both. The mother of two daughters met the Melrose Place star, who shares three sons with his first wife, at a book party in April 2009 and he popped the question that September.
Also once-divorced with two kids from his first marriage, Holmes had been married to lawyer and Save the Children executive Marilee Fiebig since 2010. They're parents of a 10-year-old daughter together.
And while no one batted an eye at the time, you can bet the newfound GMA3 obsessives were scouring social media for clues when they dug up Holmes' 10th wedding anniversary Facebook post from March 1, 2020: "This particular #decadechallenge is a little late, but 10 years ago, Marilee Feibig married me. And despite my best efforts, she remained married to me the past 10 years. That's not hyperbole. I'm not being dramatic. I gave her plenty of reasons, excuses, and opportunities to walk her fine ass out the doooooooor."
Highlighting his wife's "grace and patience," he continued, "Asking her for another 10 years would be too much. Another 10 months? That may even be a stretch. If she gave me another 10 weeks, I should consider myself lucky. If she puts up with me another 10 days, I'd be grateful. But if she would even spare another 10 minutes of her time for me today, I should consider myself blessed."
Meanwhile, both Fiebig and Shue had witnessed their partner rise through the broadcasting ranks.
After five years as co-anchor of MSNBC's Weekend Today, Robach joined GMA as a correspondent in 2012, eventually becoming news anchor of the morning show in 2014. She was named co-anchor of 20/20 in 2018 and, after helping guide viewers through the crisis that was COVID-19 as host of Pandemic: What You Need to Know, she took over the post-GMA timeslot for good with the newly christened hour GMA3: What You Need to Know.
Holmes had stints at CNN, BET and MSNBC before joining ABC News in 2014, where he was soon named co-anchor of World News Now, ABC's overnight broadcast. He started co-anchoring GMA3 with Robach on Sept. 21, 2020.
They became fast friends when Holmes joined the network, Robach later told People, and she was thrilled when it was suggested that they be paired on GMA3.
"You couldn't have picked a better person to ask me what I thought of," Robach said, "because we've been trying to figure out a way to work together for literally the last five years."
She described Holmes as "like my brother. We just can finish each other's sentences. We get along so well. It's so wonderful to have, again, it's that trust, and you don't always have that on the set. But I know no matter what I do or say, he's got my back and vice versa, and that's everything."
They "just clicked" when they met, she added. "We've gone on tons of double dates with our spouses and my daughters babysit his daughters."
Shue appeared on GMA3 in October 2021 to talk about the release of Better Together!, a children's book he and Robach wrote together—and Holmes called their coupling "a love story like no other."
"These are absolutely two of my favorite people on the planet," Holmes gushed, calling Shue "a dear, dear friend."
Last March, Robach, Shue and Holmes all ran the United New York City Half Marathon, Holmes sharing afterward on GMA3 that his co-anchor was the one who convinced him to do it.
"And you enjoyed it, too," Robach told her colleague, who finished slightly ahead of her. "The smile on your face was undeniable. Also, I just wanted to point out—I'm going to say it for you—TJ beat me."
Holmes modestly concurred. "We were running together," he said. "And I ended up a second ahead, officially."
Robach, who ran her maiden NYC Marathon with Shue and some friends back in 2019, had commemorated the day on Instagram, captioning a series of photos, including one of her and Holmes running side by side, "What a perfect race day!!!! Beautiful weather, beautiful friends, and personal records for all 5 of us."
Then, in November, Holmes and Robach ran the New York City Marathon together with Shue nowhere in sight. This time, Holmes finished less than a second behind his partner.
Multiple outlets subsequently reported that Robach and Holmes separated from their respective spouses over the summer.
And while no one was looking, Robach and Shue had put their New York apartment on the market in September and quietly closed on the sale for $5.2 million on Nov. 18, E! News confirmed through online records.
The photos of Robach and Holmes spending time together after hours ran on a Wednesday, meaning there was no weekend buffer between the apparent relationship reveal and the next scheduled installment of GMA3.
Deactivating their respective Instagram accounts but otherwise not missing a beat, Robach and Holmes were back on the air Thursday, Dec. 1. And because GMA3 isn't a rapid-fire free-for-all, alas, no one brought up what had transpired 24 hours beforehand.
Also by Dec. 1, Shue's Instagram was active but devoid of any Robach photos, including one from his GMA3 appearance, though a Nov. 10, 2020, selfie with a caption noting that he missed his running partner remains.
Fiebig's Instagram page still contains family pics, including one of Holmes with their daughter Sabine from Father's Day and another from his 45th birthday, posted Aug. 19.
"[May] the year ahead fill you with wishes made true," Fiebig captioned the shot of father and daughter sampling birthday cake.
Before wishing Sabine a happy 10th birthday on Jan. 6, Fiebig's most recent post had been from Nov. 25, is a picture of her with friends, captioned, "The advice I give my daughter most often: find yourself a sisterhood village in this life. When your cup runneth empty, they will be there to fill it over and more (or throw the contents of the cup at whomever if the need arises)."
An ABC News source told E! News that there had been no noticeable change in Robach and Holmes' interactions with each other at work, and that since they always seemed to be close friends there was no reason to suspect the nature of their relationship had changed.
At the same time, the source added, while the number of photographs that were initially published (65, for the record) was a shock to see, the news wasn't entirely surprising. When Robach and Holmes returned to work on Dec. 1, they reportedly arrived together, looking very much a couple.
On Dec. 2, the GMA3 hosts alluded to the drama that was percolating behind the scenes.
"You know, it's too bad it's Friday," Holmes quipped during the show. "It's been a great week, just want this one to keep going, and going, and going."
Robach cracked, "Speak for yourself, I am very excited about the weekend."
It turned out to be a long one.
Robach and Holmes were sidelined, effective Dec. 5, with ABC News President Kim Godwin informing staffers of the decision in a call that morning. (Incidentally, Nielsen data showed an 11 percent jump in viewership for the final two episodes of the week compared with the first three, according to Variety.)
"I want to say that while the relationship is not a violation of company policy, I really have taken the last few days to think about and work through what I think is best for the ABC News organization," Godwin said, according to The Hollywood Reporter, citing a source who was on the call. "These decisions are not easy, they are not knee-jerk, but they are necessary for the brand and for our priority which, you guys know, are all of us—the people here at ABC."
That morning on GMA3, guest anchor Stephanie Ramos, filling in with Gio Benitez, said the usual hosts had "the day off."
But out of sight did not mean out of mind for those who know Holmes and Robach or were otherwise suddenly very invested in their future together and at ABC.
Regarding the relationship gossip, he added, "I don't know about their situation. I'm not privy enough. But I just like to offer people love and support, and I hope that they're OK and hope that they continue to prosper."
While acknowledging he didn't "know anything" about HR regulations at ABC News or anywhere else, Howard Stern said on his SiriusXM show Dec. 6 that he didn't think a consensual office romance should be a disciplinary matter.
If two colleagues want to "be in love, what do I give a s--t?" Stern mused. "Why is that, like, offensive to people?"
Not from her own anchor chair but on Watch What Happens Live, CBS This Morning's Gayle King called the situation "interesting."
"It's just gotten very messy and very sloppy," she told Andy Cohen on the Dec. 8 episode of his Bravo show. "I do think that. Because in the beginning I actually thought, 'Good on Good Morning America. They're saying they're not taking them off the air. It's two consenting adults.'"
"But," King continued, "then the more you read, it's just very messy."
A week later, the show was still going on without Robach, who was photographed on a solo dog walk in her NYC neighborhood on Dec. 7, and Holmes.
"I understand that the continuing coverage can be distracting from the incredibly important work our team does here at ABC News," Godwin wrote in a Dec. 12 office memo obtained by E! News. "Amy and T.J. will remain off-air pending the completion of an internal review, and there will be a rotation of anchors at GMA3 for the time being. It is my hope that we will continue to focus our energy on what we do best, and I want all of you to know how immensely proud I am of your hard work and professionalism."
A source familiar with the situation told CNN that ABC's legal department was conducting a review, focused in part on whether or not Holmes and Robach violated the company's morality rules.
After being pulled off the air, the couple of the hour were automatically the subject of split rumors. But a source close to the situation told E! News Dec. 14, "They are still very much together." The following day, they were spotted strolling to lunch in New York, arm in arm.
When the clock struck midnight on Jan. 1, ABC still hadn't commented one way or another about the fate of the couple's co-anchorship.
"They are out but discussions are still in process," a source familiar with the situation told E! News Friday. "It is expected they will be leaving the show."
ABC has not yet returned E! News' request for comment. Neither Robach nor Holmes has commented publicly on their status with the show or the nature of their relationship since this all began.
(Originally published Dec. 26, 2022, at 8 a.m. PT)