Carson Daly is the one single human being who defined early-aughts MTV — and he did it one black-painted fingernail and slow pan to the screaming fans outside of Viacom’s Times Square offices at a time. In a distant world where MTV still played music videos, Daly was the type of celeb who dated early noughties It girls like Jennifer Love Hewitt and Tara Reid, but that’s not who the star ultimately settled down with.
When the MTV VJ graduated to a serious career as a late-night TV host, he met his wife Siri Pinter, a regular person whose name had not yet entered the tabloid’s lexicon. She wasn’t chased by paparazzi. Her plastic surgery blunders haven’t plagued her career for years — if she’s even ever gotten so much as a vial of Botox, to begin with. The writer is wildly lowkey, and so is her marriage to the television host. The pair have quietly been raising their four kids in Long Island.
As Daly once sweetly described to Elle, his relationship is “living proof that the good guys win.” The most shocking part about it is just how long the couple has managed to endure in an industry built on tearing relationships apart.
Carson Daly 'dodged a bullet' with Tara Reid
Y2K was a simpler time — one where NSYNC was kicking off the decade with Millennium, and Tara Reid had yet to have the disastrous nip slip heard round the world. It was that year that Carson Daly got down on one knee and proposed to the American Pie It girl.
Daly and Reid’s love story could have very well defined a decade. According to ABC News, they first locked eyes during a serendipitous MTV spring break in 2000 after the millennium bug didn’t spiral civilization into chaos. Like the doomsday preppers who flooded Geocities with debunked conspiracies, perhaps the pair felt they had a new lease on life. The world didn’t end, and so it continued with screaming fans outside of TRL. Just seven months after spring break, the pair were engaged and sharing an NYC apartment.
ABC News reports that Reid ended up postponing their summer nuptials to film The Guest, but the couple ultimately canceled it for good in 2001 and went their separate ways. Today, Daly considers it a blessing. In an interview with Elle, the TV personality admitted, “To some extent, I dodged a bullet. I was getting serious about my career, and she wanted to shoot movies and just party in her time off. That didn’t work for me.” After the experience of dating Reid, Daly decided he wanted to date a “regular person” who shared his same values. Enter: Siri Pinter.
Carson Daly is friends with this ex
Time heals all wounds, and that really rings true for Carson Daly. Though the star has since settled down with longtime girlfriend Siri Pinter, he’s managed to stay friends with his ex, and that says a lot considering the way they broke up.
In the late ’90s, Daly dated Jennifer Love Hewitt for a year right at the height of her Party of Five fame. She reportedly dumped him through her publicist, and he ended up finding out about their split when he tuned into The Howard Stern Show. “If we were going to break up officially like this, maybe we could have just talked about it. I don’t see why you had to tell your publicist. And now I have been publicly humiliated,” he told the actress per E! News.
Even with that, the pair formed a lasting friendship. During 2003’s MTV Bash, Hewitt roasted Daly by reading one of his love letters before admitting, “Having you in my life was very important to me, and being your girlfriend was truly one of the best things I’ve ever had the honor to do.” Daly officially put their breakup to rest during Hewitt’s 2005 appearance on Last Call with Carson Daly. “It ended a little weird, I got to be honest,” he said. “It doesn’t matter … you know I love you.” In recent years, they’re still tight. Hewitt posted a throwback photo of the pair from the MTV VMAs in 2018.
Carson Daly and Siri Pinter's romance was an office secret
Carson Daly and Siri Pinter’s romance was initially a secret — a forbidden office romance where the pair tried their best not to get caught. According to People, the couple first met in 2005 when Pinter was a writing assistant on Daly’s late-night show Last Call – and there was an instant attraction. “She would walk into our meetings and I would look at the other dudes in the room, like, ‘Do you see what I see?’ It was undeniable,” Daly told People.
Clearly, this sort of romance would probably get some side-eye from HR — and that’s just a best-case scenario where no one’s reprimanded for dating their inferior — but it turned out to be the real deal. In an interview with Elle, Daly owned up to hiding their fling until they realized “we were in love and it wasn’t just an office romance.”
It took Carson Daly and Siri Pinter a decade to tie the knot
Though it took all of seven months for Carson Daly to pop the question to Tara Reid, he took a way more cautious and slow approach with Siri Pinter. The pair didn’t buy into societal pressures to tie the knot. According to Us Weekly, when they finally got engaged in 2013, they had been dating for eight years and already had two kids, three-year-old Jack and 13-month-old Etta Jones.
Even before their engagement, Daly admitted the pair weren’t really worried about getting married. “I think long-lasting, healthy relationships are more important than the idea of marriage,” he told Elle in 2012. “At the root of every successful marriage is a strong partnership. And that’s what we have.”
They didn’t have a traditional year-long engagement, either. It took two years for Siri to walk down the aisle in a secret ceremony. The year prior, it didn’t even seem like a wedding was a priority at all. “Our lives have been crazy,” Daly told People in 2014. “We’ll get married when we have time. The husband and wife thing is just the bow around something. Our end game is we want to be together forever.”
They don't sleep in the same bedroom
Carson Daly and Siri Pinter are divorced — at least divorced from sleeping in the same bed. Perhaps the secret to a long-enduring romance is to have your own bedroom far away from the kicking, turning, and loud breathing of a partner (and that’s before you factor in their body heat radiating towards you like you’re sleeping on the inside of a volcano).
In an interview with People, Daly made the shocking admission that he started “sleep divorcing” his wife when she was pregnant with baby number four. “We’re both pretty good-sized humans and it just wasn’t really working when she was in her third trimester, and I also have sleep apnea, which is very sexy for the ladies out there, I’m sure,” Carson said. “She couldn’t get comfortable, so we were like a commercial you would see, kicking each other and just not sleeping.”
The couple unilaterally decided to just call it a day — or rather, a good night — on sharing a bed, and they never looked back, especially after their fourth child was born. Carson, who wakes up at 3 a.m. to film Today, didn’t want to risk waking his wife and daughter, so he stayed in a separate room. He ultimately found that having more energy actually helped his relationship rather than hurt it. “I don’t know if we’ll ever sleep together again,” he said.
Carson Daly and Siri Pinter's wedding was a total surprise
After a decade of waiting, you think a marriage would be a huge celebration, but this low-key couple didn’t even send their parents a “Save The Date.” According to Today, Carson Daly and Siri Pinter tied the knot on Christmas Eve in a small, secret ceremony. “I wanted a hoverboard, I got a wife,” Daly said, further elaborating that their families were visiting for the holidays, and they “surprised [their] moms” with the wedding.
For the nuptials, Pinter kept things affordable and vaguely DIY. She didn’t go for an expensive designer gown. In a blog post, the bride revealed that she wore a sensible, streamlined dress from J. Crew and got her makeup done at Sephora. At one point, she even considered making her own wedding cake but scrapped the idea when she became a “ball of stress” while trying to finalize the wedding details and shop for Christmas gifts at the same time. She did, however, order her own cake-topper, which never came. It read, “finally.” Perfectly fitting for a marriage ten years in the making, but they wouldn’t have changed a thing.
“It was great that the kids were a little bit older,” Daly told Today. “They actually knew what was going on.” Pinter’s eldest son Jack, who was six at the time, even walked his mom down the aisle.
Carson Daly and Siri Pinter bring their kids to work
Carson Daly and Siri Pinter first met at work, so it only makes sense that work would become a family affair. Though Pinter has since moved on from Last Call, and the show aired its final episode in 2019, the couple’s children still regularly find their way onto sets.
Bringing the kids to work seemed like a regular thing for the former MTV VJ during his time on The Voice, where he served as a host and producer since 2011. The show was a full-circle moment for him and Christina Aguilera, who knew each other from way back in the days of TRL when Aguilera was still writhing around in chaps and braided lowlights. “My son and Christina [Aguilera’s] son play together,” Daly told People,
Years later, Jack actually seems poised to follow in his father’s footsteps. In April 2020, the child hosted NBC’s Nightly News: Kids Edition, where he talked about homeschooling and the virtual safaris being held by the Cincinnati Zoo. “That was pretty cool. I’ll tell you what, I’m really proud of the kid, just for getting up and working and not slacking off like it’s summertime around here,” Daly told Today.
Carson Daly is afraid of loving his family too much
Love can be terrifying, especially after experiencing a painful loss — and Carson Daly isn’t afraid to admit it. The former MTV VJ has never been shy about getting vulnerable on air and opened up about the aftermath of his mother’s death during an episode of Today. In short: he made the heartbreaking admission that the overwhelming grief he felt from losing his mother made him afraid to love his children.
Daly’s mother, Pattie, passed away in 2017 from a heart attack. He lost his stepfather, Richard, to bone cancer little more than a month later. Two years after the gutting losses, guest host Hoda Kotb asked the star what his parents were proudest of. “My parents were overly proud,” he told her. “I sometimes try to love my kids, I think, less, almost on purpose, because I’m so scared of loving them too much.”
Daly elaborated further, claiming his mother loved him “almost too much” and that when she died, he felt a huge void. “It hurt so much because I’m so bummed that that love isn’t there anymore, and that’s a byproduct of her love for me. And that’s the greatest gift you can give your kids,” he said, adding, “It’s a scary proposition, too. I find myself falling in love with my kids so much, and I almost want to put a little bit of a guard there out of fear.”
Mom life made Siri Pinter want to be a food blogger
Siri Pinter didn’t fully realize her path in life until after she had kids. Though she was previously working as a writing assistant on Last Call, she had no idea that she would eventually discover her love for food blogging when she started expanding her family with Carson Daly. In an interview with Long Island Press, the mother of four admitted that she decided to launch her blog Seriously Delicious when her son was born.
“I was working in late-night television and I was producing segments. I missed writing, and then I decided to combine that with my love of food,” she said. “Starting a food blog wasn’t like I was suddenly a foodie, it was more like ‘Oh my gosh, I am in this domestic situation — how do people do it?'”
At first, Pinter’s blog was mostly a way to keep track of the meals she served her family and to exercise her sense of humor, but it evolved way past that. The writer has since released a cookbook named after her blog and regularly visits the Today kitchen to film cooking segments alongside her husband.
They named their youngest kid after a pot of gold
What’s in a name? Normally couples have a lengthy list of potential names for their babies, but by kid number four, Carson Daly and Siri Pinter were a bit stuck for inspiration. They ultimately didn’t even end up naming their kid after a human, at least not totally. While they didn’t go full-fledged Gwyneth Paltrow with a fruit-based name, let’s just say that Goldie didn’t come from the iconic actress Goldie Hawn or even Goldie Locks.
During an episode of the Today show, Daly admitted that the pair wanted to give their youngest daughter an Irish name to represent Daly’s Irish heritage. He had done an Ancestry DNA kit, which was originally a Christmas gift from his sister, and it confirmed that he was 98% Irish. They browsed Irish baby names but ultimately landed on “Goldie” — derived from the idea of a lucky pot of gold — on St. Patrick’s Day. “We had a short list of names that we liked, but nothing was sticking its neck out,” Daly admitted. “And I thought about it, you know, this is our fourth kid. She seems like the pot of gold at the end of our family rainbow.”
The pair also opted to honor Daly’s late mother by giving Goldie the middle name Patricia, but despite the meaningful name, the tot now goes by the nickname “Go Go.”
With a love like this, who needs an award?
In 2018, Carson Daly used his marriage to remind us to focus on what really matters. That year, The Voice was nominated for an Emmy Award in the Reality Competition category. Sadly, the program sashayed away without a prize when they were pummeled by RuPaul’s Drag Race. Daly, however, didn’t seem to sweat it. In an Instagram post, he claimed he’d already won.
“Well, we may have lost the Emmy … but I am still the big winner having the most incredible wife, mom and life partner [Siri Pinter] next to me,” he wrote posing next to his partner. “And as my mom would say in her Carolina drawl, ‘She’s not only purdy on the outside, but on the inside too!'”
Aww! If it’s any consolation, Carson Daly did win four Emmy Awards for The Voice. According to Variety, the program was the second show to beat The Amazing Race since the reality competition category was created in 2003. After that many wins, who really needs another?
Having a newborn in a pandemic actually eased Carson Daly's anxiety disorder
In the past, Carson Daly has been open about his struggle with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. In an episode of Today, he admitted that he was “always worrying” when he was a child. “My father died when I was 5. I had an ulcer when I was in high school. I’ve been nervous my whole life,” he said. In adulthood, the Daly’s anxiety even led him to the hospital, fearing he was having a heart attack.
Since then, Daly has learned how to cope better with the help of a cognitive therapist, but it still affects his day-to-day. “I’ve had heightened anxiety and mild panic attacks at the playground with my own children and wife there. The feeling was so gripping and so terrifying that literally I had to leave and excuse myself,” he revealed.
Things started to, quite unexpectedly, ease up a bit after the birth of Goldie. While most parents are stressed out and sleepless while caring for a newborn — much less caring for a newborn in the midst of global pandemic — Daly found a sense of calm. “It’s fun to be able to wake up and not be like, ‘Oh my God, my life’s upside down,’ but to hold the newborn instead,” he told People. Similarly, Pinter dished to People that she “felt kind of calm” because Goldie was her fourth kid. Usually, this would all cause the opposite feelings, but whatever works, right?
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