The conversation clicked, and it certainly didn’t hurt that he was 6-foot-11.
“I’ve always liked guys who were taller than me when I wear heels,” says Welch, who is 5-foot-10.
Their chemistry was instant — and the Florida-raised superstar fell into a comfortable relationship with the local girl, who came from a close-knit family with two sisters, an entrepreneur father and a mom who works in interior design.
“We were both really young, so we went to a lot of movies. I would make him dinner, and we would just spend time together. We would talk all the time,” says Welch, who recalls Stoudemire raising his eyebrows at his first Thanksgiving meal with her family.
We’re a cooking family. We had some good old-fashioned mac and cheese and greens. [And] he put sugar on his greens,” she says with a giggle. “It was his Southern roots shining through.”
The pair eventually went on to have three children (their first, Ar’e, was born in 2005) during their relationship.