Prior to winning four awards including Album of the Year at the 2022 Grammys, Jon Batiste married longtime partner Suleika Jaouad in a secret wedding ceremony, the pianist/composer and band leader for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert revealed in an interview on CBS Sunday Morning.

“We’ve been secret married until this moment,” Suleika Jaouad told CBS’s Jim Axelrod before explaining how they tied the knot in February as she battled leukemia for the second time. “We got married the day before I was admitted to the hospital to undergo my bone marrow transplant,” she said.

News of Jon Batiste’s 11 Grammy nominations came right as Jaouad began chemotherapy treatment in November of 2021. “We’re sitting in this chemo suite together and these phone calls of congratulations are coming and we’re having to hold these two realities,” Jaouad shared.

Jaouad battled leukemia in the past and shared her experience in the bestselling memoir, Between Two Kingdoms. When she was diagnosed with the disease for a second time, Batiste knew it was time to go ahead with the plans he had in the works.

“He said to me, ‘I just want to be very clear, I’m not proposing to you because of this diagnosis. It’s taken me a year to design your ring. So, just know this timing has nothing to do with it. But what I do want you to know is that this diagnosis doesn’t change anything. It just makes it all the clearer to me that I want to commit to this and for us to be together.’ But once we realized we had this tiny window before the bone marrow transplant, we decided to go for it,” Jaouad shared.

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Jaouad went on to describe the beauty and absurdity of their whirlwind wedding: “[Thanks] to a friend, we were able to arrange to get a marriage license at the very last minute, while I was in the OR getting a catheter placed into my chest. And it was absurd! There were nurses around, there were surgeons around. We had this computer. I was in a hospital gown. But we made it happen. And that night we went and bought our wedding outfits together, very last-minute, lots of laughter. But it was, you know, not anything like what we’d imagined. There were maybe four people present. It was private. It was tiny. And it was perfect.”

Following Jaouad’s bone marrow transplant, Batiste was unable to stay with her due to a spike in cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, but he kept her company virtually every night and wrote lullabies “to fill the room with healing properties.”

He described the couple’s situation with characteristic optimism, calling it just a bump in the road. “Okay, this has happened, but this isn’t gonna interrupt the plan that we had,” he said. “This is just a bump in the road… it’s an act of defiance. The darkness will try to overtake you, but just turn on the light; focus on the light, hold on to the light.”

Jon Batiste will premiere American Symphony, which will pay tribute to musical visionaries including Duke Ellington, James Reese Europe, Mahalia Jackson, and Nina Simone, at Carnegie Hall in New York, NY on April 24th, with a second performance on May 7th. For more information, click here.

[H/T CBS News]