During a Q&A session preceding a recent taping of The Late Show, an inquisitive audience member asked: “When you met the woman that is now your wife, how did you know she was the one?”
"Oh man, how long do we have?" Colbert replied as the audience let out a collective "aww."
What followed was six full minutes of the host’s heartwarming tale of love, including the moment he spotted a woman in a black linen dress in the lobby of a Charleston, South Carolina, music festival.
"I think, her," he said. "Honest to God, I thought, there’s your wife. You’re going to marry her."
After the show, when he finally got to meet Evelyn McGee, the soon-to-be couple realized they had crossed paths before.
“The moment our eyes met… we realized we had grown up with each other,” Colbert said.
From there, they conversed for two hours, but Colbert was not sure whether McGee liked him, or was just being polite.
The moment of truth came when Colbert decided to turn around for 60 seconds, giving Evelyn an opportunity to slip away, if she wanted to.
“I turned my back for what is now clearly to me the most harrowing minute of my life. What if she'd gone away? But she didn’t! She was still there when I turned around, smiling at me. And now we're married.”
He added: “Believe it or not, that’s the short version of that story.”
The pair married in 1993, and have three children.