The world is finally learning more about Chicago’s new power couple: Oscar tour-bus passengers Gary and Vicky.
The couple stole the show at Sunday’s Academy Awards, taking selfies with Oscar winner Mahershala Ali, getting TV-married by Denzel Washington and receiving Jennifer Aniston’s sunglasses as a wedding gift.
In a Monday telephone interview with ABC7 Chicago, Gary, whose full name is Gary Alan Coe, revealed a backstory worthy of its own movie.
And if it seemed like “Gary from Chicago” was especially happy to be there, he had good reason: Only three days before, he’d been released from prison after serving 20 years for multiple felonies in a California prison.
For what it’s worth, Coe himself volunteered this information rather than having his background dug up by reporters. A subsequent search of the Califonia sex-offenders database revealed one of his past charges was an attempted rape, a charge his public defender, Karen Nash, says was committed in 1975 when he was a teenager.
Nash noted on Facebook Monday night that Coe was convicted for petty theft in 1997, which would indicate that his long sentence was the result of California’s three-strikes law, which requires harsher sentences for convicted felons with past serious or violent felony convictions on their records. In 2012, the law was changed to mandate 25-year terms for anyone on their third felony conviction.
“I spent this afternoon laughing and crying with Gary and Vicky,” she shared.” For those of you who missed it, I spent years working on Gary’s case. He got a life sentence for stealing perfume in 1997, and we finally won release this year. He got out on Friday, and was sightseeing with his lovely fiancée Vicky. If you watched the Oscars, you know the rest.”
“I’m the luckiest man in the world,” the 59-year-old told his hometown TV station, adding that he’s a reformed one as well.
“Change is possible,” he said. “It’s a sad day to be in prison for 20 years and not be able to be a dad, granddad to your children. You know what my son told me today, man, and I almost come to tears. He said he’s proud of me. So to hear your children say that they’re proud of me means the world to me,” Coe said.
As memorable as their live TV wedding was, they will get married officially this summer in California, the home state of Vicky, whose last name is Vines.
The station’s story noted that Black-ish star Anthony Anderson offered to marry them for real on a live post-Oscar telecast, noting he is ordained in California.
“I was trying to get them up here so I could marry them on this show,” he announced. “Why wait ’til July?”
Gary and Vicky didn’t take him up on it Sunday night, but maybe they can check with Anderson, a two-time Emmy nominee, to see the offer is still good for this summer.