Jon Batiste was the big winner at the 2022 Grammy Awards on Sunday April 3. The Late Show bandleader took home five of the 11 awards he was nominated for, including the coveted Album of the Year award. Jon has been a longstanding figure in the music industry, both putting out his own music, and collaborating with many other major acts over the years. Just before he won at the Grammys, he had announced that he and his wife Suleika Jaouad married in a private ceremony back in February. Suleika is a journalist and author, whose memoir Between Two Kingdoms chronicles her 2011 battle with cancer. Of course, Suleika cheered on her husband as he won all of his awards. Find out everything you need to know about Jon and Suleika here!
How did Jon & Suleika meet?
While it’s not clear how exactly Jon and Suleika met, the “Freedom” singer and his now-wife have been together for eight years before they got married. Suleika admitted that the pair had an immediate connection and had discussed marriage during their first week of their relationship in an April 3 interview with CBS Sunday Morning. “We have known that we wanted to get married from the first week that we started dating. That’s when Jon first brought up the topic of marriage to me,” she said.
Jon has spoken about how Suleika has inspired his music. He admitted that “Show Me The Way” was about his relationship in a 2021 interview with People. “It speaks to a lot of me growing up and also our relationship,” he said. “It’s a beautiful thing to have that piece of our relationship sliced off into the album.”
The couple got married in February 2022.
The pair revealed that they’d gotten married in secret after Suleika was diagnosed with leukemia for a second time in February 2022 in the CBS Sunday Morning interview. Jon said that the pair planned to be strong in her battle against cancer. “This isn’t going to interrupt the plan that we have. We have a plan. We’re moving toward the plan, and this is just a bump in the road,” he told CBS.
In the same interview, Suleika opened up about how Jon proposed, and how they planned their wedding last minute before she started receiving treatment. “We got married the day before I was admitted to the hospital to undergo my brain marrow transplant,” she said. “When I got my diagnosis, I’d planned this special birthday weekend, but it turned out Jon had multi-month plans in the making to propose to me, and when he did, he said to me, ‘I just want to be very clear: I’m not proposing to you because of this diagnosis. It took me a year to design your ring.'” She also said that Jon told her that her battle wouldn’t affect his love for her or their marriage plans. “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,” he told her.
Suleika went on to explain how the pair had a rushed wedding with a small ceremony with just four people attending, and they bought their wedding clothes the night before. She said that the beautiful, intimate ceremony gave them so much hope as she got a bone marrow transplant. “We were so happy. So brimming with love and positivity from this beautiful evening that we’d had, and I really believed that that carried us through. That sense of community. That sense of love. That sense of joy and spontaneity were so important,” she said.
Suleika is a journalist.
Suleika has a number of creative projects, but primarily, she’s a writer. Her work has been published in a number of different outlets. She’s written about her battle with cancer for Vogue and The Atlantic, and she’s even given a TedTalk about her battle. Other than that, she’s also written about prison, including an op-ed on the death row inmate Quinton Jones for The New York Times.
Suleika was diagnosed with cancer in 2011.
While Suleika went into treatment for leukemia for the second time in February 2022, this isn’t the first time that she’s fought against cancer. She was diagnosed with leukemia for the first time after she graduated college, and she chronicled her battle with disease and her journey towards recovery in her 2021 book Between Two Worlds: A Memoir Of A Life Interrupted. The memoir chronicles a 100 day road trip Suleika took after she beat cancer for the first time, where she met with some of the people that she exchanged letters with when she first fought against leukemia. “What she learned on this trip is that the divide between sick and well is porous, that the vast majority of us will travel back and forth between these realms throughout our lives,” the book’s description sttates.
She’s been painting through her second battle with leukemia
As she battles cancer for the second time, Suleika announced her creative “100-day project” where she’s planning on creating a beautiful painting over 100 days. “I know from experience how powerful the 100-day project can be, both the sense of creative possibility and the organizing principle it affords: your day becomes centered around making one tiny beautiful thing,” she wrote in an Instagram post about the new project. She’s also shared some photos of her paintings on her Instagram as well as photos of her creating the beautiful artwork from her hospital bed.