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Rachael Domenica Ray was born on August 25, 1968, in Glens Falls, New York. She was born to James Claude Ray, and she is of French, Scottish, and Welsh descent on her paternal side. Ray's mother is Elsa Providenza Scuderi, a Sicilian American. When Ray was eight years old, the family moved to Lake George, New York. Her mother managed restaurants, including the Lake George Howard Johnson's restaurant near the former Gaslight Village amusement park. When Ray arrived in New York City in 1995, she began working at a candy counter. She then managed a pub and even taught courses for people who did not know how to cook, leading to a radio show which eventually paved the way to her TV show.
Rachael Ray's career in television took off when she hosted the show 30 Minute Meals on Food Network for 11 seasons from 2001 to 2012. In 2005, she signed a deal to host a syndicated daytime TV talk show, titled Rachael Ray, which premiered on September 18, 2006. Her repeated appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show helped to fuel the show's launch, similar to how Dr. Phil's show started based on his frequent visits to Oprah. Her show taped its episodes in New York City. During the syndication announcement, Ray said, "People know me for my love of food, but I have so much more I want to share." Throughout her career, Rachael Ray has endorsed many products, such as the packaging wrappers of Nabisco Crackers. Her designs even appear on sheets, blankets, and coverlets of WestPoint Home markets. Though she explicitly states that she isn't good at making coffee or anything that requires measured ingredients, Dunkin' Donuts hired Rachael as a celebrity endorser. Online bloggers complained that Dunkin Donuts was a front for Islamic terrorists, as the white and black scarf that the audience saw Rachael wearing in the ad was also considered a symbol of the Islamic terrorists.
Though both Rachael Ray and the company denied the connection between the company and the terrorist group, the mounting pressures from online backlash made Dunkin Donuts pull the commercial. In 2006, Ray launched the "Yum-O!" nonprofit organization, whose mission is to "empower kids and their families to develop healthy relationships with food and cooking, by teaching families to cook, feeding hungry kids, and funding cooking education." In November of 2006, Ray became a spokeswoman for Nabisco crackers, appearing in commercials and on boxes for the many Nabisco products. At the start of 2007, WestPoint Home launched sheets, blankets, and coverlets designed by Ray. Within six months, WestPoint expanded Ray's bed and bath line to include the Moppine, a two-in-one dish towel/oven mitt, since Ray is often seen with a kitchen towel over her shoulder that doubles for her as a kitchen mitt.
In May 2007, Ray's recipes were made available on AT&T cellular phones via the app "Rachael Ray Recipes on the Run". In July 2008, AT&T introduced Rachael Ray's Nutrish pet food, created from recipes Ray had developed for her pit bull, Isaboo. All proceeds from the sale of these products go to Rachael's Rescue, a charity Ray established to help at-risk animals. In December 2016, PulteGroup launched the Rachael Ray Home Collection for its interior design division. Throughout her career, Ray has earned 11 nominations for the "Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Host", winning three of them in 1996, 2008, and 2009. She has also written 27 books, beginning with her first book, 30 Minute Meals, in 1999, and ending with Everyone Is Italian on Sunday in 2015.
Rachael Ray married John Cusimano, a prominent lawyer and the lead singer of the rock band called The Cringe, on September 24, 2005. The pair had their dream wedding in Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy, which attracted a lot of attention and fueled many rumors, a downside to being a celebrity. Even while Ray and Cusimano were still newlyweds, the wave of stories began flaring up. The most scandalous of the rumors was not about Ray but rather about her husband, John Cusimano. Jeannine Walz, a Las Vegas native, called Cusimano a "freak" who used to pay her a large amount of money at regular intervals over five years to perform sexual acts. Even after the wedding with Ray, Cusimano visited Jeannine at various places, including her apartment. The marriage of Rachael Ray and John Cusimano was reportedly on the rocks for a while due to the news of John's frequent visits to a swing club called "Checkmate," where he went with a female escort, not Ray. The relationship was rumored to be heading for divorce, but it has weathered various scandals.
The rumors of divorce from Cusimano gained more momentum as the media saw the celebrity chef hunting for an apartment with her mother. Rumors also spread that settlement talks were being processed before the couple ended up in a courtroom. Thus far, Ray and Cusimano have remained married. In April 2019, Ray shared a story about why they have been able to stay strong for so long. John Cusimano has indeed sprung up on her morning show frequently, but not even her frequent viewers know about how her 14-year marriage started. Rachael and John's story started one late night at a shared companion's birthday celebration where they first met. Their discussion spun around food, and they hit it off and hung out all night talking about their shared interests.
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