It all sounds like a romantic comedy: Veteran news anchor interviews new cohost, they become friends, both go through their own divorces, and eventually fall in love. But like most things, it was as complicated as it was cute. Dating your coworker is one thing. Try dating your coworker on live TV. That’s what WLWT Channel 5 evening news coanchors Sheree Paolello and Mike Dardis were up against when they began a relationship back in 2017.
“I was most worried about our careers,” says Sheree, “and we were both single parents and we had a lot of responsibilities” (they have five children between them). If it went south, their office romance could ruin what they’d both worked so hard to build.
Everything went according to plan: Sheree and Mike delivered the news every evening and no one was the wiser (going as far as to date out of town so they wouldn’t be seen together romantically)— until Mike spilled the beans in a big way, that is. Intending to text a friend about Sheree, he accidentally texted their boss, who has the same first name. “They were supportive [at the station],” says Mike, “but I know they were crossing their fingers for several months.”
The pair met during Mike’s job interview back in 2011.“Once I read with Sheree, that was the selling point for the job,” he says. It was a good match for Sheree, too, who’d been with the station for 17 years.
Their chemistry was strictly professional, as both Sheree and Mike were married at the time. Over the next few years, they built a close friendship, helping each other cope with their respective divorces. But when Mike was considering a new job in Chicago, they both felt something shift. “It was the first time I felt something other than a buddy-buddy relationship,” Mike remembers. “She looked at me, we had this long stare, and she said, ‘I think I’ve taken you for granted.’ ”
Sheree remembers that turning point in just the same way: “I didn’t want him to leave,” she says. “Sometimes when you get married young…sadly things don’t work out. We both feel so lucky that we were able to have a second chance at a great friendship and a great relationship. I hope my kids can see that marriage can be a great thing.”