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Despite his best efforts, Timothy Raymond Murray could not get Michael Alexander Hoy Bullard to give him the time of day — that is, until a mutual friend intervened.

The two met in November 2014. Mr. Bullard was a bartender at Bareburger in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan. Mr. Murray would often sit at the bar and write.

Mr. Bullard paid him no attention at first. But when a mutual friend, Melanie Brook, formally introduced them there one night, “the flirting began,” Mr. Murray said.

The two connected on social media, and, for the next two years, Mr. Murray would casually reach out on Facebook and twice asked Mr. Bullard on a date. Both times Mr. Bullard was out of town. They also ran into each a couple times on the subway, discovering they both lived in Harlem. Mr. Murray again suggested getting together — twice.

“I had no excuses,” Mr. Bullard said of the final invitation, a Facebook message on Nov. 21, 2016.

That night the two went to a bar called At the Wallace in Harlem. “We just clicked,” Mr. Murray said. After quite a few drinks, Mr. Bullard said to Mr. Murray, “You live nearby right?” He did and they headed there to continue the evening.

The following day, the two left separately to visit family for Thanksgiving. They texted constantly the week they were apart.

Mr. Murray, 36, is a stand-up comedian with a growing TikTok presence of more than 100,000 followers. He also teaches improv in rehabilitation centers and mental health facilities. Mr. Murray tours worldwide in a one-man show he created called “Tim Murray is Witches.” He grew up in Sandusky, Ohio, and has a bachelor’s degree in theater from the University of Miami.

Mr. Bullard, 33, is an actor and performer. He is currently a vacation swing for the Broadway production of Disney’s “Aladdin.” This July he will perform in St. Louis at the Muny in “Fiddler on the Roof,” before returning to “Aladdin” in the fall. He grew up in Saranac Lake, N.Y., and has a bachelor’s degree in theater performance from Wagner College.

The two returned to New York at the end of the holiday weekend. Mr. Bullard’s birthday was Dec. 1, and the following night, “I was throwing a party for myself with all my friends there,” he said. “When everyone left, I drunk sexted Tim to come over.”

For their third date, a couple weeks later, Mr. Murray took Mr. Bullard to a “fancy dinner,” as he called it, at an Upper West Side restaurant that they no longer remember the name of and is now closed.

[Click here to binge read this week’s featured couples.]

That night, Mr. Bullard told Mr. Murray that he had just been cast in the touring production of “Aladdin” and would be on the road for a year. “Tim was thrilled for me,” Mr. Bullard said. They soon became a couple.

Mr. Bullard said to Mr. Murray not too long after: “You’re like this buoy in wavy water. You make me feel so safe and I know I love you.” Mr. Murray responded in kind.

Mr. Murray visited Mr. Bullard while he was on tour and even moved in with him in Los Angeles for three months, from Jan. 1 to April 1. “We discovered this was a forever romance,” Mr. Murray said.

But then life took a tough turn for the pair. On April 8, 2018, Mr. Bullard suffered a serious injury while skiing in Denver and required knee surgery. “Tim dropped everything and came to Denver,” Mr. Bullard said.

Following surgery, Mr. Murray suggested Mr. Bullard recover in Los Angeles with him. So, he did, in a two-bedroom apartment with a roommate for 11 months. Once Mr. Bullard had healed, he went back on tour and Mr. Murray shadowed him with his own stand-up tour.

They rode out the first 18 months of the pandemic in Los Angeles. When the world began to reopen in September 2021, Mr. Bullard made his Broadway debut in “Aladdin” while Mr. Murray was working in Los Angeles. Still, Mr. Murray said, “We just knew in our hearts we would find a way to make this work.”

On Nov. 26, 2022, Mr. Murray proposed with an escape room he crafted in their apartment and neighborhood in Los Angeles. “We have done over 50 of them together,” Mr. Murray said. (The couple split their time between Los Angeles and New York.)

The two were wed May 18 by Jeenie Yoon, a mutual friend who was previously ordained by Universal Life Church Ministries, at Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga, Calif. Lissa Rubin, also a mutual friend, participated in the ceremony.

Mr. Murray wore a light blue double-breasted suit with pinstripe rhinestones designed by Justin Farnham. “I told him I wanted to look like Nicole Kidman in the AMC commercials,” Mr. Murray said.

Mr. Bullard made his own fashion statement. “I had a crazy idea to look like an elven, Lord of the Rings, Legend of Zelda inspired ethereal forest fantasy prince.” Timothy Westbrook, a Brooklyn-based designer from Mr. Bullard’s hometown, made his dream a reality.

“People often talk about cold feet,” Mr. Murray said. “But I couldn’t believe how hot my feet felt looking at him.”





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