The Wed waiter The Restaurant's Maítre d' John Healy over the moon to wed despite restrictions
Heart transplant survivor John Healy knew that he had to live life to the full after a successful operation gave him a new lease of life.
So much so, the jovial Maître d' of TV's The Restaurant has now got married to his handsome partner, despite all the obstacles thrown at him during the current pandemic.
John survived two heart attacks and saw his body deteriorate to such a state that there were genuine fears he would not survive unless a donor was found for him.
Fast forward eight years and the beaming front-of-house presenter has fulfilled an ambition he once thought he would never realise - marrying the man of his dreams.
John (55) recently wed Croatian chef Jovnn Radisic (38) in Dublin and the couple threw a small reception for friends and family at 25 Fitzwilliam Place, the building and wedding venue which houses Suesey Street restaurant where he is general manager.
"We met online, of course, about five years ago," explains John, who is originally from Naas, Co. Kildare, but now lives in the capital.
"He arrived in Ireland that November and we met in December. I went off to Australia for a month the following year in February and came back and we connected again. We just clicked."
The couple began planning their wedding two years ago and initially hoped to invite Jovnn's family to Ireland.
"We had planned to have it in October, a big wedding. Then Covid hit, and between one thing and another we postponed everything, not knowing what we were going to do ourselves."
The couple finally decided to go ahead with a small ceremony.
"We were sitting talking and I was like 'we will just get married, because it will probably go on too long and get ridiculous,'" said John.
"So we decided we would do it upstairs in No 25 and we had 20 guests, I think, in total for dinner in the restaurant, which worked out absolutely fantastic as it was so intimate.
"My mother said it was the most perfect wedding she was ever at, because everybody knew everybody else at the table."
John notes that you can have 25 guests as well as the two grooms, the registrar and some musicians.
"We had temperature checks going in and most of the people I had there I had met in previous weeks and knew they were Covid free.
"Because my mother and myself are so vulnerable we had to be careful," he stresses.
Among the guests were his mum Nuala, his two sisters Mary and Mairead and brother-in-laws Tim and John. His nine nieces and nephews could not be invited due to number limitations, but John hopes to have another event for them in the near future.
"I'm 55, I've kind of left it a bit late myself, so there's always hope," giggles John, glancing at his wedding ring.
"I never even thought I would ever to get married, and to be able to get married is wonderful. The marriage equality (vote) was amazing for the country. The confidence it gave the gay community, of 'yes you are accepted'."
John blames a past smoking habit for his health problems. He had his first heart attack at the age of 41, and his second when he was 43.
"When you're lying in bed at night you have all these images and scenarios going through your head, and that was kind of scary in a way - but you kind of learn to accept it," he confesses.
The first time he was called in for a possible transplant operation was just over eight years ago, but it was not suitable.
He was called back a second time three months later, in March 2012.
"Before the transplant, I was waiting 18 months, I was getting sicker and sicker," he sighs. "My body was beginning to break down."
Thankfully the transplant was a huge success.
John says he couldn't be happier now. "When Jovnn walked into my life I was ready to trust him and let somebody in, and we're just going to enjoy each and every day."
Download the Sunday World app