Michael Kaiser, Kennedy Center president, to wed John Roberts

March 27, 2013

Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser sent out the “save the date” cards this week for a special event at the center: His wedding to John Roberts.

Not that John Roberts, of course. Pure coincidence, as is the timing for his news smack in the middle of the historic Supreme Court cases on same-sex marriage. But it’s not unwelcome: “That’s why it’s important not for people to hide these things,” Kaiser told us Tuesday.


Michael Kaiser and John Roberts at the Kennedy Center earlier this month. (Photo by Margot Schulman)

He’s marrying Roberts, an economist with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Aug. 31 in the upstairs atrium of the arts complex. No employee discount (“we’re paying all the relevant fees,” said Kaiser) for the Labor Day weekend nuptials, which is the only time the peripatetic KenCen leader could clear his calendar before the fall season begins.

The couple met about 18 months ago at the gym. The two hit it off, sharing a love for the symphony, opera, theater and sports ( both run five miles a day.) The relationship got serious fast: Six months in, they were talking marriage — then Kaiser, 59, surprised Roberts, 31, with rings during a flight to Rome last year. “He’s very kind and very smart,” said Kaiser. “And we share a lot of interests.”

Kaiser, one of the most influential and popular figures in Washington, arrived in D.C. in 2001. He originally planned to leave the job after 10 years, but was persuaded by chairman David Rubenstein to extend his annual $1.1 million contract to the end of 2014 — then run the center’s DeVos Institute of Arts Management for at least three more years.

Over the years, Kaiser has developed a reputation as a chronic workaholic and global traveler for his varied arts projects. “Both of those are a little overplayed,” he told us. Roberts “is extremely understanding, and he’s got a career of his own he’s very passionate about. But I’m home more than people think I am.”

The two managed to keep their engagement under wraps from all but family and a few close friends until this week, when they alerted friends to the August wedding date — in the midst of the gay marriage debate.

This will be the first marriage for both men.

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