When comedian Kumail Nanjiani started dating writer Emily V. Gordon in 2006, they knew they had to keep their love a secret.
Nanjiani, whose traditional Pakistani family encouraged him to an arranged marriage, opted to keep his new love under wraps as the two grappled with the culture clash, People reported.
Their clandestine relationship continued in secret for about eight months until tragedy forced its way into the lovebirds’ lives.
After only a few months of dating, Gordon was diagnosed with Still’s disease, a rare kind of inflammatory arthritis that targets major organs if left untreated.
Shortly after her diagnosis, the writer was put into a medically induced coma.
Gordon’s coma put life into perspective for the “Silicon Valley” comedian, and while she was unconscious, Nanjiani “realized how much he loved her,” USA today reported.
It was then he decided he was going to move their relationship to the next level — Nanjiani was going to tell his parents.
Nanjiani told USA Today that his parents were concerned about Gordon’s health more than anything:
“They were very concerned about Emily’s health. When she got better, they were like, ‘Why did you do this to us?!’”
Eight days after she was put into the coma, Gordon woke up. And as she got her bearings, the love of her life was by her side with even more good news — the “Portlandia” star was ready to put cultural concerns aside and get married.
According to USA Today, the pair agreed that the natural next step for them was down the wedding aisle. So the two wed in a private ceremony at Chicago’s City Hall in July 2007.
Kumail Nanjiani writer and star along with writer, producer (and wife) Emily V. Gordon discuss their film, The Big Sick…
Nearly 10 years after the incident, their unorthodox love story is coming to the big screen. Gordon and Nanjiani have partnered up in a new way as the writing team behind this year’s Sundance Film Festival blockbuster, “The Big Sick.”
The Sundance critic favorite, which Amazon purchased for $12 million at the festival, follows the unconventional coupling of Nanjiani and Gordon and the illness that almost took it all way.
Gordon shared her initial apprehension about publicizing their story on such a massive scale with People:
“Oh s—, if all this goes great, I’m gonna be on a red carpet being like, and yes, I was in a coma! That’s kind of a weird thing but hopefully the benefits of it can outweigh the weirdness of it — cause it definitely is weird.”
39-year-old Nanjiani, however, believed that their story was a timely one that could resonate with audiences across the board:
“It is a version of showing that people from different backgrounds can get along. I’m glad that it’s coming out now.”
Gordon continues to battle with Still’s disease ten years later, but feels like now, more than ever, she’s gotten a solid handle on how to live fully:
“Over 10 years, I’ve gotten the good sense of how to deal with it. But then I just started this new treatment about four months ago that’s been amazing. It’s been really good for the press for this movie too, because now I have the ability to do everything.”
The film, which is set to premiere worldwide on July 14, already has a 97 percent rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.