November 20, 2020
Deceased former Miss America Leanza Cornett was married to journalist and TV show host Mark Steines for 17 years, and they shared two children.
America was in shock when 49-year-old Leanza Cornett passed away after suffering a fall at her Florida home. The former Miss America's death was announced by the Miss America Pageant and Cornett's former husband, Mark Steines.
A SAD LOSS
Cornett competed in the pageant as Miss Florida and was crowned in 1993. She became the first Miss America to be actively involved in campaigning for AIDS awareness and prevention.
In 1995, Cornett married fellow journalist Mark Steines in a romantic ceremony in Hawaii but was in for a shock. Shortly after her marriage, she was fired from her job as a correspondent at "Entertainment Tonight," and her new husband was hired to replace her.
Steines would remain at "Entertainment Tonight" for the duration of their 17-year marriage, first as a correspondent and occasional anchor, and in 2004 he was promoted to the program's co-host.
Steines worked at "Entertainment Tonight" up until 2012. Steines left "ET" in July 2012, and in January 2013, he and Cornett announced their impending divorce.
In October 2012, Hallmark introduced Steines and Paige Davis as co-hosts of their popular morning talk show, "Home & Family." Steines remained with the show until 2018, when he was fired.
A few months later, Steines initiated a wrongful termination suit against Hallmark, one that resonated with the nascent #MeToo movement. Steines had reported executive producer Woody Fraser for sexual harassment and was fired for it.
The two boys are close to their father and their tiny step-sister, and with their mother's tragic passing they will be clinging to Steines for help and support
FIRED FOR SPEAKING OUT
Steines had officially complained to the network that Frazer was verbally abusive to the cast and crew of "Home & Family," made inappropriate sexual comments about female guests, and was sexually harassing two of the women.
Despite the fact that Steines repeated his complaints several times, no disciplinary action was taken against Frazer. Instead, Steines found himself abruptly fired from the show.
Steines' lawsuit was upheld by the courts despite Hallmark's motion to dismiss and is still waiting for a resolution due to the COVID-19 pandemic's disruption of the court's schedules.
According to his lawyer, Steines' staunch defense of his co-workers and the dignity of the women on the show saw his position on "Home & Family" whittled away, and the ultimate punishment for raising waves was his abrupt dismissal for "creative differences."
But Hallmark didn't just bring Steines troubles and heartaches; it brought him love. In August 2015, Steines interviewed children's book author Julie Freyermuth on "Home & Family," and it was love at first sight.
Exactly a year later, the couple married in a surprise ceremony, and not even their 100 guests knew it was a wedding -- Steines had told friends and family that the party was a "Home & Family" celebration.
In July 2017, Steines and Freyermuth welcomed their first child together, Parker Rose, who is now three years old. Throughout the intervening years since their divorce, Steines and Cornett had lovingly co-parented their two sons.
The two boys are close to their father and their tiny step-sister, and with their mother's tragic passing, they will be clinging to Steines for help and support to get through the grieving process for their beautiful young mother.
Steines, who shared a heartbreaking tribute to his ex-wife at the time of her death, was equally shocked by the horrific accident that claimed the life of the mother of his sons.
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