Radio host Stephanie B on her long distance marriage and celebrating Valentine’s Day apart

Stephanie Be and her husband Joe Crann. Supplied image.

Stephanie Be and her husband Joe Crann. Supplied image.

Published Feb 14, 2024


Valentine’s Day might be a day for lovers but the romantic occasion doesn't always go as planned for many couples.

This includes for 5FM’s Stephanie Be and her husband Joe Crann, who will be commemorating the day of love, thousands of kilometres apart.

They are currently in a long-distance marriage, as the radio host is based in Johannesburg while her husband works as a football journalist in Sheffield in the UK.

But despite the distance, Be insists that they will be celebrating Valentine’s Day in their own unique way.

“Joe and I have been apart for a few years and we tend to pretty much backlog things from when we’re not together,” she told Independent Media Lifestyle.

"We weren’t together for his birthday, and we won’t be together for Valentine’s Day, so we’ll pool those together when we see each other next in a couple of months. That way, we get those moments even though we aren’t in the same country at the time.”

Stephanie Be and her husband Joe Crann tying the knot in Arizona in the US. Supplied image.

The couple have been in a long distance relationship for years, even before they tied the knot during a ceremony on a mountain in Arizona in the US in July 2022.

“We were already doing long-distance by that point and we get to see each other a few times a year but during Covid we ended up being apart for a full 12 months, and that was really, really tough,” she explained.

She said that the time apart is one of the biggest challenges of their relationship.

“The time difference isn’t massive but still plays a part in things, and he’s also a few hours away from a big international airport, so that’s an added bit of irritation at the start and end of visiting each other.”

Be added that it is also difficult for them to have “big” conversations when it’s done over the phone or video call.

“With signal problems and load shedding it can be frustrating if you’re trying to make a point, or somebody is upset and a delay kicks in.”

“We also just don’t get enough time with each other and unfortunately there’s no real way around that.”

Another challenge for the long distance couple is that they are unable “to be there when things go wrong, both big and small,” the media personality explained.

“Knowing that you can’t help because you’re thousands of miles away is horrible, and there’s also an element of fear knowing if something really bad were to happen, then it’s going to take you a minimum of about 16 hours to get to your person.”

Stephanie Be and her husband Joe Crann. Supplied image.

But despite the challenges and not being able to spend the most romantic day of the year in each other’s company, they are determined to make their marriage work.

“We try and plan things and we’re both big travel people and one of things we said when he moved was that we always want to try and have something on the horizon to look forward to.”

“It’s a big part of our relationship, so we’re often talking about where we’ll go next and the things we want to do there.”

The couple also plan virtual date nights in a bid to keep the romance alive.

“We watch a programme on our laptops with the video on and have the same dinner, so we’ll both order a pepperoni pizza and sit and watch a film or grab McDonalds because we know the Big Macs will be the same.”

“It’s not a flashy night, of course, but the fact that we know we’re having the same thing and spending it together.”

And while Be won’t be able to physically see her husband on Valentine’s Day, she still considers it an occasion worth celebrating.

“I know that some people feel that it's overly commercialised, but I think you can take the day and celebrate it however you want to.”

She added that the occasion doesn't just have to be about purchasing gifts or doing something overly expensive.

“It can even be about celebrating all the different kinds of love in your life, whether it be with friends or family or a partner.”

She did however warn against creating “unnecessary pressure for yourself.”

“Make the celebration whatever you want. I'll just as happily spend it on the couch with my partner, or out with friends.”

Her advice to other couples in long distance relationships is for them to always trust each other.

“When you’re not there with somebody you can’t read them, you don’t see them every day to know what’s happening in their lives, so you need to be able to trust them.

“There can be so many stresses in a long-distance relationship, so you want both of you to have at least peace of mind about the other person’s desire to reach the end goal, which is obviously being back together again.”