A Palm Desert man is Redbook magazine's 2014 "Hottest Husband."
Tom Rice, 48, was voted the winner out of 25 finalists chosen from among more than 1,500 submissions in the magazine's annual "Hottest Husband" contest. Tom's wife, Lee, nominated him last April; voting ended in late October.
Lee Rice said she and her husband were told he won shortly after voting ended, but had to keep it quiet until it appeared in the issue of the magazine now on newsstands. Redbook touted Tom Rice as this year's "Hottest Husband" on its Facebook page today, and posted a photo of him next to actor Josh Hopkins of the television series "Cougar Town."
"This year's Hottest Husband in America looks suspiciously like Grayson from Cougar Town. Coincidence? We think not!" the post reads.
The Rices won a five-day trip to Curacao in the Caribbean, and will likely go in late May or summer.
"None of this is really my doing ... but it'll be cool to get away with her and do a trip down there," said Tom Rice, a contractor who runs Rice Construction in Palm Desert.
He said it's an opportunity to represent the Coachella Valley, his longtime home.
"I went to Indio High School and grew up in Palm Desert, and it's fun to to represent Palm Desert and the whole Coachella Valley. I love the desert and I grew up here. I have all my guys who work for me and of course they're having a field day with this."
His wife of four years, who works at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, said her hubby is "taking everything in stride and being a good sport about it."
She said her reaction when they were first told her husband won was, "Are you kidding me?" She said she didn't tell her husband she'd entered him in the contest until summer, and Redbook told her in August that he was in consideration as a finalist.
"He said, 'What are you getting me into?"', she said.
Lee Rice said that when they told his family that he won, her sister-in- law said, "Is that because he lives and works in the desert in summer?"'
She said they were fortunate that local media ran information about the contest last year.
"That was really wonderful -- total strangers voted for him based on articles they read. We're very, very lucky in that respect," she said. According to Redbook's initial profile, the winner "is all about giving Lee a break by providing her with a spa day, a glass of sparkling cider, or sometimes, just a little escape when she's stressed."
"He'll plan a quick road trip, pick me up from work, and have the car all loaded up with my favorite snacks and drinks," she says. "He's always thinking about my happiness -- that's the epitome of romance to me."'
Tom Rice's 27-year-old daughter Jessica was named a finalist in the "America's Next Top Model" casting call held in Palm Springs last month, and his son Michael was part of the Palm Desert High School water polo team that won the California Interscholastic Federation championship recently.
He also has two other daughters, Marley and Jordan, and said all of his children have attended school in the desert. --City News Service