That multi-millionaire bachelor from Dallas, Texas, Mike Mullen, whose quest for a mate and 13 carat engagement ring was made famous by The Oprah Winfrey Show and the front pages of many daily newspapers in 1998, is officially off the market.
After over two years of constant, world-wide media attention and 60,000 inquiries, Mullen, CEO of Energy Equipment Resource Inc. carried out a surprise, private, elaborately planned proposal to international model, Tiffany Kornegay of Anchorage, Alaska, last month, amidst no media presence in the Royal Banqueting House overlooking the Privy Gardens of Hampton Court Palace, located along the Thames in London, England. Mullen and his publicist, Lisa Endicott of L. A. Entertainment, campaigned by mail and phone for two months to get clearance from the palace's owner to set up the romantic proposal in the sixteenth century Tudor Palace and have it closed to the public, a request almost never granted to private citizens.
Mullen, a lover of medieval courtship and chivalry, brought his girlfriend to meet two courtier guides who were dressed as Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn at the Palace's West Gate. Their honorary 'Lord' and 'Lady' escorted them through the courtyards and the state apartments of Henry VIII while exchanging romantic stories about King Henry VIII. After a walk through the Clock Court and the Knot Garden, they arrived at the Banqueting House, which was used by Thomas Wolsey for the lavish entertainment of ambassadors and diplomats under King Henry VIII, Prince George, William III and Mar, and Queen Anne. Mullen and Kornegay watched as their female and male guides played out a scene in a celebrated play from 1522 where Henry VIII, playing the role of Ardent Desire, tells Anne Boleyn, playing the part of Perseverance, "Pray allow me to plant one kiss before we part." The female guide responded saying, "Love can deny nothing to love." Then the guides turned to look at Mullen, who summoned his ring bearer and popped the much anticipated question, leaving his unsuspecting fiance speechless. Moments after, Kornegay said yes.
This confidential courtship between Mike Mullen and his bride-to-be, Tiffany Kornegay eclipses the very public search for a wife launched by Oprah herself on The Oprah Winfrey Show in January and February of 1998. The public search lasted one year in order to allow time to respond to the more than 60,000 inquiries to-date from eager women around the world who viewed the infamous "Oprah In Texas" broadcasts. Oprah invited Mike on her show as one of her guests who lived a 'bigger than Texas' lifestyle and when she found out he was single she asked her viewers to call in on national television. The public and the media responded turning Mullen into a celebrated personality internationally for more than two years.
Beyond much regional press and Oprah coverage, Mullen has been featured in Marie Claire, Woman's Day in Australia, Britain's Now Magazine, The New York Times, Time, USA Today, The London Sun, Germany's Bildammsonntag and in almost every major local daily newspaper. Mullen was a highly sought after interview subject and guest, more than once, on a dozen international and national radio and television programs including ESPN, Inside Edition, Germany's Blitz, Explosive and Proseiben and on Spain's Sorpresa, Sorpresa.
In 1999, Mullen, a former professional football player, won three of the four major sport fishing tournaments in the world on his yacht, Chupacabra. As a philanthropist, Mullen has sponsored fifteen major charity events in Dallas in 1998 and 1999. This year he is donating $1,000,000 to the St. Mark's School of Texas, his alma mater, for the new Michael Mullen Fitness Center to be completed in August 2000.
Mullen found his new love the old-fashioned way, no, not through Oprah or FOX, but via a warm, personal introduction last summer by his close friends, Ward and Kay Lay of Frito-Lay. Within a couple of months, the relationship became exclusive and in February, Mullen flew to Florida to ask his intended's father, George Kornegay of Winter Park, Florida for his daughter's hand in marriage. Ms. Kornegay, who grew up in Alaska, has modeled for the Ford and DNA Agencies in New York, TEAM Models in Japan and Page Parkes Model Management in Miami's South Beach and Houston, Texas. She has appeared on Entertainment Tonight, Good Morning America, E! Entertainment Television and Inside Edition.
She is a dedicated mother of a two-year-old son who wi11 become stepbrother to Mullen's Harvard-bound eighteen year-old daughter and two nine-year-old twin sons. Everyone, on both sides, has given their hearty approval of the bride and groom. The engagement comes at a time of tremendous spiritual and physical renewal for Mullen who has increased his heart capacity by 33 percent in one year, according to Dr. Kenneth Cooper of the Cooper Aerobics Center. Mullen celebrated his 50th birthday on February 4. He will be featured in an upcoming article on Health and Aging in U.S. News and World Report.
The happy couple will wed privately in Dallas, Texas on October 7, 2000, at the home of Mullen's next door neighbors. They plan to reside in Mullen's home in Dallas.
News, photos provided by Business Wire.