Hallmark’s newest movie, “Love in the Limelight,” stars real-life married couple Carlos and Alexa PenaVega. But the true story inspirations don’t stop there. The movie’s storyline is inspired by the real-life love story of Willie Aames and Winnie Hung.
The Movie Is About a Fan Letter That Sparked True Love
According to Crown Media’s press release, the synopsis for “Love in the Limelight” is as follows:
As a teenager, Summer (Alexa PenaVega) was a devoted fan of the popular boy band the Mendez Boyz, especially Nick (Carlos PenaVega), their lead singer. After receiving a sweet fan letter from Summer, Nick decides to respond with a phone call, sparking the start of a friendship that’s lasted to this day. When Nick’s manager books a gig for him at a small venue in Summer’s hometown of Salt Lake City where she now works in human resources at a local university, the two finally meet face-to-face. It’s clear their friendship has set the stage for romance.
Although the names have been changed, Summer and Nick’s love story is loosely based on Willie Aames and Winnie Hung.
In a Facebook post, Aames shared a post about “Love in the Limelight” and wrote, “No need to point out the details — those of you who know, know.”
In Real Life, They Were Pen Pals for 30 Years
According to IMDb, “Love in the Limelight” is “Inspired by the real-life love story of Willie Aames and wife Winnie Hung.”
In an interview for The Hallmark Channel, Carlos shared that the movie’s based on a true story.
In fact, Aames and Hung wrote the script for the movie.
“It’s not exactly how they came to be together but it’s loosely based on their life,” Carlos shared.
In real life, Aames and Hung were pen pals for 30 years, Daily Mail reported. Aames was married twice before he and Hung got married in 2014.
He said he first called Hung after reading her letter because he thought, “these girls are never going to get a phone call from whoever they’re writing to on TV, I’m going to do it.”
Aames told Closer Weekly that when he called her, her first reaction was to hang up on him. So he called her back.
He said after they talked for a few minutes, they decided to keep writing and remained pen pals for 30 years — never meeting in person, Daily Mail reported. He clarified with Closer Weekly that at one point they lost touch, and she reached out to him with a LinkedIn request “checking to see if you’re OK.” At that point, “she became my closest confidante,” he said.
While he had been married, Hung was single, but had insisted to Aames that they would always just be friends, Closer Weekly reported.
Then one day a cruise ship that he was working on happened to be in Vancouver, where she lived, so they met.
He told Closer Weekly: “When I saw her, I literally could not breathe. My knees started to go weak. We had the most amazing evening. It was like we knew each other our whole lives — because we did!”
Closer Weekly shared that Aames wasn’t just an actor, but a musician too — similar to his character in the movie. He told Closer Weekly that when “Eight Is Enough” was big, he was playing to crowds of 15,000 or so and he thought, “I’m not that good.” He said it was pretty surreal at the time.