Nyakio and David Grieco: a couple that was meant to be

| January 26, 2023 | 0 Comments

JUST MARRIED: Nyakio and David Grieco at Stauffer Chapel, Pepperdine University, 2004. Photo courtesy Felicia Becky

Nyakio and David Grieco are both children of the ’70s from Upstate New York. She was born Nyakio Kamoche to Kenyan immigrants in Buffalo and lived throughout the tri-state area before moving to Oklahoma by the time she was nine. David was born two years earlier to parents of Italian and Irish heritage in Watertown, New York, and stayed there until he went to Alabama for college.

They could have met as children at the park in Syracuse when her father and his uncle were professors at the university there. But they didn’t.

They should have met after college when they lived within blocks of each other in Los Angeles on three separate occasions. But they didn’t.

They met at last in the fall of 1997. Nyakio, an assistant in talent management, was asked to evaluate the acting reel of David Grieco, whose older brother Richard was known from the original “21 Jump Street” television series. She thought David was cute and recommended that he should be signed, which he was.

David and Nyakio spoke often on the telephone about his upcoming auditions. She appreciated his kindness and “passion about making a difference in this world.”

“I desperately wanted to meet him,” Nyakio reveals, “So I invited him to go to drinks under the guise of wanting to talk to him about his career.”

They met, and he brought her to see his bronze sculptures in his nearby art studio.

She was impressed.

It wasn’t until three years later, in November 2000, that they finally went on their first date. Nyakio had been given two tickets to “The Lion King,” and David joined her.

“By the time we had dinner [after the show], I knew it was going to be something,” Nyakio acknowledged.

“I fell in love with her, or realized I had been in love already, when we went to ‘The Lion King,’” David says. “It changed my life.”

At dinner, David asked her what new place she’d most like to visit, and she replied “Italy.” Three years later, on Nyakio’s 30th birthday, David gave her a journal with pictures of Italian locations. On the last page he had affixed plane tickets to the Bel Paese.

Nyakio was certain David planned to propose on the trip, and she was right. However, as the vacation days went by without a proposal, Nyakio began to get grumpy.

THE GRIECO FAMILY: David, Rocco, Nyakio and Lulu, in front of their Windsor Square home. Photo courtesy Carina Miller

She called her Los Angeles roommate to complain, “I’m not sure what I’m doing. I just don’t feel right.” David, meanwhile, called his father to grumble, “I’m so mad at her right now.”

The next day was their last on Capri before heading home. They hiked up a hill to glimpse Donatella Versace’s home. Nyakio is a little afraid of heights, but she noticed that David seemed more nervous than she.

Nyakio took the lead going back down the hill. She chatted; he didn’t respond, so she turned around.

“He was down on one knee and I thought he fell. ‘David, get up! You’re going to be okay.’ He was just so quiet. Then he said, ‘Can I speak?’”

He had removed a ring from its hiding place in his sock. He said, “My family and I would be so honored if you would wear my mother’s ring.’”

Nyakio had been close to his mother and had fallen in love with David when she saw how he stepped up to help everyone manage grief when she passed away. Nyakio explains, “I thought, ‘This is the man I want to start a family with.’”

She thought the ring was a sweet gesture, and David had to assure her that he was proposing.

“It was such a beautifully dysfunctional moment,” David laughs, “which is like life anyway.”

Nyakio and David married in May 2004 in the stained-glass Stauffer Chapel at Pepperdine University in Malibu.

As Nyakio exclaims, “I guess we were meant to be.”

At first the couple lived Downtown. Their daughter, Lulu, was born in 2006, and in 2008 they moved to Windsor Square where their son, Rocco, was born.

Nyakio had fallen in love with Larchmont when she first moved to Los Angeles, and when running errands, would stop on the Boulevard for coffee and pizza.

She said to herself, “One day when I get married and have children, I want to raise them in this neighborhood.”

In 1994, David had eaten at an Italian restaurant on Larchmont after doing a play, and he, too, felt drawn to the area.

Photo by Birdie Thompson at The Retaility

They both are very connected to the Larchmont community. Nyakio is one of the founders of Larchmont Charter School. She will soon open Thirteen Lune, a skin care store primarily featuring BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) products, to be located in the space most recently occupied by the LF clothing store on Larchmont Boulevard.

After a frightening bout with COVID-19 (and a continuing battle with long COVID,) David had an “aha” moment, and he is celebrating life by dedicating himself to his family, his art and his community. This summer, his 12-foot-high sculpture commemorating Watertown history will be installed in his hometown.

David writes a blog on Facebook about the Larchmont Farmers Market called “farmersmarketdad.”

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Category: People

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