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Who is Mark Steines? How Miss America Leanza Cornett was sacked for marriage that ended in divorce after 17 years

Cornett was a correspondent for Entertainment Tonight but was sacked in 1995 after she married television reporter Mark Steines, who was hired immediately to replace her
UPDATED OCT 29, 2020
Leanza Cornett and Mark Steines (Getty Images)
Leanza Cornett and Mark Steines (Getty Images)

Leanza Cornett, who was crowned Miss America in 1993, died after being hospitalized for a head injury. She was 49. The news was confirmed by a Facebook page called Leanza Cornett’s Circle of Love which was monitoring Cornett’s condition for a long time. The page wrote, "I’m here to let you know Leanza passed this afternoon. She was so loved. I don’t feel like writing a lot right now; my heart is broken. Sue.”

As per the Facebook page, the former Miss America sustained a head injury on October 12. Since then the Facebook page has been sharing updates on her condition. Details surrounding the injury are not immediately clear. Cornett, after being crowned Miss America, was recognized as the first beauty queen who championed causes such as AIDS awareness and prevention.

Cornett was born in 1971 in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, and was raised in Jacksonville. She graduated from Terry Parker High School in 1989. In 1995, she married Mark Steines on the island of Kauai in Hawaii but the couple divorced in 2013. Cornett is survived by her two children — Avery Steines, 16, and Kai Steines, 18.

Mark Steines and Leanza Cornett (Getty Images)

Who is Cornett's ex-husband Mark Steines?

People reported that Cornett became a correspondent for Entertainment Tonight but was sacked in 1995. This came weeks after she married television reporter Mark Steines in July 1995, who was immediately hired to replace her.

Mark Anthony Steines has been a broadcast journalist and actor. He was the host of gossip and entertainment round-up programs at Entertainment Tonight from 2004 to 2012. After being married for 17 years, the couple finally filed for divorce in January 2013. 

Leanza Cornett and Mark Steines (Getty Images)

US Weekly reported that both Cornett and her husband promised to put their sons' interests first after separation. "At this time our concern is for our boys as we help them with this difficult transition. We ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time."

"Mark is trying to keep things as upbeat and positive as possible. That's how he's living everything,” a source told US Weekly after the separation. The publication reported that Steines did everything possible to ensure his sons get through their parents' separation unscathed. "This is a difficult transition. He just really wanted to spend the weekend bonding with them and enjoying quality time," the source told US Weekly. 
More recently in 2016, Mark married children's book author Julie Freyermuth in a surprise ceremony at his Los Angeles home. This came after Steines met Freyermuth in August 2015 when she was a guest on his Hallmark TV show, ‘Home and Family’. Together, the couple welcomed a daughter, Parker Rose, in July 2017.