It was her Sophomore year of high school. Sarah Brill ‘02 was walking across the Colorado Academy campus, heading to the cafeteria. That’s when she saw him, the new Eighth Grader everyone seemed to be talking about: Marcus King-Stockton ’04.
“I yelled to him and said, ‘My brother talks about you all the time,’” says Brill, referring to Dan Brill ’05. “He thought I was so weird.”
King-Stockton remembers their first meeting a little differently, as having happened behind the gymnasium, with Dan Brill introducing them.
Whatever the case, when the aspiring actress met the soon-to-be professional basketball player, they had no idea how their futures would become entwined.
Here’s their story.
The stars finally align
After their first meeting—wherever it was—Brill and King-Stockton’s paths kept crossing.
She saw him on the court when she sang the National Anthem at CA basketball games. When her brother hosted Basketball Team sleepovers at their house, King-Stockton was there. When they were both in Upper School, they had the same free period. They spent much of the time together, talking and bonding over music interests and, Brill says, “just laughing a lot together.”
They both ended up going to the University of Colorado Boulder—she, a Spanish and pre-med major involved in choir and theater, and he, a poli-sci major and starter on the Buffs basketball team.
They saw each other on campus while walking to class and on the basketball court when Brill sang the National Anthem before games. She remembers them once passing one another in the arena tunnel, she on her way out after singing, and he on his way in to play.
“We were friends, but nothing aligned for us to be together as more than that,” Brill says.
Fast forward about five years, through Brill’s acting career in Los Angeles and King-Stockton’s professional basketball career around the world. He was back in Denver, playing for the Colorado Kings and planning his next professional move. She was considering a career shift into counseling and therapy and contemplating a move back to Denver for grad school.
They started chatting on Facebook a lot, and one day, he asked if he could call her on the phone.
“We started talking and never stopped,” Brill says. After a few months of a long-distance relationship, Brill chose the University of Denver for her master’s degree and moved back to the Mile High City. The two have been together ever since.
They got married in 2017 and live in Park Hill with their Mini Goldendoodle named Mayhem (“May-May” for short). They are expecting a son in August.
When social justice hits close to home
While King-Stockton and Brill are excited as they plan for their growing family, they say being in an interracial relationship has not always been easy. The couple has had a lot of experiences with racism.
Last year, as a way of healing, they started writing a collection of stories about those experiences. And on her podcast, “Two Therapists in Therapy,” Brill has hosted discussions of racism with King-Stockton and with former CA Director of Inclusivity Adrian Michael Green ’05.
Brill says the increase in social justice protests and anti-racism movements over the past year has, in some ways, brought relief.
“It has brought to the forefront a lot of the struggles related to racism that we face as a couple and that Marcus has dealt with his whole life,” she says. “Before 2020, many people were not awake to these issues and didn’t have the language to talk about them. The fact that people are finally talking about this and acknowledging that this exists in society is part of what made us feel ready to have a baby.”
King-Stockton agrees there is more understanding of racism but that bigger changes are still needed.
“Unfortunately, not a lot of what has happened is shocking to me. For Sarah and me, we already discuss this often and have constant experiences with it,” he says. “There may be more awareness of the issues, but it’s only when the systems are changed that I would see a difference in my day-to-day life and experiences.”
Where the relationship started—and the dunk happened
Although Brill and King-Stockton have different backgrounds and cultures, they have found more in common than not. And they first found that common ground at CA.
For that, they are grateful, and also for the nurturing relationships with CA faculty.
“To this day, I think about how the CA teachers are some of the most influential people in my life, more than anyone in college or grad school,” says Brill, who attended CA from Second to Twelfth Grade. “I had my own struggles, but the teachers didn’t let me fall by the wayside. They saw me and my potential, and that changed my life forever. If it weren’t for CA, I don’t know where I’d be today.”
A CA student from Eighth to Twelfth Grade, King-Stockton has a particular favorite CA memory: Although the 6’9” basketball player was dunking by middle school, he got his very first endgame dunk at CA.
Off the court, he remembers being challenged by the rigorous academics.
“I really learned how to be a student, how to study and learn,” he says. “The classes were small, so the teachers got to know you and cared about your success.”
“The relationships between teachers and students at CA and their investment in students’ growth on a personal and academic level was really special,” she says. “Having someone who really sees and cares about you can have a big impact in your life.”