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Preschool Sweethearts Separated At Age Of 5 Reunite And Rekindle Romance After 12 Years

Preschool Sweethearts Separated At Age Of 5 Reunite And Rekindle Romance After 12 Years

The pair eventually reconnected as teens and realized after just two dates that they weren't just friends, but also soulmates.

Most of us believe that fairytale love stories are the stuff of books and they never come true in real life. That there is no prince charming, no being swept off your feet, and in reality, we have to put in the effort for any successful relationship. All of this is true, however, there are exceptions to the rule, as Natalie Crowe Tatman and Austin Tatman prove with their story. The couple were pre-school sweethearts who lost touch when they were 5 years old. But fate had other plans for them as they were reunited 12 years later and their childhood affection blossomed into the love of a lifetime.

The two first met in preschool when they were in the same class in Ocala, Florida. From school trips to playdates in Austin’s toy Jeep wrangler, they did everything together. "We just automatically became best friends and our parents realized it," Natalie tells People. "It’s strange when you’re that age — you don’t usually hang out with the opposite sex. But from when we were 2 until we were 5, we were constantly together."

Image Courtesy - The Knot

Natalie says that her memories of their childhood together are hazy, but she never completely forgot about him. The countless photos that her parents kept and numerous stories they told her made sure of this. "I have very faint memories, but our parents have told us many stories," she says. "Like on Halloween in 1999, Austin held my hand in the car on the way to trick-or-treating. Those are little things that our parents tell us, where they knew, ‘This is insane that they’re interacting like this.'"



 

"Every picture that we have — even in a group — we were together and then everyone else was on the side," Natalie recalls. "I just basically have memories of always being with him, regardless of whether I remember the detail of the memory or not, I knew we were always together."

However, when they were 5, Natalie's parents got divorced, and she moved away to Connecticut with her brother, sister, and mother. Neither of them thought they wouldn't see each other for a long, long time. However, she vividly remembers her final day with him. "I remember the very last day that I saw him, not knowing that I wouldn’t see him for over a decade," she shares with People. "My last memory of him is [when] we made Rice Krispy treats in his parents’ kitchen… and then we were separated." Twelve years passed by. "I briefly remember when I was 8 and 10, I would ask my mom about Austin and she would say, ‘I’m sure if you remember him, he remembers you,'" Natalie recalls. "But I had no way of getting in touch with him at the time."

Image Courtesy - The Knot

But something changed on July 17, 2012. A 17-year-old Natalie discovered her mom’s old address book in their Connecticut home and found Austin's name in it. "I knew his last name started with a T, but I don’t know why — I still have no idea to this day why — I went to his name out of all the names that were in there. This thing was full. As soon as I saw [his name and old address], I was like, 'Oh my gosh, I remember him.' There was this overwhelming feeling of 'I better go find him on Facebook before I miss out on this opportunity,'" Natalie reveals.

Natalie set out to find Austin on social media. They had no mutual friends on Facebook, but somehow she managed to find his profile. Despite all the years they had spent apart, Natalie recognized Austin's face immediately from the photos on his profile. She sent him a message. Call it luck or divine intervention, Austin too remembered her and all the fun times they shared as toddlers. While chatting, they realized that Austin lived just 10 minutes away from where Natalie’s dad lived in Florida. And, coincidentally, Natalie was coming down to meet her dad in a few weeks.

Image Courtesy - The Knot

They decided that they definitely would meet up during her visit. Natalie and Austin officially reconnected on July 31, 2012, with their families over dinner. "Ever since that time, we’ve been together. It was like the second I saw him, it was a friendship that had come back to life instantly," Natalie says. Within two dates, they realized that they weren't just preschool best friends. Sparks had begun to fly and they knew they were soulmates. "We both knew we were in love with each other after being on our second date," Natalie adds. "We rekindled the friendship on the first day of reuniting and then being alone, it was like, 'Okay, whatever time that may be, I’m gonna marry you.'"

Image Courtesy - The Knot

The couple lived apart for a year as they finished high school in Florida and Connecticut respectively. But they were in a long distance relationship throughout.  They then moved to the same state to do their university; Austin at the University of Florida, while Natalie at the University of Central Florida. In August 2017, Austin popped the question in front of their loved ones, and they got married on April 13, 2019, in Florida. 



 

As they were planning their wedding day, Natalie realized just how amazing their journey of love had been.  "After we had picked the place we were gonna get married, that’s when it was like 'I’m literally marrying my preschool sweetheart.’ This is insanity," she says. The couple decided to use elements from their story as an ode to the amazing journey they had had so far. The wedding reception had polaroids of their childhood photos (also featured on their wedding website), used an address book as a guestbook. They even decided to recreate a photo from 1999 where they standing side-by-side in a red Jeep Wrangler with a red “getaway” Jeep. Much like their story, the recreation will also melt your heart. It was their favorite part, they say. 

Looking back at their 22-year relationship, Natalie said, "There’s a reason I went through my mom’s archives and found an address book. And there’s a reason that we went to separate colleges," she adds. "It was kinda crazy how everything came together so perfectly, and it still doesn’t make sense to me to this day."

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