Gay couple who unknowingly met at a party as kids are now engaged: ‘The universe has divine timing’

A gay couple who unknowingly met at a birthday party when they were just kids have gotten engaged 27 years after their first encounter. 

Louisiana-raised Kenny McCleary, 30, and Aaron Alexis, 28, met through Tinder in June 2020. Or at least, they thought that it was their first time meeting. 

What ended up transpiring between the pair was nothing short of “divine timing”. 

“I was having a game night at my house with some close friends and invited him over to join and we stayed up until 7 am just talking after everyone left,” McCleary told PinkNews. “We did the same thing three nights in a row.”

The commercial real estate worker added: “We took a trip in September to New York City where I asked him to officially be my boyfriend in Central Park. Obviously, he said yes.”

Around six months into their relationship, McCleary realised Alexis’ mum was friends with his cousin on Facebook. He found out they were close friends “back in the day”, and discovered he, his partner, and his partner’s mum all attended McCleary’s second cousin’s birthday party almost three decades ago.

“After talking about how they knew each other… She brought up that they attended my cousin’s son’s first birthday party where there were ponies,” he explained. 

“I remembered being at a party with ponies as well, and after some quick digging through family photos at my mum’s house, we found a picture of me on a pony and noticed Aaron [with his] dad on the pony in front of us. 

“We keep all our family photos in a storage bin and it took some excitement and adrenaline, but we found all of the photos from that party.

“It was wild to see a photo of both of us in the same place literally 15 feet from each other and never even knew,” McCleary explained.

Alexis shared the throwback picture and a more recent snap of themselves on X (formerly Twitter), where the post quickly went viral. 

My boyfriend and I were at the same birthday party 25 years ago. (I’m on the pony to the left, and he’s on the pony to the right). It’s so crazy to think how lucky I am 25 years later ilysm pic.twitter.com/dpGNu2UO6k

— Aaron (@aajacobs_17) November 26, 2022

“My boyfriend and I were at the same birthday party 25 years ago. (I’m on the pony to the left, and he’s on the pony to the right). It’s so crazy to think how lucky I am 25 years later,” wrote the photographer. 

The pair were met with a slew of online support from the LGBTQ+ community and allies, leaving the couple “truly stunned”. 

“We weren’t expecting the amount of positive support we would receive,” said McCleary. “It was nice to see that we inspired people with our love story and it makes us feel incredibly lucky to know that our relationship is unique.”

After realising that their relationship was written in the stars, the couple went on to get engaged in Los Angeles in December 2023. They updated their Twitter post, to the delight of even more followers.

“We know that we have been in the same place or same area at the same time many times, but never happened to come across each other directly. It’s like time and fate were tempting us but never brought us together until the perfect moment,” said McCleary.

“We believe the universe has divine timing with all things and we had our own experiences that shaped us into the people we are now to be in this strong relationship. 

“The universe [and] fate has brought us together for a reason.”

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