A teenager left her family to move 800 miles and live with her partner – after just one date.
Shakeela Fetterhoff was just 18 when she met Jeremy on dating app Skout. They went to a pizza restaurant after chatting online and, just one month later, decided to move in together.
Now the couple are married and have two children after a blissful whirlwind romance. A third baby is due in December.
Shakeela and Jeremy first connected online on June 11, 2012, when she was 18 and he was 24.
She said: “I wasn’t working so my cellphone was about to be shut off, but after just one month of talking online Jeremy offered to pay my phone bill, so that we could continue talking.
“We never used FaceTime or video link, all we had was phone calls, text messages and the photos we had sent to each other.
“I was really big on rock music, so we would recommend different songs to each other.
“He was ready to settle down and so was I.
“I wanted to meet someone who was serious, not just someone looking for sex.
“He said he loved me during the first week of us dating online and I told him that I felt the same.
He told me he would take care of me and that he couldn’t wait for us to be together, he said he saw a future together, we even talked about kids and what their names would be.”
And Shakeela quickly packed her belongings to leave her family in DeKalb, Illinois, for a new life with Jeremy in Montgomery, Alabama.
“I secretly packed my passport, birth certificate and all the things I would need for our future together,” the call centre worker said.
“I didn’t tell my dad, I knew he would try to talk me out of it, but I had made up my mind…he just thought I was packing for the trip to see my aunt.
“I didn’t know if Jeremy was a serial killer, or if he was abusive, but I felt confident that he was a good person, I was willing to take that risk because I was so in love.
“He told me that he’d had five sexual partners before we met.”
The couple have had two kids; Edolie, five, and Ender, two.
Jeremy, who is a security officer, said: “I could tell immediately that Shakeela was different from anyone I’d anyone I’d met before.
“She has always been so loyal and faithful to me.
“We love to communicate through music and if we have a little tiff we can never stay mad at each other for long.
“We don’t bicker, we sleep in the same bed and enjoy each other’s company.
“I hope our story can encourage others not to lose hope with online dating.”