Nanette Kilmer, is 4ft 3, while her husband Richard is 6ft 2.
Despite being 37-years-old, it’s not uncommon for people to assume Nanette is Richard’s daughter.
Because of Nanette being from the Philippines, the couple also have to deal with ignorant judgements about her being a ‘mail order bride’.
Despite their two-foot height gap and the stereotypes they’re tarred with, they’ve forged a wonderful life together, living in upstate New York with their daughter. But that doesn’t mean they don’t wish people would keep their hurtful comments to themselves.
Richard told Truly: ‘We’ve had people take pictures, we’ve had people yell across the street, we’ve had people who actually approach us, but anybody who ever meets Nanette, instantly forgets that she’s as small as she is because she’s so much larger in life.’
Nanette added: ‘Basically, it’s people whose opinions don’t matter that have the bad opinion. People that matter to us, don’t have any opinions of us.’
The couple met online while Richard was working as a military contractor in Afghanistan.
‘I had been in Afghanistan for over a year and not a lot of happy times over there,’ said Richard.
‘So when I started talking to her and she made me laugh within the first five minutes, that was a sign.’
For Nanette, the connection with Richard gave her confidence in an area of her life she’d previously struggled in.
She said: ‘When I was a young adult, I would be confident in some things, I had my degree and I had a job, but there was a segment in my life that I had no confidence in, like, dating.
‘And guys that I would like I would say, “If only you were maybe five foot taller, I would date you,” and that affected me.’
That was back in February 2007, and by Valentine’s Day that same year Richard had made plans to travel to the Phillippines to visit Nanette.
Richard sent flowers to Nanette every week before their in-person meeting in April. By this point they’d already told each other they loved each other, but Nanette hadn’t shared her exact height to Richard.
Richard said: ‘I knew that she was shorter. But I didn’t realise how petite she was. When I got off the plane and walked out and saw the crowd of people, I wasn’t looking down.
‘I was looking through the middle of the crowd, and then when I saw her, I looked down. And then I realized, “Oh, wow, she is a lot smaller,” but that didn’t matter. We’d already fallen in love online.’
Things went from strength to strength (despite being long-distance for three years) and later got married at Lake Erie, followed by a celebration in the Phillippines.
Richard’s friend made a set of stairs, painted white, that Nanette stood on for the vows and wedding photos.
Nanette said: ‘I wanted to be level in the eye, because it would be difficult keeping my head high and him looking down.
‘It wasn’t for the looks, it was more for just to be in that moment, to be comfortable in the moment. But it worked out, now we tease my daughter that at the wedding, I was really tall.’
They moved to live in the Philippines for two years before eventually moving to the US so Richard could work, and that’s where the false assumptions truly started.
Nanette said: ‘In the US, I get offended when people think that I’m a mail order bride because I’m not – and it’s outlawed in the Philippines…
‘And in the US, it was like, “Whoa, where are you from? Are you a mail order bride?” Things like that, and it was, to me it was offensive.’
Five years ago the couple welcomed their daughter to the family – and now have to deal with members of the public assuming Richard has two daughters.
He said: ‘We’ve had people think that our daughter and my wife were sisters.’
Aware of her parents’ height difference, their daughter hopes to be tall like her dad.
Nanette adds: ‘Our daughter knows that mama is tiny, and dad is big. She wants to be big like daddy and she doesn’t want to be short like mama.’
But with or without the height difference Richard and Nanette believe they are well suited because of their differences.
Richard said: ‘We complement each other in many different ways. And it’s way beyond our height difference.’
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