After a 40-year separation, two long-lost friends have finally reunited — but now, they’re more than friends. They’re husband and wife.
João Crisóstomo and Vilma Kracun met in London in 1971, the New York Times reported Friday. Crisóstomo was engaged, but he and his fiancee became fast friends with Kracun, who had recently moved to London from Yugoslavia.
Crisóstomo and his fiancee eventually married and moved to New York. But when they tried to write to Kracun, the letter was returned. For the next 40 years, Crisóstomo searched for Kracun, asking friends and even strangers if they knew where she went. His marriage ended in 1997, but he still kept searching for Kracun on his own, to no avail.
Finally, on Valentine’s Day in 2011, Crisóstomo’s former sister-in-law called him and said she had found Kracun on Facebook.
It turns out Kracun, now widowed, had moved to Paris in 1979. Crisóstomo and Kracun planned to reunite at Crisóstomo’s sister’s home in Portugal, but their plans fell through. So, Crisóstomo went to Paris to meet her.
“When he hugged me, I think my heart was in my feet,” Kracun said. “Perhaps we were looking at each other through the eyes of youth, but I felt something already that I can’t explain.”
Later that day, Crisóstomo asked her to come to the U.S. and marry him. She agreed.
“If we had not known each other before, one could call it love at first sight,” Crisóstomo said. “Less than two hours after we met again, I found out that she was still the same Vilma that I had known in London. I wanted to make sure she would not disappear again from my life.”
For the next year and a half they kept in touch via Skype, and in February, Kracun moved to New York. They married on April 20.
“She was still the pure girl, in the sense that she is what she is. She is not pretentious. She never tries to be what she is not,” Crisóstomo said. “She used to be a very special young lady, and she is still a very special lady.”
Crisóstomo and Kracun’s love story echoes that of Laura Melon and Larry Wasser, who met when they were kids and married after losing touch for 40 years. Another couple, Janice Rude and Prentiss Wilson, married 50 years after their families broke up their engagement.
Read more: Huffington Post