Jan and Rob Shakespeare started their astonishing second marriage, and they were surrounded by their family and friends.
They first got married in 1976 and they ended their marriage in a painful divorce back in 2000.
They have three children, after their separation they never spoke for nearly 15 years. Whenever they attend their son’s football match, they even stood on opposite sides.
They also attended the marriage of their two boys and didn’t say a word to each other.
But one tragedy brought them back together when Jan consoled Rob after the loss of his second wife.
The couple, now 61, realize life was too short to keep the grudges – and felt that their love is still alive.
Rob says: “Jan was my first love and we will be growing old together as I definitely can’t afford another wedding – or a divorce.”
Jan, who lived her dream in second marriage in 2017, says: “We married in a registry office first time. This time I wore a big white dress and we got married in a church.
“Our children, 11 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild were with us. It was perfect and I’m back with my best friend.”
They first met in 1974 in the days of flares and platforms at a Woollies store in Erdington, Birmingham.
Jan worked in the office and Rob in the stockroom. Within a year they started dating.
Jan recalls: “Rob and I were just 16. I was a cashier and he was pretty much my bodyguard, going round the tills with me collecting money twice a day.
“He asked me out at a works Christmas dance. Our first date was watching a film we hadn’t realized was X-rated and there were quite a few men wearing flasher macs in the cinema.
“We had to leave but we didn’t stop laughing.”
The couple moved in together at 17. “I fell pregnant and our parents weren’t happy but it was planned,” Jan said. “We were excited about the future.
“We got married soon after I turned 18 in September 1976.
“I had a white dress, but not a proper wedding one, and I was five-and-a-half months pregnant.”
Her daughter Cara was born on Christmas Day and the couple went on to have Lee, now 38, and Adam, now 35.
But after 23 years of their marriage, problems have started. Jan left her job in Boots and started working shifts at another company. She and Rob barely saw each other.
She says: “I loved working at Boots and I think I had a bit of a breakdown after being made redundant.
“Rob was always saying he didn’t see enough of me in my new job. I was working until 11 at night. We started arguing about that a lot and I just got fed up. I left and we didn’t speak properly again for years.”
The couple started living separately in 1999 and Rob filed for a divorce, and they officially divorced in 2000.
Both found new partners and Rob remarried two-and-a-half years after their split.
Rob says: “I never thought I’d find love again, but I did. My second wife was a wonderful woman.” Although Rob and Jan’s paths crossed occasionally, they didn’t speak for years.
Jan says: “Adam played football and we’d both go and watch him, standing at opposite sides of the pitch. It was strange. We even made it through two of our sons’ weddings without talking.
“Lee was married first. Rob and I were both with different people and just sat in different places.
“When our son Adam had a wedding reception, again we didn’t talk to each other.
“The only time we ever did was after we lost a grandchild. I was in the hospital, crying.
“Rob put his arm around me and said, ‘It’ll be OK, sweetheart’. I don’t know why we never talked.”
Everything has changed in 2013 when their daughter Cara told her mom that Rob’s wife had died of ovarian cancer.
“I gave him a call and offered my condolences and said I was there for him if he needed me,” says Jan. “A couple of weeks later, he gave me a call and we chatted for 90 minutes and arranged to see each other for a coffee.
“I found it was like being back with my best friend. It was so bizarre – we picked up where we had left off 15 years earlier.”
Rob says: “It was wonderful. We just started to get along like we always had done.”
The couple decided to meet again – but hide it from their children until Jan ended the relationship with her new partner.
She says: “We told them, ‘We have good news and bad news. The good news is we are back together. The bad news is you are only getting one Christmas present from now on!’”
Rob decided to propose for a second time to Jan on Christmas Eve, 2015.
The couple, who now live in Cannock, West Mids, married in 2017 at the Church of St Peter and St Paul in Coleshill, Warwickshire, in front of 50 guests.
Jan says: “It had always been my dream to walk down the aisle so we decided to do it this time. We had gospel singers too.
“We’ve still got our wedding bands from our first marriage but we decided to get new ones this time around, to mark a fresh start.”
Rob says: “When I saw Jan at the end of the aisle in her white dress, I cried.
“We decided to have our first dance to Ed Sheeran ’s Perfect as it seemed to fit the situation. We even had dance lessons for it.”
Both say their relationship is stronger than ever.
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