Tuesday, September 26, 2023 – A woman has married her former teacher nearly 20 years after she was in her class.
Monica Foster, 32, first met her now-wife, Michelle, 57, in 2004, when she was her science teacher in Big Rapids, Michigan.
Seventeen years later, Monica, a self-confessed “teacher’s pet”, searched on Facebook to see how her former favourite teacher was doing.
Michelle had been in a relationship with a woman in the past, and Monica had just come out as gay too.
The pair met up and became close friends before developing a romantic connection.
The couple got engaged in autumn 2022. They tied the knot earlier this year and say they’re happier than ever.
The 25-year age gap means the pair are mistaken for mother and daughter “several times every day”.
Michelle, a now-retired teacher, from Big Rapids, Michigan, US, said: “When Monica first reached out, I was always willing to be supportive of former students, so I was very happy to reconnect.
“As we grew close, I was worried about the age gap and I was worried about how we first met, but I had to let it all go.
“Our wedding was a beach wedding on a stunning day – and it was just perfect. It’s amazing how fast the year has flown by since our engagement – it’s kind of bewildering. It’s amazing and very surreal – after everything, we know we’ve got this.”
Monica, a school bus driver, said: “Our wedding day was so significant to me – I don’t care what people think because they’re not living my life, I am. It just felt so special.”
Michelle had been Monica’s favourite teacher in seventh grade – when Monica, then 13, had been “the goody goody student”. While their relationship remained professional back then, Michelle left such a mark that Monica decided to find her on Facebook 17 years later, in April 2020.
Monica had just gone through a tough situation and recalled Michelle’s supportive classroom being a “safe place” for her when she was younger, so she got in touch. They began speaking online before eventually meeting again for the first time in 17 years in August 2021.
Over lunch, they chatted about their lives and over time they grew to be close friends.
Monica said: “We were both in really dark places at that time, and finding someone you can relate to and be vulnerable with felt safe.”
They ended their previous relationships to be together in May 2022, with Michelle and her wife filing for a divorce. Ever since then, the couple – who both have children from previous marriages – have been living together.
Monica said despite the 25-year age gap, they have a lot in common, having bonded over music, camping, outdoor activities and hunting down locally brewed beer. While Monica “didn’t really have concerns” about the age gap, Michelle initially struggled with it because of people’s assumptions.
She said: “People ask ‘Is that your mum’ or even ‘Is that your grandma’ all the time. We learned to laugh or brush it off, but if you see me kissing her, why would you ask if she’s my mum?”
“Another question I get asked is whether I loved her when I was 13 – obviously not. At the time, we didn’t have any relationship besides her being a good teacher.”
The couple got engaged in autumn 2022, after organising separate proposals for each other so they both had a chance to propose.
They got married on June 17, 2023. It was a tiny beach wedding at Suttons Bay, on the shore of Lake Michigan, and they said their vows in a tiny nearby cottage with just a handful of their nearest and dearest. Two nights earlier they had had a separate “mini wedding” with Monica’s children Zeke, seven, and Charlie, five, so they could enjoy the experience too.
Monica said: “They still talk about it – Charlie asks to wear her ‘wedding dress’. Zeke was wearing a rainbow bowtie.”
After enjoying a relaxing honeymoon in Traverse City, now the newlyweds are back home.
Michelle said: “This year has flown fast – we travelled so much this past year. We’re just ready to be home together – I’m ready for some boring.”
Monica added: “It’s time to settle down.”