The pair lost contact with each other when Austin moved away from Florida at the Age of 5. Natalie looked up Austin on social media, and the pair eventually reconnected as teens.
Some love stories put our faith back into fairytales, and Natalie Crowe Tatman and Austin Tatman are living that fairytale life for real. The pair never knew that their preschool friendship will develop into a love of a lifetime. The pair lost contact with each other when Austin moved away from Florida when they were best friends at the age of 5. Natalie looked up Austin on social media, and the pair eventually reconnected as teens.
It took them only two dates to realize that they were the best of friends and they are also soulmates. Their journey has now brought them together forever as they are now married. Natalie and Austin, 24, wanted to pay homage to their preschool memories as it originally brought them together at first place. Therefore, they recreated a photo from 1999 in which Natalie and Austin standing side-by-side in a red Jeep Wrangler. The result melted millions of heart.
Natalie and Austin were placed in the same preschool class by chance in Ocala, Florida. Even as kids they became inseparable and went to school trips together. They were always together. “We just automatically became best friends and our parents realized it,” Natalie told PEOPLE. “It’s strange when you’re that age — you don’t usually hang out with the opposite sex. But from when we were 2 until we were 5, we were constantly together.”
Even though Natalie and Austin do not remember their childhood memories quite clearly, their parents made sure to revive their memories as they showed them their extensive collection of photos. “I have very faint memories, but our parents have told us many stories,” she said. “Like on Halloween in 1999, Austin held my hand in the car on the way to trick-or-treating. Those are little things that our parents tell us, where they knew, ‘This is insane that they’re interacting like this.'”
“Every picture that we have — even in a group — we were together and then everyone else was on the side,” Natalie recalled. “I just basically have memories of always being with him, regardless of whether I remember the detail of the memory or not, I knew we were always together.” When Natalie's parents got divorced when she was only 5, she had no clue that she will not be seeing Austin for 12 years, as she moved with her mother, brother, sister to Connecticut.
“I remember the very last day that I saw him, not knowing that I wouldn’t see him for over a decade,” she shared with PEOPLE. “My last memory of him is [when] we made Rice Krispy treats in his parents’ kitchen… and then we were separated.” However, she used to think about Austin even when they were away.
“I briefly remember when I was 8 and 10, I would ask my mom about Austin and she would say, ‘I’m sure if you remember him, he remembers you,'” Natalie recalled. “But I had no way of getting in touch with him at the time.” She was shocked to find Austin's name in her mother's contact diary, under T section. “I knew his last name started with a T, but I don’t know why — I still have no idea to this day why — I went to his name out of all the names that were in there. This thing was full,” she explained.
“As soon as I saw [his name and old address], I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I remember him.’ There was this overwhelming feeling of ‘I better go find him on Facebook before I miss out on this opportunity,'” Natalie revealed. In spite of not having friends in common, Natalie didn't have to look twice to recognize Austin, as she instantly did. And immediately, she sent him a text, and just like Natalie, Austin remembered her too.
Soon they met in 2012, and again they were inseparable. Even though it was a mere friendship for them in the starting but it did not take them a long time to fall in love with each other, and by the second date, they were irrevocably in love with each other. “We both knew we were in love with each other after being on our second date,” Natalie added. “We rekindled the friendship on the first day of reuniting and then being alone, it was like, ‘Okay, whatever time that may be, I’m gonna marry you.'”
The pair yet again had to endure long distance as they had to finish their high school as well as their college. But soon, Austin popped the question in front of their family in August 2017, and on April 13, 2019, Austin and Natalie finally tied the knot at The Mulberry in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. “After we had picked the place we were gonna get married, that’s when it was like ‘I’m literally marrying my preschool sweetheart.’ This is insanity,” she said.
“We had a storyline and a display of our pictures in order,” she noted. “As amazing as our story is, I didn’t want it to be the focal point of us being together… we have this amazing story but the story isn’t what kept us together for 7 years since we’ve reconnected.” It is indeed an extraordinary feeling to think that their 22-year friendship soon turned into a romance without them having an idea about it. She also realized that the biggest take away from her experience happens for a reason.
“There’s a reason that my mom moved us away. At first, she was upset that [we left] Florida where a lot of our family and friends were,” she admitted. “But when I look back on it, if we hadn’t moved and I had grown up with Austin, I think it would have been a lot different… I don’t know if we would’ve been together.” “There’s a reason I went through my mom’s archives and found an address book. And there’s a reason that we went to separate colleges,” she added. “It was kinda crazy how everything came together so perfectly, and it still doesn’t make sense to me to this day.”