Their interracial romance ended painfully after college. They reunited 42 years later — and now live together.

Their interracial romance ended painfully after college. They reunited 42 years later — and now live together.

True love is enduring and can withstand any battle. One special couple proved this when they reunited after 42 years apart.

Steve Watts and Jeanne Gustavson, while they were dating in secret in the 1970s. The couple met in college at a German Club meeting, when Gustavson was a freshman and Watts was a senior. They dated for eight years.

They were each other’s first loves, and they fell for one another quickly. Despite how perfect they were for each other, Jeanne’s family objected because Steve is Black.

“I was very hurt and very baffled by what my family did and said,” Jeanne said. “We had to keep our relationship a secret.”

Eight years passed.

Jeanne graduated and pursued a degree in nursing while Steve earned his master’s degree in education. Now living on opposite sides of town, their relationship struggled.

They eventually moved on, each getting married to other people. But both relationships ended in childless divorce.

They lost contact, and Jeanne eventually moved to Portland, Oregon.

Watts stayed in Chicago, but as he got older, his health began to deteriorate in 2004 he ended up moving into a nursing home.

For over four decades, Jeanne could not stop thinking about Steve. She regretted her decision to break up and decided to try and find him. .

For seven months, she worked tirelessly to find Steve and Jeanne found out Steve was in a nursing home.

Happy beyond belief, she contacted the Chicago nursing home to confirm he was there. Soon after, she sent Steve a letter from her Portland, Oregon home.

Weeks passed with no reply. Jeanne contacted the nursing home again, and all they said was that Steve was unable to reply. Determined for a resolution to their story, she made a surprise trip to Chicago without telling anyone.

When she finally found him, Steve was in poor health. However, he recognized Jeanne right away, and the pair knew they still had feelings for one another.

“In that instant, I knew he still loved me and I still loved him, and this was going to be forever,” Jeanne said. “He grabbed my hand and would not let go. The two of us cried for about an hour and a half.”

They spent the next six days together, absolutely inseparable, before Jeanne went back home. Unable to stop thinking about Steve, she offered to bring him back home with her, if that’s what he wanted. His answer? “I’d follow you anywhere.”

To cover the cost of transporting Steve and his medical supplies, a GoFundMe was created. With the help of family and friends, $14,000 was raised, and these two soulmates were finally reunited for good.

Despite all of the challenges they faced, Jeanne and Steve are proving the power of true love.

Now, the pair are happier than ever. “She saved my life,” said Watts. “If this is not heaven, it’s pretty close to it. I’m the luckiest guy in the world, and then some.”

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