Many spouses claim that their love was “meant to be,” but few have said it more than Liane and Marc Carter. Throughout their relationship, they have stumbled into uncanny coincidences. When Liane decided to take a DNA test, she learned why. She shared her story in The Cut, and the internet flew into a frenzy. Read on to see what she found.
The Couple’s Meeting Was Like A Rom-Com
Liane Kupferberg Carter and her husband Marc met in a peculiar way, which Liane calls “rom-com cute.” The two were on Club Med, a cruise that sailed near Nassau in the Bahamas. Liane was 25, and Marc was 27.
The two spent some time with each other during their vacation. Although Liane claimed that Marc was initially “chasing my roommate,” that would soon change. This couple would figure out that they’re closer than expected– almost 40 years after meeting!
The Two Lived Closer Than They Thought
While the two flew back to America, they chatted on the plane. Liane and Marc discovered that they lived a block away from each other in Manhattan! They also shared many other interests, such as an interest in literature and authors like e.e. cummings.
When the pair landed in JFK airport, Marc insisted that he should carry Liane’s bags. She then found herself thinking, “I could marry a guy like this.” And that’s what she would do.
They Met Each Others’ Parents Through A Weird Coincidence
But that wasn’t the end to the pair’s uncanny coincidences. When the two walked into the airport, Liane spotted her mother talking to another woman. Liane told Marc, “There’s my mother, but I don’t know the woman she’s with.”
“I do,” Marc replied. “That’s my mother!” Their mothers had randomly met at the same time, in the same airport. Ever since Liane and Marc met, their life turned into a series of bizarre coincidences, and it wouldn’t stop after the airport.
After Two Weeks Of Dating, Marc Proposed Under Fireworks
Marc and Liane started dating after their Bahamas trip. The two would often finish each others’ sentences and shared many of the same interests. Both had a degree in English and loved to attend live literary events. Marc claimed that they were “two bodies with one mind.”
On Independence Day–two weeks after they started dating–Marc proposed to Liane while they were watching fireworks over the Hudson River. Liane did not think they were moving fast; she even said, “What took you so long?”
Despite The Fast Dating, Their Lives Were Going Well
Some people thought Liane and Marc were crazy for getting engaged so early. But their timeline worked out; by 2018, they had been married for 38 years. They also remained married without children for several years.
At age 32, Liane conceived their first child, a son named Jonathon. The delivery went smoothly, and everyone was healthy and happy. The couple was even planning for a second child. Unfortunately, life would not remain as happy during the second conception.
However, The Second Pregnancy Brought Some Struggles
Liane became pregnant again at age 37, but this pregnancy was much rockier. She experienced far more bleeding and contractions, and the doctor recommended bed rest. Marc did everything in his power to care for his wife and help the baby.
Fortunately, the tough pregnancy would pay off. Liane gave birth to her second son, Mickey, with no complications. The parents were relieved, and they thought they were in the clear while they raised a loving, sweet son.
But The Parents Noticed Something Strange
When Mickey was a few years old, Liane and Marc noticed that something was off. He still wasn’t talking. Most babies begin babbling at six months old and form words around two years. But Mickey wasn’t saying anything.
The couple took Mickey to the doctor, where he was diagnosed with Autism. The way they received the news was rough. According to Liane, the doctor told her, “Don’t expect higher education for your son.” But she wouldn’t give up.
Liane Fought For Her Son
Like any loving mother, Liane fought for her son to have the best life possible. She became an Autism advocate and wrote several essays about raising special needs children. Her memoir, Ketchup Is My Favorite Vegetable: A Family Grows Up With Autism, won several awards.
Although Liane became well-known in the Autism Awareness community, she could not have achieved all of this without her husband, Marc. The couple worked together to ensure the best life for their son and other children with special needs.
Then, She Decided To Take A DNA Test
During her Autism research, Liane learned that the condition tends to run in families, although the inheritance pattern is unknown. She relayed this to her eldest son, Jonathon, who recommended that she and Marc take a DNA test.
The idea intrigued Liane. She believed that she knew some of her ancestry, but she wondered if anything surprising would pop up. When Liane passed this idea to Marc, he agreed that they should both try it, along with their sons.
The Family Took 23 And Me, And Waited
The family chose the DNA testing kit 23 and Me. The test informs you about your ethnic ancestry, potential health conditions, and many other details. It requires customers to spit into a tube and send it to the facility for analysis.
The family did their 23 and Me test and sent it in. Afterward, they had to wait six to eight weeks to receive their results. Little did the family know that the answers would be shocking.
The Results: Liane And Her Husband Were Related
When Liane received her 23 and Me results, she also received an email that said, “You have new DNA relatives.” She assumed that the email meant her son Jonathon, who also took the test. But she was wrong.
“[That email] is how I discovered that my husband Marc and I are related through more than mere marriage,” Liane wrote on The Cut. “We’re third cousins.” That means that Marc and Liane shared at least one great-great-grandparent.
Their Son Was Dumbfounded
While some people would be freaked out by this news, Liane and Marc laughed it off. They called Jonathon about it (30 years old at this point), who responded, “I don’t know how I feel about this.”
“You were the one who pushed us to get tested,” Liane brought up. Jonathon’s only response was, “Do I need to get genetic counseling?” Indeed, Marc and Liane’s relationship raised many questions that the couple would have to sift through.
But Were The Results Correct?
But Marc was skeptical. Although 23 and Me is generally accurate, there is a chance that it got something wrong. “It’s not like we got this report from the Institutes of Medicine,” he brought up.
However, 23 and Me got one thing right: that Jonathon was their child. According to the report, he shared 50.1% of DNA with Liane and 49.9% with Marc. However, there was another reason why the couple was inclined to believe their results.
Liane Always Worried That She Received The Wrong Child
Shortly after Jonathon was born, Liane had a scare at the hospital. According to her, when the nurse returned with her child after delivery, the child’s label said “GIRL.” Liane yelled, “This isn’t my baby!” to which the nurse responded, “Well, it looks like yours.”
Because of this, Liane had a slight worry that she received the wrong child for the past 30 years. But this DNA test confirmed that Jonathon was hers, making her more inclined to believe it.
On Facebook, People Argued Over The News
Liane did not feel shy about her genetic test; she posted her story to Facebook with the hashtag #OurForbiddenLove. The post quickly received a barrage of comments, ranging from “How is that possible?” to “Maybe this explains why you got engaged so fast.”
It wasn’t long before the comments section turned into arguments. Some people pointed out that this is fairly common, while others joked that “Marc [always] felt like family.” But were the results accurate?
Did Their Chance Of Birth Defects Increase?
Although the response was positive overall, many people wondered: Did Marc and Liane have a higher chance of having kids with birth defects? The answer is no. In 2008, an Icelandic study found that third cousins tend to have more reproductive success than eighth cousins!
Apparently, third cousins are a “genetic sweet spot,” according to The Genetic Literacy Project. If Marc and Liane were more closely related–say, second cousins–then their risks of birth defects would increase.
Another Ethnic Result Held The Key
23 and Me pinpointed another fact that made Marc and Liane’s relationship more likely. Both were Ashkenazi Jews–Jewish people from Central and Eastern Europe. These Jews descended from a group of 350 people in the Middle Ages, and they tended to intermarry.
In other words, Ashkenazi Jews have a higher likelihood of being related than most other ethnic groups. According to a 2014 study, most people from this ethnic group are 30th cousins. So being third cousins is not that farfetched.
Many Famous Couples Were Third Cousins
Believe it or not, a few famous couples were also third cousins. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, for example, were third cousins. Both were great-great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria.
Theodore Roosevelt also married his third cousin. His wife, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, was the niece of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was Theodore’s cousin. It seems that cousins marrying each other is not as unusual as one might think. But how similar does that make their DNA?
To Many, This Explains Their Relationship
According to Liane, most of their friends and family were not surprised by this revelation. They always suspected that her and Marc’s connection ran deeper than most peoples’. “Our implausible DNA match seemed entirely fitting to everyone who knew us,” she wrote.
It might explain why their connection was so immediate. Liane and Marc were hardly surprised themselves. “Our connection is a decades’ long conversation that continues to nurture and sustain us both,” Liane wrote.
Still, Liane Is Not Positive That They Share An Ancestor
As an Autism advocate, Liane has researched genetics. But she had trouble figuring out how similar she and Marc were, DNA-wise. “I learned about haplogroups and centimorgans and polymorphic markers,” she wrote about her research on The Cut.
“With disappointment, I realized the science is not yet complete. It’s unclear if Marc and I actually share a set of great-great-grandparents or not.” In other words, they might not share such an immediate ancestor, even though their DNA is similar.
The Story Continues To Be A Private Joke
Liane claimed that she and Marc “dined on [the news] for weeks,” and they continue to joke about it today. She tells her husband, “You’re my cousin-husband,” to which Marc replies, “Better than being a sister-wife.”
Although the 23 and Me result continues to amuse Marc and Liane, others might not react as well to this report. One should note the fine print on 23 and Me’s Terms of Service: “You may discover things about yourself that trouble you that you may not have the ability to control or change.”