World’s first married couple with Down’s Syndrome still are very much in love with each other after 28 years together


It was 1981 when Gareth and Deana Tobias set eyes one another in the crowded room of their little church in Cumbria, England. Gareth was only 17 and Deana was two years older than him. Right then and there, they both knew that they are destined for each other.

“Before I met Deana, I had three girlfriends, ” boasted Gareth jokingly, adding, “ I chose the right one, and it’s Deana.”

For Deana, it was crystal clear. “  I thought to myself: he’s a redhead. I like redheads! He also had a beard at the time, also red.”

Deana, also being a redhead, told herself that she had found a soul mate with Gareth. They first spent time together as friends, and it wasn’t until ten years later in 1991 that their respective families realized how close they had become to each other.

“We didn’t know much about their relationship until they started talking about marriage, ” shared Gareth’s mother, Anne.

The couple went on a vacation to Blackpool to celebrate Deana’s birthday and Gareth popped the question there. Of course, Deana said yes and they were engaged. On July 4, 1992,  the two lovers exchanged vows in front of 40 friends and family members. 

Gareth and Deana had been preparing for the big day for months, so much so that they both knew their wishes by heart.

“ The vicar started to say [the first sentences] vows and he never had to recite the sentences before them. The words literally sprang from both of them simultaneously, ” says Anne.

The church wedding was followed by a reception at a cafe in the couple’s hometown and an evening party attended by other guests. To make their special day even more memorable, Gareth and Deana even prepared a dance on the emblematic theme of the blockbuster movie of the 80s Dirty Dancing , “Time of My Life”.

Since marrying the love of his life, Gareth, 55, has kept a steady job three days a week in a supermarket. Thinking about the secret of her couple’s longevity, Gareth ventured, “ I support Deana, and she supports me! ”

“Look at him now, he’s an old man. I still love him though, ” Deana replied jokingly.

The middle-aged couple had to meticulously take into account their health and mobility considering their special condition so they took vacations together each year for as long as they could.

Preferring vacation camps for their summer getaways, the couple stayed in the caravan park, went dancing in the evening and always insisted on taking care of themselves.

Today, the happy couple’s neighbors are more likely to see Gareth and Deana enjoying their lives a little closer to home, sitting quietly over a drink chatting in their local pub.

Perhaps the key to a long, happy marriage is as simple as unconditional love. The purity and longevity of this marriage continues to inspire the families, friends and communities of this couple around the world.