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A divorced couple fell back in love 7 years after their marriage 'deteriorated.' Family tragedies helped them realize they needed each other.

Geoff Weiss   

A divorced couple fell back in love 7 years after their marriage 'deteriorated.' Family tragedies helped them realize they needed each other.
  • Rachel Gaede is counting down the days to her parents' second wedding.
  • Scott and Julie separated in 2014, but reconnected in 2021 after a series of family tragedies.

An improbable love story of a divorced couple who is getting married for the second time — having reconciled after navigating a firestorm of family tragedies and milestones in recent years — has enraptured a watchful corner of TikTok.

Now, 360,000 followers are anticipating the second nuptials on December 28. The viral marvel involves Cincinnati educator Julie Shore and salesman Scott Gaede, who are both 54. The family lore and last-minute wedding plans are playing out in real time on their daughter Rachel's popular TikTok account.

Viewers are glued not only to the fairytale romance but to the goofy family dynamics: "There's a bit of lightness to life when you've experienced the bottom," Julie told Business Insider.

A real-life, made-for-Lifetime love story

Rachel said her parents married in 1997 but separated in 2014. "There's no landmark scandal," Julie said. "Nobody had an affair." Scott, for his part, called it a "slow deterioration."

They continued to live in the same house, with Scott in the guest room for many years. The two eventually moved apart upon the finalization of the divorce in 2018, which daughters Rachel, 24, and Caroline, 20, described as something of a relief.



♬ Oui oui oui oui - Sacha Distel

"It was kind of amicable at first, but then got contentious," Julie said of the divorce, citing arguments over property division. "We were not friends after that. And we both did see other people. We both had other relationships."

The couple started to find their way back to one another during COVID. They began communicating again to coordinate quarantined visits with Scott, who was living separately at the time.

"Friendship is an overstatement, but we became friendly," Julie said. Things officially "leveled up to a friendship" when Scott's mother died in November 2020, and Julie drove to be with him at the hospital.

"Then, six months or so later, my dad passed away in May of '21," Scott told BI, adding that his father's business partner and best friend had also died 11 hours prior. It was a "highly emotional" week of extreme highs and lows, he said. Just days before, Caroline and Rachel had celebrated their respective graduations from high school and college.

"It was a moment for me," Julie said, remembering sitting at the funeral of their family friend and thinking, "Family is all that matters. Nothing else."

"I always had my hand just above the panic button," Julie said

After these grievous events, she and Scott started to date each other again. There were still squabbles over what Julie described as Scott's "bachelor" lifestyle, so they embarked on a five-day trip to the Pacific Northwest to hash things out — and ultimately decided to recommit. The whole family moved into a brand new house that December.



♬ Do You Believe in Magic - The Lovin' Spoonful

"They were friends in a way that they never had been," Caroline told BI of her parents. "We were doing things that we hadn't done since I was probably 12 or 13, and it was more fun than it ever was."

Scott felt it was "obvious" they would eventually remarry, while Julie was more cautiously optimistic, only wanting her daughters to be happy. "I always had my hand just above the panic button," she said.

After Julie's 98-year-old mother suffered a health setback, the altar came nearer into view. Rachel and Caroline helped Scott fast-track the proposal last Christmas, with Scott asking her mother for permission ("It's about time," she said), and then hatched a plan for a surprise proposal in downtown Cincinnati.

He also proposed to the whole family, Rachel recounted on TikTok earlier this month, giving the girls rings with diamonds from Julie's original engagement ring. Rachel said she wears hers every day.


DAY 23/25

♬ Elegant and gentle, Boccellini's Menuet - Kohrogi

Since Rachel has shared her parent's story publicly, with details and updates along the way, viewers are eagerly anticipating the wedding. It will be a last-minute affair planned in 20 days that will only be attended by the nuclear family (with a cousin officiating). Both spouses wrote their own vows, Rachel said in a December 5 TikTok, and Julie said her dress is "reminiscent" of the one she originally wore down the aisle.

Commenters are absolutely enthralled by their unique reunion and are rooting Julie and Scott on. "I really need you to write a book about their relationship," one commenter wrote.

Julie is ultimately incredulous about bringing her family back together, with a renewed perspective on both love and life.

"When everything's been taken away that you thought you would have and you get it back — I wake up every day grateful," she concluded.

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