Basingstoke man to be reunited with the wife he met online thanks to donations from Instagram users (From This is Hampshire)
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Basingstoke man to be reunited with the wife he met online thanks to donations from Instagram users
A LOVE story that began on the internet and led to marriage will add another happy chapter today when husband and wife Peter and Zitta Cowans are reunited in Basingstoke – thanks partly to the people who have followed their romantic journey online.
Peter Cowans and Zitta Rush began following each other on picture-sharing website Instagram several years ago – and Basingstoke man Peter admitted having a crush on the beautiful burlesque dancer from Oklahoma.
But it wasn’t until April this year that the pair began talking after 25-year-old Zitta asked Peter to have a cup-of-tea with her via Skype.
Their first virtual-date lasted seven hours – and from that point on, both knew something special was happening.
Peter, of Bennet Close, Oakridge, said: “I can’t describe it. The whole thing is something that I never thought could happen.”
He added: “I watched her life from afar for so long, and she did the same to me, both of us having a little crush – it’s the equivalent to following a celebrity.
“She was my celebrity crush – this untouchable beauty. When we spoke for the first time, it blew my mind.”
Peter, 33, who works as an office manager for Southern Electric, arranged to fly to Oklahoma in July to meet Zitta in person.
“It was super romantic,” he said. “The first thing I did when I saw her was walk up, drop my bags and kiss her – and the first words we exchanged were ‘I love you’.”
After returning home, the couple spoke for hours every day and agreed that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together.
It was in September that Peter flew back to Oklahoma to carry out the most romantic gesture of all.
He set up a countdown on Instagram, sending his followers into a frenzy wondering what would happen when it ended.
It was in a bar full of people that Peter popped the question on September 29, and the pair married two days later in Las Vegas.
They were given a free reception venue, which a complete stranger offered to Zitta as a gift.
And now, strangers have contributed cash to bring Zitta to Basingstoke after the pair sought the help of their 6,000 Instagram followers to bring them together. Otherwise, they were facing a three-month wait before Peter could return to Oklahoma.
Peter said: “This was the only chance for her to come and meet my family. My dad has cancer and can’t fly, so it’s the only chance for her to meet him.”
The couple offered souvenirs from their wedding in exchange for cash, including a piece of Zitta’s hand-made bouquet, and raised the £1,500 needed for Zitta to fly to England.
Peter said: “People have followed our story and it’s nice to give something back.
“Our entire story is a result of having absolute faith in something bigger than you – it’s overwhelming. Everything that has come from this is an act of kindness.”
The final donation was given by a London-based singer, who Peter had met once, and who handed over $900 in return for the couple appearing in his music video.
Peter, who is in Basingstoke band Two Headed Coin, is now making plans to emigrate to Oklahoma to live with Zitta and her one-year-old daughter Pearl Anchor Rose, where he hopes to run a furniture business.
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