Couple with 21-year age gap met while cheating on their partners at supermarket

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They worked at Walmart together and sparks quickly began to fly (Image: Courtesy Chelsea Downs / SWNS)
They worked at Walmart together and sparks quickly began to fly (Image: Courtesy Chelsea Downs / SWNS)

A cheating couple with a 21-year age gap who fell in love at a supermarket said they defied the odds and their fierce critics to get married and have a child.

Chelsea Downs, 34, met her now-husband, Brad, 56, whilst they were both working at Walmart back in 2012.

She was in the store's salon while he was the branch manager, and despite both being married, they were "drawn to each other" as sparks began to fly.

They embarked on a three-week affair and would meet at the local park every night, they said.

But it wasn't long before their secret fling was rumbled when a family member followed Chelsea to the park - and demanded the couple come clean.

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Couple with 21-year age gap met while cheating on their partners at supermarketThey say they have been faced with a torrent of abuse since getting together (Courtesy Chelsea Downs / SWNS)
Couple with 21-year age gap met while cheating on their partners at supermarketBut it was more than a fling and now they have a family (Courtesy Chelsea Downs / SWNS)

Chelsea and Brad claimed they both told their spouses the truth, and divorced.

They said they were "bashed" for years by people in their local community who didn't agree with what they did.

But after dating for five years, they tied the knot in July 2017 and said their love has defied the odds.

The couple had their son, Carson, seven, in March 2014 and Chelsea said she's now best friends with Brad's daughter, Jessica, 32 - who is just two years younger than her.

Chelsea, a salon owner, from Cookeville, Tennessee, USA, said: "No one goes out looking for an affair - it is not something we are proud of.

"I was working in Walmart at the hair salon and Brad was the store manager. I had a problem with ants in the salon and had to get Brad to sort it out for me.

"The second we met in Walmart we were inseparable - it wasn't love at first sight, but the connection was undeniable, even though I thought he was a big cocky jerk.

Couple with 21-year age gap met while cheating on their partners at supermarketBrad's daughter Jessica is now supportive after the split (Courtesy Chelsea Downs / SWNS)
Couple with 21-year age gap met while cheating on their partners at supermarketThey embarked on an affair in 2012 and would meet at the local park every night (Courtesy Chelsea Downs / SWNS)

"The age difference was never discussed. It wasn't even a factor we just started dating each other."

After a three-week whirlwind affair, Brad and Chelsea were forced to reveal the truth.

She said: "We would go and meet at a park close to Walmart, but our town is so small, and we were caught. I had no choice but to tell my husband - it wasn't well received.

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"It felt like a relief, but I was very scared because I had a two-year-old daughter - I felt terrible for my husband at the time that I had devastated him.

"I was unhappy in my marriage but was never one to be open about my emotions - I got married when I was just 19 and I fully believe you have no idea who you are at that age. I lost myself and I didn't have any fire, passion or drive."

According to Chelsea, the local community ousted her for having an affair and started trolling her on anonymous forum sites.

"It took a toll on my mental health," she said. "I felt like I didn't have anyone. People said terrible things - that I was a homewrecker, a h*e and should lose my daughter."

The comments stopped after two years in 2014, and Chelsea and Brad have taken time to forgive themselves for cheating.

Brad's children - Logan, 30 and Jessica, 32 - took a while to "come around" to Chelsea but they are now closer than ever.

Chelsea added: "Jessica is like one of my best friends - it's like we grew up together. We don't see Logan as much because he lives in another state."

People often mistake Chelsea and Carson for Brad's daughter and grandson, but it doesn't bother them.

"People will say to Brad 'is this your daughter and your grandson?' but once people get to know us, they understand it's not a big deal at all," she said.

"People were more shocked at the infidelity than anything else.

"It took years for me to be OK with myself. I have forgiven myself and we have asked for forgiveness from our ex-spouses and from God.

"It was an unconventional way to start a relationship and a family, but it worked. It sounds so clich , but you should follow your heart, it knows exactly what you want. Don't be afraid to see where life takes you."

Brad added: "Chelsea brings life to life. She is an extroverted charismatic person while I am more reserved, but by no means an introvert.

"She puts love, relationship, and family at the forefront of her every day life. And she lets me know that she loves me hard.

"Both of us have learned from the mistakes we made in the past and use those lessons to apply to our lives now, in order to enhance our current lives, and do not allow the same mistakes to be repeated.

"Before we got married, we recommitted our lives to God and practiced celibacy until we were married."

Lydia Patrick

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