Couple Remarries After 50 Years Divorce

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Harold Holland and Lillian Barnes in Lexington, Kentucky. The two, who were married in 1955 and divorced in 1968, are getting married again.
Harold Holland and Lillian Barnes in Lexington, Kentucky. The two, who were married in 1955 and divorced in 1968, are getting married again.

A half-century after they got divorced, Harold Holland and Lillian Barnes are giving each other a second chance.

Lillian Barnes and Harold Holland of Lexington Kentucky were first married in 1955 at the respective ages of 16 and 20. After five kids and thirteen years of marriage, “the marriage crumbled” and they divorced in 1968. Harold puts the blame on himself and his busy work schedule. “It was 100 percent my fault,” he told Today. “I just left her with too much to take care of.”

Both Lillian and Harold remarried different spouses after their divorce but “remained friendly for the sake of their children.” Their daughter remembers their diligence in being present for family events and major milestones in their children’s lives. “If there was any tension,” she said, “we didn’t know it.”

Lillian’s second husband and Harold’s second wife both died in 2015. In 2017, the couple reconnected at a family reunion. That led to a Thanksgiving dinner with the whole family followed by phone chats. Then they started dating. Three months later, they were engaged.

Harold recalls, “After a couple … months, I just asked her if she’d like to do it over. She said, yes she would…. We tolerated each other and talked all those years, but I guess deep down there was always that first love. It was always there.”

Their children have taken charge of planning the details of Lillian and Harold’s wedding.

The Kentucky couple will get married for the second time on April 14 in a ceremony that will be officiated by one of their 17 grandchildren.

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