- Italy-born Anna-Marie Donkor and her Ghanaian spouse Aaron Donkor wedded on December 4, 2021
- When the couple decided to go above race and societal stigma to make their relationship permanent, they had only been dating for almost a year
- Anna-Marie Donkor spoke candidly about resisting social and family pressures to be with each other in an exclusive interview with YEN.com.gh
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True love knows no boundaries. It appears that even the most difficult barriers, such as race, language, and culture, fall flat in the face of love.
When Italy-born Anna-Marie Donkor first met with her Ghanaian lover Aaron Donkor in February 2021, she was smitten by his demeanour and footballing prowess.
Before deciding to meet physically and advance their relationship, the duo had been conversing. Their relationship quickly flourished after they met because they knew what they wanted.
How Aaron Donkor and Anna-Marie Donkor met
Anna-Marie Donkor tells YEN.com.gh in an exclusive interview that a mutual friend introduced her to her now-husband.
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"We met through a mutual friend. He handed my hubby my contact info. At the time, my spouse was a football player who resided in the Czech Republic. I was going to a different city when we first started communicating.
''He volunteered to take care of that and assist her in locating a new apartment. It was sweet of him; I have always been drawn to gentlemen,'' she tells YEN.com.gh.
Before they decided to meet, she played the hard-to-get card. ''To be honest, I may have declined him three times. I was quite shy," admits Anna-Marie.
How Aaron Donkor and Anna-Marie Donkor advanced their romance
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Anna-Marie Donkor and Aaron Donkor fell deeply in love with each other after barely a year of acquaintance.
"I was smitten by his entire personality. His talent astounded me, and his leadership abilities are out of this world. He is a doer, and I greatly admire him. He is wise and a wonderful inspiration to me. He is god-fearing and humble," she tells YEN.com.gh.
How the interracial couple gained acceptance from families and society
Though the pair had grown closer than just friends, they strained to win over society because of the stark differences in their racial backgrounds, cultural traditions, and family histories. According to an insider, the pair struggled to convince people of their love.
''Getting her [Anna-Marie] family to accept him was crucial to her. They face racism and xenophobia a lot on social media, on the streets, from strangers, and even people that they know.
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''Whenever they go on the streets, people tend to stare at them. Whenever she says her husband is an African, they ask inappropriate questions. Everyone wanted to know if he was a refugee or a Muslim.''
Aaron Donkor and Anna-Marie Donkor's beautiful wedding
Anna-Marie and Aaron's love proved more resilient than the mountain of challenges life threw at them. They surmounted the difficulties and sealed their beautiful love in two separate ceremonies in Prague, Czech Republic.
"My husband proposed to me by the river where we used to go for walks. We decided to wed very quickly. Since day one, it has been a topic. The official engagement happened about two or three months later, and it felt perfect. We were not dating for a year when we married on December 4, 2021," says Anna-Marie.
''We married twice: once in a formal ceremony at a law office and once in a traditional wedding at a church,'' she said, adding that the ceremony happened at the Rehoboth Christian Church of God.
According to Anna-Marie, their wedding was highly anticipated because they constantly discussed it.
''We were eager to introduce ourselves to God as a legal entity. My hubby would always win out in a vote for me. We've experienced a lot.
Life after the wedding for Anna-Marie and her Ghanaian husband
Getting married, however, did not protect Anna-Marie and Aaron Donkor from public attention. People started to show a keen interest in their lives.
Some claimed that she had married her Ghanaian spouse this time around because of his wealth.
"People think I married him for financial gain or some sort of obsession. It's not true," Anna-Marie asserts.
In addition to the race gap, other aspects of their relationship, such as religion and culture, suffered both before and after the wedding.
''In Europe, a woman is frequently the family's head of household.''
The culture is very distinctive. She said it was pretty challenging to comprehend how her husband saw the world.
Despite the difficulties that have plagued their relationship and continue to do so, Anna-Marie Donkor tells YEN.com.gh that she never questions her decisions to be with her husband.
Anna-Marie and Aaron are not alone. Shantania Beckford, 24, and Billy Clifford, 23, from Birmingham, are of Jamaican and English heritage. The pair, who met online, admitted to the BBC that some insults and abuse have been directed at them because of their open mixed relationship.
Anna-Marie's racist encounters after getting married
The 25-year-old journalist and singer, who is part Italian, spent two years living in Italy. Her husband is a professional footballer from Ghana who formerly resided in Sweden before moving to the Czech Republic. They are dissimilar.
Hence, Anna-Marie says she's always been aware that one can neither escape racism nor shield their partner from it completely.
"You see it happening in everyday life, and it opened my eyes as a white woman," she said to YEN.com.gh, adding that, "No White person, in my opinion, can relate unless they experience the truth".
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The couple's love life, therefore, has not always been filled with doom. The cultural difference is a reflection of their great times. The pair had to learn to coexist at home and in society by embracing their respective worlds.
The subject of respect was the first cultural shock for Anna-Marie.
''In my nation and throughout Europe, we handle that differently. For us, respect is a quality you must acquire via your behavior; it is not something you are born with. Women and the elderly are revered, but men here have to fight hard to be respected. That's a distinct aspect, then. Food comes next. However, I've learned how to cook and consume anything," she conjectured.
Managing rumours together as a couple
The attempts to separate the pair before and after marriage have been unsuccessful. But it hasn't prevented some people from speculating about their relationship.
"Some individuals sent hurtful comments since my husband didn't appear on a live video, thinking we had broken up.
''When they saw some outdated images online, they started spreading hatred. Some people were making pregnancy predictions as well, and things became rather messy when they were impolite and expressed only negative wishes for the unborn child," she told YEN.com.gh.
Anna-Marie further tells YEN.com.gh that their love endures despite the doubters. According to her, their love and marriage are sealed forever. Anna-Marie Donkor and Aaron Donkor marked their second wedding anniversary on December 24, 2022.
Beautiful photos of an interracial couple trigger emotional reactions
Meanwhile, YEN.com.gh previously reported that marriage is lovely with a buddy, and recent and inspirational images of an interracial couple sparked much discussion on social media.
The couple, whose relationship began in 2010, exchanged vows in a stunning white wedding in 2019.
In 2021, they welcomed a lively child who has since become a family member. The couple had a cute puppy before they brought their bundle of joy into the world.
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