Jr. High Sweethearts Who Divorced in 1965 and Suffered Deaths of Sons Remarry 55 Years Later
"I never stopped loving her," Dennis Reynolds, 77, says of wife Diane, also 77
A Nevada couple has been given a second chance at love — and after more than 50 years apart, they're not taking a moment with each other for granted.
Dennis and Diane Reynolds tell PEOPLE that they never expected to remarry when they reconnected in July 2019, nearly 55 years after getting a divorce.
"We had really both been adamant [that] we're not ever going to get married again," recalls Diane, 77. "We've had enough of all that."
By February 2020, that stance had changed as the pair — who married and divorced other people in their time apart — rekindled a strong flame first felt in their teenage years.
"He just really melted my heart," Diane says. "Call it fate, call it whatever you want, but we just feel like it was probably meant to be."
Adds Dennis, also 77: "I never stopped loving her."
Fresh from tying the knot again this past November, the pair is focused on their next chapter: With the help of Veterans United Home Loans, Dennis, a Vietnam War veteran, has been utilizing his VA home loan benefit to build his wife's dream home in Las Vegas.
The Reynolds' love story began in their homeroom at Sun Valley Junior High in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. They were just 13.
"That was actually the only class that we were in together and we just got to know each other," explains Dennis.
"He came from Oregon and he had a bit of an accent," recalls Diane. "I thought that's kind of cute!"
Though they went on to attend different high schools, that didn't stop the duo from pursuing a romance, and by the time they were 15, their relationship became official.
"I used to take her to the movies all the time," says Dennis. "We'd hold hands in the movies."
On Nov. 11, 1961 — five months after they finished high school — Dennis and Diane got married. Not long after, they welcomed two sons: Curtis in June 1962 and Keith in December 1963.
But just four years into their union, the spouses started to experience marital problems.
"We didn't have very much money, so we really couldn't do anything. There wasn't the fun that we have now or in high school," Diane explains. "We did a lot of drifting apart because he was gone a lot, working and going to school. He'd come home and I'd be all chatty Cathy... and he was tired and that wasn't his interest."
"There was just a breaking point," notes Dennis. "Reality set in... There wasn't a hassle or a fight or anything. We needed to go our separate ways."
The two eventually divorced in 1965.
Dennis served in the Vietnam War and remarried twice — in 1969 to Bonnie, who died in 2000, and in 2001 to a woman named Cher, who died in 2018. He lived in Arkansas and Arizona before settling down in Las Vegas.
Diane, meanwhile, remarried in 1967 to John, with whom she welcomed four kids. They lived in Los Angeles until John died in 1981, and Diane later moved to Washington, D.C. for work.
Tragic circumstances brought the former spouses together in 1989, when their son Keith died by suicide at age 25 after he contracted AIDS, and again in 2001, when their son Curtis died at age 38 following multiple surgeries due to injuries sustained in a military mission.
Beyond the devastating losses, "we probably really didn't have any contact with each other," Diane says. But in July 2019, she went on disability after falling on her way to work.
"I wasn't recuperating very well, and I said, 'God, I'd like to have a relationship with somebody,'" she recalls. "And the next day, Dennis called me."
"I said, 'God, couldn't you have done a little better than that?'" Diane quips, sweetly adding that she now thinks God "did a good job."
Adds Dennis: "She's the mother of my children. I grew up with her... so I did have deep inset emotions about her. And I was kind of curious — I'm here by myself and I don't like to be by myself — and I said, 'Well, I'm going to give her a call.'"
After a few phone calls, Diane agreed to come out to Las Vegas for four days and visit Dennis, since her daughter also happened to also live in the area.
The pair went on two back-to-back dates and the rest, as they say, is history.
In February, Diane moved to Las Vegas to live with Dennis, and on Nov. 11, they re-tied the knot on what would've been their 59th wedding anniversary.
"We get along so well," says Diane. "We have a good time. We laugh a lot."
The best part? "Waking up and seeing her every morning," says Dennis.
Since their nuptials, the couple has been busy with the construction of their new home — complete with a backyard pool and two-person sofa chair — but look forward to the day they can finally settle in.
"I'm most excited about the future," says Dennis. "Every aspect of it."
"We're going to swim every day and we're going to cuddle on that little couch that we bought," adds Diane. "We're just going to enjoy every minute."
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