Tiffany Thornton made headlines Sunday when she walked down the aisle to marry family friend and youth pastor Josiah Capaci.
The ceremony came less than two years after Thornton’s first husband, Christopher Carney, was killed in a car crash in Arkansas on Dec. 4, 2015. He was 35. Carney was in a vehicle with his friend, 37-year-old Ezekiel Blanton, when Blanton swerved and hit a tree, KTHV reported. Blanton also died in the crash.
“This. This is love. That all encompassing, enduring, accepting, near perfect love,” Thornton, 31, wrote on Instagram — defending her decision to remarry. “The kind that trumps my need to snap back at people who have the audacity to comment on my Instagram about whether I loved my first husband or not.”
Here’s what you need to know about the new bride:
1. She rose to fame on the Disney Channel original series Sonny with a Chance and its spinoffs.
After a number of guest roles Disney Channel shows like That’s So Raven, Wizards of Waverly Place and Hannah Montana, Thornton nabbed a part on Sonny with a Chance — the Demi Lovato-led sitcom that aired from 2009 to 2011.
Thornton played Tawni Hart, the fashion-obsessed, pink-loving rival to Lovato’s Sonny Munroe who eventually put aside her jealously for Sonny to become her BFF.
Thornton reprised the role in the Disney Channel original movie Hatching Pete and show So Random! — the spinoff series that ran from 2011-2012.
Thornton remains close with Lovato, calling the singer her “friend” in October.
2. She has two children.
Before his death, Thornton and Carney — a probation officer and former lead singer of the band The Prom Kinds — had two kids. Eldest son Kenneth James “KJ” Carney was born August 14, 2012, while brother Bentley Cash was born on March 1, 2014.
“My original baby. KJ is such a special boy,” Thornton gushed on Instagram of her first-born. “Tender-hearted, empathetic, nurturing, so eager to help others and make other kids feel happy, a great brother and a wonderful son. I’m beyond blessed to be his momma. Love him soooo much.”
“I’m so blessed to borrow Bentley Cash Carney from our creator and to be trusted to raise him,” she said of her second son. “What a humbling experience to be a mommy to such a beautiful, wonderful, intelligent little boy.”
The boys are close with Capaci, too. “He is already such an incredible dad,” Thornton wrote on Instagram prior to their wedding. “What an amazing answer to prayer.”
3. She’s a devout Christian and works as a recruitment advisor for Champion Christian College.
Living in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Capaci and Thornton share a strong spiritual connection as well, which Thornton says has only deepened her own faith in God.
“Praising our Amazing God with you is one of my absolute most favorite things I’ve ever done,” said Thronton when reflecting on her relationship with Capaci. “How God decided to bless me with someone so incredible is beyond my comprehension. You love with a fire and passion like nothing I’ve ever seen. It’s not an in-your-face type of love but it’s one that is undeniably evident in all that you do. That’s because your love isn’t your own. It’s the love of God. The love of Christ that dwells within your heart exudes from you like a sweet perfume. It’s nearly indescribable. ”
“That example of His love transforms the relationship I have with Jesus,” Thornton continued. “Seeing you chase after Him makes me want to chase after Him even harder. You make me want to be better. To love more openly. To worship God greater than I ever have. To forgive quickly. To let the Holy Spirit work in me even when it’s hard and humbling. You are the epitome of what God intends in a husband. And I’ll keep you forever.”
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She is also raising her kids to be participants in their faith. This summer, the boys went to vacation bible school at FirstNaz. ”
So proud of our Children’s Department Director Jessica and everyone who gave of their time and energy to help these little ones know the Lord!” Thornton said on Instagram. “What a blessing it is to be in the company of such amazing believers. Love my church!”
While Thornton began her career as an actor, she also works as a recruitment advisor for Champion Christian College – a faith-based, four-year college associated with the Gospel Light Baptist Church.
4. She’s head over heels in love with Capaci.
Thornton has written no shortage of heartfelt messages on social media about her new husband.
“He lives with such conviction to be Godly, with such a gentle spirit and loving heart,” she said of Capaci in September. “He always says yes when someone asks him for help. He never makes fun of someone or tears someone down. He doesn’t join in on negative conversations. He trusts in the promises of the Lord. He believes the Word of God. He studies it and memorizes it and shares it with me daily. He is the best example I’ve ever known of what this verse in Timothy speaks of. This love completely humbles me…”
Though they only began dating in January and were engaged in April after just four months together, Thornton says their connection is pure.
“I never could have imagined after losing Chris that I would be in love so quickly and especially couldn’t have imagined getting married again so quickly, but the Lord works in mysterious ways and I truly believe this blessing came along at the perfect time,” she wrote. “Not only is Josiah my best friend but he is also a fresh start for me. He reminds me that love isn’t a once in a lifetime thing. He shows me that it’s possible to open my heart again and to love deeply in return. He is kind and understanding and humble. He is exactly what I needed when I didn’t even know I needed it.”
5. Carney is still a huge part of her life
Even after his death, Thornton has continued to pay tribute to her former husband — even honoring what would have been his 37th birthday in August with a touching post filled with throwback photos on Instagram.
“Happy Birthday Chris,” she said. “Crazy to think this is the second birthday you’ve spent in Heaven. It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve seen you. I’m jealous of the angels today. I hope you’re having a blast up there.”
“We think of you every day” she continued. “We miss you and we will love you forever and I pray you’re always watching over us and that we are making you proud.”