‘I told husband I was gay after six years of marriage – his six-word reply blew me away’

Nicolette Popa, 26, knew she was gay from a young age but feared coming out because she lived in a conservative area – but after getting married and having two kids, she knew she had to be honest with herself

Nicolette, Ryan and kids
The parents have decided to remain living in the same house

A gay woman who is married to a man says he’s still her “soulmate” and they will stay together while they raise their tot.

Nicolette Popa came out to hubby Ryan in the summer of 2020 after six years together, during which time she kept her sexuality a secret.

But while living in a strict lockdown in Japan during the pandemic, the pair began to open up with each other more than ever before, prompting Nicolette to reveal her true sexuality.

The mum-of-two recalled: “We were just confined to our house, so we spent a lot of time together.

“We learned a lot about ourselves, so I think that was part of the big push for us to have that conversation.”

After making the revelation, Ryan said he “wasn’t surprised” to learn his wife was gay – but the pair still believe they’re soulmates and have no intention of moving into different homes.

Nicolette and Ryan married when she was 19 and he was 20


Kennedy News/Coral Leigh Photography)

The pair are now co-parenting their kids


Kennedy News/Tyler Sherman)

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Nicolette, who now lives in North Carolina in the US, said: “We’re still married and we still live together in our house with our kids.

“For right now, what we do works. We’re trying to figure out our careers and trying to make sure that our kids have the best outcome.

“Ryan’s often gone so he doesn’t get to see the kids often. I’m trying to figure out my new career, while raising our kids.”

She added the pair are prioritising family life in raising their kids, five-year-old Jace and four-year-old Clay.

“We got married when I was 19 and he was 20. We’ve been together basically through all of our 20s, and he’s that person I’ve been around constantly,” she said.

The delivery driver, originally from the state of Missouri, says she knew she was a lesbian while growing up but was fearful of coming out.

She said: “My family are definitely conservative, we’re from the midwest so it’s very ‘country’ out there.

“We grew up hunting and fishing and all that stuff, Ryan’s family are pretty religious too.

“It wasn’t really a thing to be gay when I was growing up. Deep down I thought about it, but I was terrified.”

As she got older, Nicolette described feeling burdened by the secret she was carrying about her sexuality and turned to her “best friend” Ryan for advice.

The pair still believe they are soulmates – just in a different way


Kennedy News and Media)

They teach others about their blended family on TikTok


Kennedy News and Media)

She recalled: “I talked to Ryan about it and said ‘listen, I just kind of feel this way about myself and I don’t know if that’s weird, and how you’ll feel about it’.”

“He was basically like ‘okay that’s cool, women are great’.

“This was six years into our marriage. When I came out, it was just to him for a while, because I wasn’t sure how we wanted to navigate it.”

Ryan admits he wasn’t particularly surprised to learn of his wife’s sexuality when she came out to him during lockdown.

He said: “I started to have suspicions but I wasn’t going to ask, I was going to wait for her to tell me herself.

“I waited for her to come to me about it. She really emphasized being a tomboy, the way she was dressing, she was embracing it more.”

He added his family is totally supportive of the pair’s decision to co-parent in the same family home.

But Nicolette was more concerned about how her family would react to the news. Luckily, she had nothing to fear.

“I was terrified to come out. I called up my mum one night while I was working and said ‘I just need to really tell you this’. I was crying and everything,” she said.

“She was like ‘I love you no matter what’. She was kind of taking the blame because she felt like she was the one who made me feel afraid to be accepted.

“I grew up feeling like I wouldn’t be accepted, even though I was.”

The pair now share their family life on TikTok, where they’ve found a community of other gay women who are living in similar situations.

Nicolette said: “To all of our friends, that’s just the way we are. But I guess when I thought about it, it is interesting because we’re so out of the norm.

“The reaction on TikTok has been mostly supportive. Occasionally we’ll get hate comments from people who don’t understand because they can’t wrap their heads around it.”

Although most of the comments the pair receive are positive, the pair have received some criticism for their blended family lifestyle – with people saying Nicolette has “wasted” her husband’s time.

However, they’ve learned to brush off the negativity and take pride in inspiring others with their story.

Nicolette said: “It shows them that there is an upside and that co-parenting can be possible.”

Do you co-parent your kids successfully with an ex? Email jessica.taylor@reachplc.com

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