Every now and again, we come across a love story that touches our hearts in more ways than be. Former WNBA player Maya Moore and her husband Jonathan Irons have that kind of story.
Moore, who put her career on hold to help overturn Irons’s wrongful conviction, told Good Morning America that they had gotten married over the summer. Together, the newlyweds told the story of how they fell in love while Irons was incarcerated, and how excited they are about the prison reform work they’re planning to do together moving forward.
“We wanted to announce today that we are super excited to continue the work that we’ve been doing together, but doing it as a married couple,” Moore said on the show. “We’re excited to share this new chapter of life together.”
Moore first met Irons when she was 18 years old through a prison ministry program. “Over the last 13 years we have just developed a friendship and just entered into this huge battle to get him home,” Moore told GMA. “Over time it was pretty clear what the Lord was doing in our hearts and now we’re sitting here today, starting a whole new chapter together.”
At just 16 years old, Irons was convicted of shooting 38-year-old Stanley Stotler during a home burglary. He was tried and convicted as an adult by an all-white jury, but maintained his innocence while he was in prison. He and Moore also remained friends, but began to develop romantic feelings for each other.
Irons says he first asked Moore to marry him while incarcerated but told her to wait until he was free to answer. “I wanted to marry her but at the same time protect her because being in a relationship with a man in prison, it’s extremely difficult and painful,” Irons said. “I didn’t want her to feel trapped and I wanted her to feel open and have the ability any time if this is too much for you, go and find somebody. Live your life. Because this is hard.”
On June 30th, Irons was released from prison after a judge in Missouri vacated Irons’ 1998 conviction. His family, supporters, and Moore waited outside the Jefferson City Correction Facility to welcome him home. One month later, they said I do in front of their closest family and friends.
What an inspiring love story! Watch Maya Moore and Jonathan Irons’s appearance on Good Morning America below.
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