No One Knew I Was Married for 13 Years

Until one little mistake revealed the truth

Kristi Keller
Human Parts
Published in
3 min readJul 27, 2019


Photo: Katrin Ray Shumakov/Getty Images

My entire marriage was a lie.

I don’t mean that my ex-husband was a jerk or a cheater. I mean that literally no one knew I was married except for the three people who attended my tiny little ceremony in the snow on New Year’s Eve of 2005.

Not even my mother knew about my marriage. Why? Because she put so much effort and work into planning my actual wedding, and I didn’t want to take that away from her.

Confused yet?

I’m Canadian and I met my American husband many moons ago. We carried on a long-distance relationship for nearly two years before our secret nuptials in the woods.

Everyone knew we were engaged to be married on June 26, 2006. Both families and all our friends looked forward to that day.

We would be marrying here in Canada, so naturally, my mother took the reins with wedding planning. She was over the moon about designing and hand-making all my invitations and decorations. She and I searched for venues together; my sister purchased my wedding dress for me. It was going to be a grand affair, as so many weddings are.

Here’s where the secret wedding in the woods comes in.

Because my fiancé was American and would be immigrating to Canada, we thought it would be a brilliant idea to pull a shotgun wedding just so we could get a head start on the visa and immigration process. All we needed was a marriage certificate to get started.

This secret was going to the grave with both of us.

So, on that fateful New Year’s Eve, he and I, along with a justice of the peace and two of my best friends, found a cold, snowy spot in a city park and tied the knot.

This secret was going to the grave with both of us. Our plan was still to attend our real wedding, six months down the road, and put on a show for family and friends. Only we would know the truth.

Our real wedding never happened because our relationship didn’t last another six months after the secret wedding. This was as close as I’ll ever get to behaving like a celebrity — the shortest-lived marriage…



Kristi Keller
Human Parts

Write like no one is reading, because it might be true. Never let the truth stand in the way of a good story.