Love in Lockdown: 12 Couples Share How COVID-19 Made Their Relationships Even Stronger

One year after coronavirus became a global pandemic, meet couples who celebrated major milestones and love in lockdown.

By Mike Vulpo Mar 11, 2021 11:00 AMTags
Watch: Wedding Bells Are Ringing & This Couple Is Live Streaming

Staying home may just be the ultimate test for couples.

When COVID-19 first hit the United States, Americans found themselves working from home, avoiding social gatherings and spending a lot more quality time with their significant other. Although some relationships quickly dissolved, others blossomed into stronger bonds worth celebrating.

Despite weddings being postponed and proms getting cancelled, couples proved that while life around them could be changing, their love didn't have to. Elaborate weddings turned into intimate zoom-friendly ceremonies at courthouses. And when it came to date nights, cooking meals at home turned out to be just as special as a fancy dinner at a five-star restaurant.

Through it all, many couples across the country proved that love conquers all. And yes, there's so much to look forward to in the months to come.

Exactly one year after the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a global pandemic, E! News is shining a light on a few relationships that flourished during unpredictable times.

Couples Married During COVID-19

From special engagements to heartfelt pregnancy celebrations, there was plenty of love to go around. And for many of these couples, the stories are just beginning.

Jayme Wagner & Abby Johnson

+ Atlanta, Ga.

We're Engaged! 

"Quarantine made us feel like little kids again. We played board games, had water balloon fights and became quite good at keeping plants alive," the couple shared with E! News. "It really gave us the opportunity to value our time together, rather than take it for granted." As for their Kacey Musgravesthemed proposal, it's enough to give anyone "butterflies."

Kyle Epps & Breanna Epps

+ Boise, Idaho

We're Married!

While Kyle and Breanna initially had plans for a big wedding, the couple decided to pivot and say "I do" in front of a few select family members. "Even though it wasn't as we ever planned or imagined, our mini wedding was incredibly special because it allowed 14 of our closest family members to really bond and become one big family," the couple shared after working with Every Detail Events. "Total, we have nine siblings living across several different states and countries. So the opportunity to spend five days together under one roof was not only unprecedented, but also so meaningful and fun."

Jenna Loomer & Patrick VanHall

+ Manhattan Beach, Calif. 

We're Engaged!

"Pat and I decided to move in with each other to Manhattan Beach the month before the pandemic hit. We realized quickly that we were about to get to get to know each other on an accelerated rate, especially given that California was in complete lockdown for months. We really just had each other, and thankfully, it was easy to see from the beginning that we had something really special—even when the circumstances were anything but normal. Pat later proposed in October where he said he didn't need anymore time to know that we were going to be married and he asked me right where it all got started—in our Manhattan Beach backyard."

Aja Johnson & Pierre Johnson

+ Bexar County, Texas

We're Expecting! 

Being pregnant during a pandemic is easier said than done! But when you have a supportive partner, life is so much better. "My husband is by far the most supportive person in my life. Caring for a pregnant wife and small children isn't the easiest but he does it so graciously and selflessly," Aja shared on Instagram. "Marriage is beautiful and takes a lot of work, especially when you've added children to the mix. It requires sacrifice, love, support, understanding and forgiveness. Our love isn't perfect but we sure have a lot of fun on this journey together. Every ounce of effort we put into it makes it that much stronger!"

Bri Casanova & Chris Begin

+ Orange County, Calif.

We're Dating!

At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the last thing Bri and Chris predicted was they were going to find love. But with the help of a mutual friend, a love story was born. "Everyday with Bri makes life more calm and simple. In a year of such craziness, she was my constant," Chris shared with E! News. Bri added, "He made the effort to be creative! Going on dates looks a lot different nowadays and Chris is really good at coming up with fun, but COVID safe date ideas. Even if it's as simple as bringing a deck of cards to the park with our favorite take out meal!"

Jack Teah & Sammi Hintze

+ Chicago, Ill.

We're Getting 2021

Like so many couples, Jack and Sammi had to postpone their 2020 wedding because of the pandemic. But through all the twists and turns, the couple always looked at the positive. "2020 we thought was going to be the best year of our lives, counting down the days till our wedding and having the summer of a lifetime with all wedding festivities," the pair shared. "We ended up deciding at the end of May to postpone our July wedding. Although we were sad, very emotional and devastated, we have learned that 2020 was a year of growth and strength. We grew individually, we grew together as a united front and we grew with our families. 2020 was a year for the books, but we have learned we have so much and also have a lot to be grateful for and it has made us incredibly stronger." 

Ashlei Lien & Joshua Dabdee

+ Los Angeles, Calif.

We're Expecting!

As so many expectant moms can relate to, being pregnant during a pandemic brings many new experiences. For Ashlei and her husband Joshue, they were treated to an unforgettable baby shower. "Today was such a beautiful, magical, amazing day and our baby will be born into a world full of so much love," Ashlei wrote on Instagram. "THANK YOU SO MUCH for driving by and stopping by, all of the well wishes and messages! The last eight months feel smooth so thank you from the bottom of our hearts." In February 2021, the couple welcomed baby Arlo Grey.

Lucas Vaiano & Juliana Quattrociocchi

+ Toronto, Canada

We're Going to Prom...COVID Style! 

As many high school students know, COVID-19 cancelled proms, graduations and other big moments. But for one couple, they decided to get creative and have an intimate dance at home. "Of course it was disappointing to not be able to have a prom and experience something I had been looking forward to for years," Juliana shared with E! News. "Luckily, we were both so fortunate to have such amazing families that wanted to make our special day happen COVID style. We were able to have a prom that was truly memorable. We had a beautiful flower photo wall, a makeshift dance floor and ordered hall food to be as authentic as possible. It was truly romantic and special." 

Leah Murphy & Gerardo Butalid

+ Orange County, Calif. 

We're Engaged!

"It definitely wasn't part of our plan to fit a global pandemic into the early stages of our relationship, but we definitely learned a lot about each other and how to make the most of what we do have when any sense of normal seems missing. We started a little date routine of picking up takeout and going to the beach on Friday afternoons, which became a sweet little tradition of ours. So it was especially thrilling when that tradition we established became the backdrop of our engagement on Sept. 4! ‘Love in lockdown' wasn't always easy, but whether we like it or not, learning to date and relate during quarantine has laid the foundation for the next step in our relationship and we couldn't be more excited about that!"

Cheryl Collins & Jeff Collins

+ San Bernardino, Calif. 

We're Married!

"Jeff and I chose to prioritize the safety of our friends and family and made the decision to cancel our big June 2020 wedding plans. While the pandemic prevented us from having the big wedding, we didn't want COVID-19 to stop our marriage! Our live-streamed civil ceremony was nothing like we thought it would be, but we're so thankful to have been able to share the moment with guests virtually. And we're really happy to be married—quarantined for life as husband and wife!"

Leanne Gutierrez & Foster Rubin

+ Los Angeles, Calif. 

We're Engaged!

"The one gift this pandemic gave us was more time together. When the world stood still around us, it allowed us to take care and love each other even more. We're so grateful for all the memories we've made together during the last year. From rewatching Harry Potter to The Bachelor, we just tried to make life as fun and normal as it could be. For us, it solidified even more that all we really need is each other and that life is short. One bright day in 2020—even though the world seemed like it was falling down around us—we got engaged! And yes, we're now planning a 2022 wedding! We just feel so blessed to have had each other through this crazy journey. No matter what the circumstances, love always conquers all!" 

Shay Ryan & Nathan Reyes

+ Orange County, Calif.

We're Dating!

After a safe introduction via mutual friends during quarantine, Shay and Nathan became boyfriend and girlfriend. "Quarantine has never been so fun," the couple told E! News. "It helps us to get creative on how and where we get to spend our time with one another, like adventuring outside, having movie nights and cooking." 

Mark your calendars! NBC News' Lester Holt and Savannah Guthrie will anchor a special primetime hour titled COVID One Year Later: Life After Lockdown airing Thursday, March 11 at 10 p.m. on NBC.

(E! and NBC are part of the NBCUniversal family)

For the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic and for tips on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, please visit The Center for Disease Control and Prevention at To plan your vaccine, head to NBC's Plan Your Vaccine site at