- Nicole Kerkeni met Mokhtar Kerkeni on Instagram during lockdown; months later, they married.
- Nicole, who is from Canada, said she met Mokhtar, who is from Tunisia while doing research for a trip to Europe.
- After texting and video calling daily, the couple finally met in January 2021 and tied the knot in July that year.
- Nicole has received backlash from people who claim Mokhtar is only using her for a green card.
This couple didn’t let thousands of miles get in the way of their romance, flying over 7000km to be with each other.
Nicole Kerkeni, 27, from Ontario, Canada and her now husband Mokhtar Kerkeni, 25, from Tunisia, met through Instagram during the Covid lockdown.
Their relationship took off straight away, FaceTiming every day for hours before finally meeting in January 2021 and marrying in July the same year.
However, the makeup artist and business owner had faced plenty of negativity, with people telling her she was being used for a green card since he proposed after such a short period of dating.
Yet Nicole is determined to show the world their real-life fairytale romance is for keeps.
“I was looking on Instagram at places in Europe to visit and came across a photo of Mokhtar in Tunisia – I thought he was very good-looking, so I followed him, and he followed me back, and from there we started chatting,” Nicole explained.
“At the beginning, I thought it could have been a fake account, so we started video calling and realized we both wanted to settle down, always joking about seeing each other.”
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The couple started texting and video calling each other on a regular basis.
“He would never let me go to sleep without FaceTiming him – the calls would be from an hour up to a couple of hours a day,” Nicole said.
After three months of long-distance communication, Nicole flew to Tunisia to meet with Mokhtar but ended up staying for nearly three months because of the pandemic.
“We were both shocked how well it went, there were no fights, and it was so easy like we were two best friends catching up. I definitely found my soul mate.
“He proposed to me towards the end of my first trip out there, after three months of being with him.”
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Mokhtar and Nicole talking to each other.
Nicole describes the proposal as “private and low key” but added that it was “so special”. The pair signed marriage papers on her last day in Tunisia in July 2021.
“Covid restrictions were so high, so we just signed the papers, and we’re going to have a proper wedding ceremony next year in Tunisia.
“When I told my parents, they were so happy for us, and they couldn’t wait to meet him.”
She continued: “I live in a small town in the countryside, so the men around me are more ‘hillbilly’ style with mullets and plaid shirts with crocs and jean shorts. They’re the polar opposite of what I wanted in a partner. My parents said my standards were too high until I showed them my available options.”
Nicole lost a number of friends because of her new relationship, being compared to the show 90 Day Fiancé, but the pair haven’t let it affect them.
She revealed: “I lost a few friends. They told me I was crazy, but they just didn’t understand. I was being compared with 90 Day Fiancé, and they were telling me he just wants a green card.
“It’s been quite difficult hearing this, but our families have been nothing but supportive, and that’s all that matters.”
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Nicole and Mokhtar.
The 27-year-old compared her experience to meeting someone on the dating app Tinder. “But if anything, it’s better because I’ve spent the last three months chatting to him and getting to know him on a deeper emotional level before we’d even met,” she added.
“I’m that person who just wings it in life. I don’t follow social norms; if I see a chance, I’ll just take it.”
Online trolls and negative remarks became the norm for Nicole, but she now ignores the comments and shares her journey on social media. Including all the crazy things she and Mokhtar have done.
“I know who he is as a person; I know he isn’t using me. He didn’t even know where I was from when we first started chatting, so it’s not like he was looking for someone to use.
“His family have successful businesses, and he has a better education than I do! He could use his education to get a job anywhere or a working visa. I don’t think Canada was on his top places to go anyway as it’s so far away.”
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Nicole and Mokhtar.
Mokhtar has advised Nicole to ignore the comments, but she admitted that the mean words get “out of hand” sometimes.
“I’ve literally heard everything under the sun. People tell me I’m ugly and fat – the bullying is next level. People constantly tell him he can do better and to get a green card and leave me.
“There’s been over 2000 comments with people saying he’s using me. People also think he’s gay and say, ‘Who’s going to tell her her husband is gay and he wants to be in a country where he can be gay’.”
The online bullying is the most challenging part of their relationship, but the couple does not let the negativity get in the way of their happiness.
“We’re happier than ever. It’s like the world gave him to me, and he just came into my life.”
Source: @nicolekerkeni/CATERS NEWS AGENCY/MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA