At times she said she felt more like his carer than his lover.
But Debbie Kirby has revealed that she is finally ready to wed Britain’s fattest man.
Barry Austin, who at his heaviest weighed 65 stone, first popped the question 13 years ago, but Debbie turned him down because she was worried that her children would be teased.
Despite his rejection Barry, 43, remained determined to woo his childhood sweetheart and set about shedding the pounds.
And this Valentine’s, 20 stone lighter, he proposed for the second time – and much to his relief Debbie said yes.
The mother-of-four, from Solihull has said that she is delighted at the prospect of getting married and her children Sarah, 26, Danielle, 22, Marcus, 20, and Demi Lee, 18 have already set about planning their outfits – although no date has been set.
‘I look beyond Barry’s size and I love him for the person he is. He’s a good man, has a heart of gold and makes me laugh,’ she told Closer magazine.
The couple first met at infant school, but were separated when they were sent to different secondary schools.
It was only years later when Debbie, aged 29, was single after splitting from her children’s father that she was once again reunited with Barry and they started dating.
By this point his bulging waistline had thrust him into the media spotlight. At the time he enjoyed a calorie-laden diet – paid for with his savings and benefits – indulging in 40 pints a night at the weekend and eating nine curries in one sitting.
Debbie admits that Barry’s weight caused problems with their relationship as he wasn’t romantic enough and she constantly urged him to diet.
But it was when doctors warned him of an early death that Barry decided to take action, drastically reducing his daily calorie intake from 29,000 to 1,500.
Now Barry is hoping to lose even more weight ahead of his wedding day so that he can wear a tuxedo.
‘He’s told me he want to consummate the marriage on our wedding night, so that’s another incentive for him to lose weight,’ adds Debbie.