Seniors Ryan Swanson and Ellen Goucher knew each other throughout their awkward high school days in Hernando. They didn’t start dating until Ellen moved away for school at the University of Arkansas. Ole Miss would eventually bring them back together, and it all started with a phone call.
The DM interviewed 14 Ole Miss couples about their love stories. They shared their special moments with us, telling us about how they met, falling in love and all of the other quirky things in between.
Here are some stories we heard. Some are bold, some are sweet and some are hopeful possibilities.
Share the stories using #RebelLoveStories
“We don’t know the moment we met at all. We have just always kind of known each other.”
ELLEN: We went to high school together, but we didn’t date in high school, which is weird to some people, but I don’t know. We were friends
RYAN: We don’t know the moment we met all. We have just always kind of known each other
ELLEN: I honestly couldn’t tell you what year of high school. It was either freshman or sophomore year
RYAN: Something like that. Back in my awkward days
ELLEN: So when I started school at Arkansas, that’s when we kind of started talking
RYAN: About a month after she moved eight hours away
RYAN: And I remember I got a call from her
ELLEN: Stop. I knew he was going to do this
RYAN: I’ve got to tell it. I got a call from her. I answered it and was like, ‘Hey.’ I was just talking. I thought she was just wanting to check in and talk all cute to me or whatever girls do. I don’t know. She gets on the phone and she very stern. I’m like, ‘OK, did I do something wrong?’ She was like, ‘I just wanted to clear things up.’ I was like, ‘Oh … Well, what did I do?’ She was like, ‘What are we?’ My stupid freshman mind is like, ‘Uhhhh … maybe … maybe … I like you, but like … do I want …,’ and she was like, ‘Look, I’m not going to be a zip code bitch.’ And I was like, ‘You want to be my girlfriend?’
“I had no choice but to say ‘yeah’ because he was right in front of my face and he wasn’t going away.”
Cellas and Mo became best friends her freshman year. A couple months later, they realized they wanted more. Now, they’re inseparable.
Cellas: Nobody expected us to last. I saw her in the Luckyday cafeteria with her friend. And her friend was talking to one of my friends. That was the first time I actually noticed her. And she didn’t have on makeup, but now she wears makeup. And I don’t like makeup, so that was weird. But I just saw her, and I was talking in third person while she was right there
Mo: That’s exactly how you talked to me the whole time (laughs)
Cellas: I was like ‘I hope somebody not like they friend’ and all that type of stuff.. And then I asked my friends about her and people from her hometown how was she in high school and what all did she do
Mo: And then the next day, he saw me in the Union. He came up to me and asked me who was I texting, in my phone (laughs) and then I told him I was texting my best friend and he was like, ‘Well, can I text you?’ And I had no choice but to say ‘yeah’ because he was right in front of my face and he wasn’t going away
“Yeah, well, the moral of the story is don't drink when you've got a hot girl with you.”
Josh and Paige may have met at the church, but it was a fraternity party that really brought them together.
Paige: Well, it’s kind of a long story (how we met)
J: The first time, though was at RUF, actually Meliah
P: Meliah, our friend, kind of introduced us
J: And I played it real cool, and there was pizza, and I said, “All right, well, I’m going to go get some pizza” after we were done talking.
P: He kind of left me hanging
J: But I could tell in the beginning she was interested
P: And then fast forward a week later, they had Pi Kapp date party. And I didn’t even know he was a Pi Kapp. I didn’t know anything really that much about him. And I was going to Pi Kapp date party with someone else.
J: And so we were outside The Cellar. That’s where it was, right?
J: And so she came up, and I remembered her name, so I was like, “Oh, it’s Paige, right?” and she got really excited. She was like, “(Gasp) yeah!” because she knew I remembered her name
P: And then we got back to the fraternity house. That’s where they dropped us back off. And my date, he’d been drinking, so he couldn’t drive me home or anything, and Josh walked past the room where we were standing and stuck his head in and saw me and came up to me and started talking, and I was just smiling. And you were like “Oh, I can give you a ride home.”
J: Yeah, I was like, “Yeah I can give you a ride back.”
P: So he kind of stole me away from my date. Because I think he was a little …
J: Yeah, well, the moral of the story is don’t drink when you’ve got a hot girl with you
"And then she leaned in and kissed me, and that was like fireworks instantly at that point. It was over."
Nicole Covington and her boyfriend, Drew Mueller, met in high school when he moved to her hometown. They always had a connection, but the timing was never right. Eventually, it all fell together, and they’ve been dating for almost a year.
Drew: I just asked her, like, “Hey, do you want to go to this concert?” Just strictly as friends. And she’s like, “Yeah, let’s go!” So we go to this house, and they start playing their songs, and they get to this other song, “Keep Me in Mind”
(Zac Brown – Keep Me in Mind)
Drew: When that happened, I actually filmed it in Snapchat
Nicole: And sent it to me
Drew: And she screenshotted it. So we drive back, we get out of the car and I was like, “All right, I’ll see you later! Peace out!” She looks at me, and she goes, like, “Drew, we need to talk.” I was like “Oh God, what have I done?” And it started raining, so we had to get underneath the patio of the house, you know? And it was lit beautifully, and we were standing there, and she’s like, “I need to tell you something. I broke up with my boyfriend.”
Well, I was like “No big deal, you’ll be back with him tomorrow.” It was like, “I’m not going through this again.”
She touched me on the shoulder, “This time it’s for good. I just want let you know that.” And we kind of talked, and then she said, “Drew I’ve been thinking about you.”
And I looked at her, and I said, “Nicole, was this your plan all along?”
And she was like, “No, I was going to plan what your mom did.”
The backstory behind that, my mom was dating a guy for three years, and my dad went to flight school exactly where I went, and then one day, she thought he was cute and showed up at his house, broke up with her boyfriend, he opened the door and she just kissed him.
And ever since then, it was their love story. So I knew exactly what she was saying and she remembered that story I guess from months ago when I told her.
So I looked at her and said, “Well, why don’t you?”
And then she leaned in and kissed me, and that was like fireworks instantly at that point. It was over.
“My friend told me that we were going to go watch a movie, and I believed her, but she had secret plans.”
Living an hour apart in high school, Travis and Karla have always done long distance. When college came and Travis moved to Mississippi, they realized the gap between Oxford and Orlando was a little different. Karla transferred, and for the first time, they’re in the same place, and it’s better than ever.
Karla: We met about four-and-a-half years ago in Orlando. My friend told me that we were going to go watch a movie, and I believed her, but she had secret plans to go to this teen dance club
Travis: My friend Hayden was there, too, and we were both hitting on her
Karla: I said no to dance but then once we went, I picked HIM out as my partner, and we played pool and we ran the table. And he mentioned a Spongebob quote. It was the episode where there was a bear and they’re making an anti-seabear circle
Travis: Then once we started hitting it off in a little more of a one-on-one setting, a smaller group …
Karla: Yeah, we work well together
Travis: … We got a little more down to earth
“He just tried to melt down as small as possible into his plate of chicken Alfredo and just become one with the sauce.”
Graduate Andrew Holley and current student Riley Mitchell have been dating for more than four years. Meeting each other’s parents for the first time was an adventure that neither of them could have prepared for.
ANDREW: So we met them at Olive Garden, my parents, my brother and my sister-in-law
RILEY: They didn’t say anything. I don’t think … or I think your mom might have said …
ANDREW: Well, you didn’t read their faces like I did, so (laughing)
RILEY: Well, I was trying to avoid their faces
ANDREW: It was, um, you know, eyes wide. You know, kind of just like what the __
RILEY: I was in just like blue jeans, or no, like khaki skinny jeans with my brown riding boots and then my blue and white checked button up shirt. I was not prepared at all! (laughter)
ANDREW: So we made it through the awkward introductions. Riley was a quiet church mouse. He just tried to melt down as small as possible into his plate of chicken Alfredo and just become one with the sauce
It was definitely a shocker to them
RILEY: Yeah, and I made it a point now not to wear my riding boots when I go around them
ANDREW: Well, I kind of forbid him to wear those things anyway. It was definitely a very memorable dinner date that we had
RILEY: Oh, I’ll never forget! (laughter)
“It was the most polite Instagram DM a girl could ask for."
Seniors Anne Marie Hanna and Drew Fowler met in passing at High Point Coffee. Realizing he didn’t want their relationship to end there, Fowler took to social media to keep the conversation going.
DREW: I was passing through High Point, and I didn’t even know what she looked like or who she was. She took her headphones out and stopped me and said, “Hey, I don’t know if you know me, but I’m Anne Marie Hanna, Barrett Climer’s cousin. Our grandparents have been friends for (you know, however many years),” and we talked for just a second, very brief. So I didn’t have her number, and the only way I knew how to contact her was to message her through Instagram. So I found her through Instagram and messaged her.
ANNE MARIE: So when I got that message, I had texted two of my best friends, and I’m like, “You’re never going to believe who DM’d me.” Because it was not that I got DM’d, necessarily — it was because I got DM’d by Drew Fowler.
DREW: And then she responded, like, eight hours later.
ANNE MARIE: Of course!
DREW: And then I asked her if we could get coffee and just, you know, just to get to know each other, and that Thursday we got coffee.
ANNE MARIE: It was the most polite Instagram DM a girl could ask for.
“He was like, 'Hey, I’m Joe,' in his little British accent, and I was like, 'Ooo, we should hang out.'"
Mississippian Tori Browning and Brit Joe Rogers met on a study abroad trip in Spain. A year later, the couple has survived long distance across the pond.
We met studying abroad in Spain, and that sounds really random because he’s from England, but he actually played on the tennis team here. It was actually on the Ole Miss program in Spain, and I guess, technically, met in a bar. But our whole class decided to go out that night and get to know each other, you know, but he actually had gone to the wrong bar that night that was like 20 minutes out, so he was like an hour and a half late.
Robert Mounger walked up and was like, “Joe finally made it,” and I was like, “The tall one?” And he was like, “Yes, the British one,” and I was like, “What?” and he was like, “Yeah, the one with the English accent.” And I was like, “The tall one?” and he was like, “Yes.” So I made my way over there and was like, “Hey, I’m Tori,” but he was like, “Hey, I’m Joe,” in his little British accent, and I was like, “Ooo, we should hang out.”
“We made fun of each other's hats, so we traded and almost ended up getting in trouble about it."
Sophomore Shelby Jones and junior Quade Clark met in high school when their school bands competed against each other. They switched hats and exchanged phone numbers, and the rest was history. Now, they’re both in the band here at Ole Miss.
QUADE: We ended up meeting through band because we both did band in high school and our high schools were rival bands that competed at the state competition
SHELBY: I still hate him to this day
QUADE: She does
SHELBY: Because they beat us every year
QUADE: But we met there because my school had to wear these stupid plastic cowboy hats for marching hats and one year they did a …
SHELBY: It was called highway riders, and we wore reflective vests and, like, neon yellow hats
QUADE: And we made fun of each other’s hats, so we traded and almost ended up getting in trouble about it
SHELBY: Yeah, we went on the field for a retreat with the wrong hats on almost
QUADE: And then at the judging announcements, we ended up being right next to each other in line again, and we just started talking to each other, and I got her number and it was, like, four months before I texted her after I got her number
SHELBY: I was like, “This guy’s never going to talk to me again”
QUADE: We started texting, like, every day, just talking about all sorts of stuff. Yeah, and then we both ended up coming here and got in the same dorm last year. I wasn’t in band last year, but I joined this year for scholarships. It’s interesting
SHELBY: It’s time-consuming
QUADE: Very time-consuming. It’s all consuming
SHELBY: I’m a music major. I don’t have fun
QUADE: I go and listen to her performances and bring the book I have to read for my history major with me
“The first person I ever met in Francie’s family was her mom, and I was carrying her drunk daughter to her.”
Students Francie and Barrett met two years ago on Bid Day. Now, they’ve been dating more than a year, or, according to Barrett, 400 days, because “that’s how long my Snapchat streak is.”
BARRETT: I’d never met her mom before, ever in my life, and I was at an LSU football game because that’s where we’re both from, and somehow Francie got blackout drunk, and we had to carry her from the top of a 101,000-people stadium to the very bottom. And I had to bring her to her mom, who had no clue where she was, had never met me before. The first person I ever met in Francie’s family was her mom, and I was carrying her drunk daughter to her
FRANCIE: And I’m just sitting there with my head in between my knees, and I had just broken my foot and I’m in a boot. And I’m just sitting there, and I’m just like, “Mmmm.”
“I said in my sleep that I loved her, and I didn’t remember it.”
Shelby Matthews and Nico Blanco met in class their freshman year. Flash forward three years, and they’re both in love — although the time they said those three little words was more awkward than anything.
SHELBY: I think before we got out from school that summer, I really, really liked him, but I didn’t want to come out and be like, “I love you,” you know? But I think after visiting him and his family in Maryland that summer, that was my one confirmation moment that I knew
NICO: Well, Shelby was leaving at early morning hours and decided to wake me up to say she was leaving. And I said in my sleep that I loved her, and I didn’t remember it, nor did I recall saying it. And a few days later, she brought it up and asked me if I remembered, and that’s when we first mentioned those words
SHELBY: But then it’s funny because I waited a few days to bring it up because I didn’t think that he remembered, and the time that I did bring it up, he didn’t. And it was just an awkward few days that followed after that, because we had talked about it, but we hadn’t said it. And then I think it was a week later whenever we officially confirmed it awake and we both remembered it
“The whole time we were there, we just wrote letters back and forth to each other, and I feel like we expressed more than we ever would have.”
Katie waited for letters she thought were never coming. But she couldn’t have known about the backup in the mailroom that summer or the love story she and Thomas would soon write.
Whenever we first started, like, our sophomore year and we lived, like, two doors down from each other, so we started hanging out more, and then it was the end of the year and we had exams and then I was working in Colorado the end of May and was working through the end of June in Colorado at a Young Life camp. And I didn’t have my phone or anything, so I got out there, and, you know, like, we had just become official right before I left, and I was really worried because I didn’t have any communication. And he was like, “Yeah, I’m going to write you letters.” Well, where I was, it had to go through the regular mail services and then our people had to go and pick it up, and it took, like … It was a week delayed, and I was so worried because it was like a week and a half and I didn’t get any letters and then all of a sudden I got like seven letters and read all of them, and the whole time we were there, we just wrote letters back and forth to each other, and I feel like we expressed more than we ever would have. Like, I think it just took our relationship to a much deeper level right from the beginning doing that than being apart and just texting. I guess that’s part of my favorite part of our relationship
"Loden Snell has changed his relationship status with you. Do you accept or decline?"
Seniors Milena Sebüktekin and Loden Snell have been dating for almost six years. Now, it’s pretty obvious what their status is, but defining the relationship in the beginning proved to be pretty tricky.
LODEN: We never dated anyone seriously, so I thought that you didn’t talk about it. Like, if we went on multiple dates exclusively, I just thought we were dating
MILENA: Yeah, because I thought you talked about it. So people would come and ask me, “Are you and Loden talking? Are you and Loden a thing?” and I would send them to Loden and say, “I don’t know. Ask Loden,” and some of them would be like, “No, we already asked him. He said to talk to you” and I was like, “I don’t know”
LODEN: And then someone came up to you and said that I had posted on Facebook that I was in a relationship
MILENA: Yes. Yes. My friend Olivia, she …
LODEN: She was like, “I’m sorry …”
MILENA: She texted me and said, “Hey, I don’t know how to tell you this, but Loden changed his relationship status on Facebook.” I was like, “OK, I guess he’s just another one of those guys,” and she was like, “I’m sorry. I know you really liked him. I don’t know who it’s with. I don’t see any photos or anything, but I just wanted to let you know so that you don’t waste your time,” and I was like “OK, well, thanks for letting me know.” I was so angry. It was during finals week. I just brushed it off, and then I just checked my Facebook. When you log in — because back then, it was set up a lot differently — and it was one of the first requests, and it said, “Loden Snell has changed his relationship status with you. Do you accept or decline?”
"So we just sit on my toolbox on my truck away from everybody and just talked for an hour straight, and that’s when we hit it off.”
Seniors Emily Schrimsher and Nick Shelton met through a mutual friend and first hit it off at a party. They’ve been dating for two years and still go on at least one date a week. They’re both convinced they would have never met if they had not attended Ole Miss.
NICK: We first met on a camping trip
EMILY: No, no, no, no. We first met at a field party, I guess. That’s where we first met, and we literally didn’t know anyone there, so we just sat on the back of his truck
NICK: That’s right
EMILY: And started talking
NICK: That’s actually where we first hit it off. We were at this redneck party in Strayhorn, Mississippi
EMILY: I’m trying to be really nice about this
NICK: I mean, as redneck as it gets, and we were like, “OK, we really don’t want to be here at this party.” I mean, we literally watched a girl fight
EMILY: OK, be nice
NICK: So we had to run away from that. So we just sit on my toolbox on my truck away from everybody and just talked for an hour straight, and that’s when we hit it off. The next morning, I woke up, and I was, like, “Dang, this girl is really cool.” So that’s where things started to pick up from there, and that was the moment of clarity, I guess you could say
This story was produced by Journalism Innovation students in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media.
Recorded, edited and photographed by Lana Ferguson, Joy Addison, Alice McKelvey, Margaret Wood, Alexandra Morris, Eddie Murphy, Grayson Weir, Kinsey McLaughlin, Lizzie McIntosh, Maggie Martin, Claire Harper, Kailen Locke, Emily Hector, Alexis Neely and Rachel Lambert.