After 17 years of sharing an “unbreakable bond”, two best friends have found out they are actually sisters.
Ashley Thomas, 31, and Latoya Wimberly, 29, met at a birthday party in 2004 and grew incredibly close – they even shared similar physical attributes including gap teeth and high cheek bones, CNN reported.
It wasn’t until recently they discovered the true reason behind their close connection, which had remained a mystery largely due to Ms Thomas’ mum dying 11 years ago.
When Ms Thomas shared some photos to Facebook from Ms Wimberly’s engagement in January, Ms Thomas’ mum’s best friend recognised Ms Wimberly’s dad Kenneth Wimberly and got in touch.
“She said she and Ashley's mum used to hang around him back when they were young. When Ashley told me, I knew something didn't click. So I asked her to send me a picture of her mum's best friend and showed it to my dad and asked him if he recognised her,” Ms Wimberly told CNN.
Her dad confirmed that he knew Ms Thomas’ mum and said they had shared a brief romantic relationship.
With Ms Thomas never knowing the identity of her biological dad, the three decided to end the speculation and split the cost of a DNA test.
On February 21 their suspicions were proven correct, and the test revealed the two best friends were indeed half sisters.
“When Kenny told me he was my dad, chills went through my body. I couldn't think. I couldn't process it. I couldn't even talk to them,” Ms Thomas told the publication.
Mr Wimberly largely took on a fatherly role in Ms Thomas’ life previous to the news, and often referred to the two friends as “my girls”.
“She was extremely close to my entire family on both sides. If my father is taking me out, Ashley's coming with me. If someone asks who are those girls, he says 'Those are my girls'. If she has a car problem or any kind of issue, she always goes to my dad. But somehow our families never met,” Ms Wimberly said.
Ms Thomas said she was still coming to terms with knowing her real father was right in front of her for most of her life without her knowing, but was looking forward to now having a closer relationship with him.
Ms Wimberly said it was emotional thinking about the tough times her sister had growing up, and that she could have had the support of her dad in the same way she had.
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