Couple forbidden from dating parent married 40 years after

A couple that were forbidden from dating by the woman’s father have married almost 40 years after they first met.

When Bill Brookman asked Madeleine Coburn on a date in 1978, when he was 23 and she was 16, they were kept apart because her father thought he was “too arty.”

But after meeting again in 2008, the pair started dating and got engaged after Brookman proposed live on BBC Radio 4.

“The hand of fate is very strange but what I must say is sometimes it’s worth waiting 40 years,” he said.

The couple both grew up around Loughborough in Leicestershire and Brookman even went to school with Coburn’s older brother. But, it wasn’t until 1978, when he directed a play that she was taking part in, that they got to know each other better.

Bill Brookman, 1998

Madeleine Coburn (right) (

After asking her on a date to the local pub, Coburn was forbidden from going by her father and the pair remained strangers until 2008 when they coincidentally met once again while working on a school project.

Four years later, he plucked up the courage to ask her out again and took her to the pub he had originally intended to decades before.

When the couple appeared on BBC Radio 4’s The Listening Project, Brookman decided it was time they finally made things official and he proposed live on air.

Although Coburn didn’t give an answer straight away, the bride-to-be said yes as they posed for a photo afterwards.

“The fact we didn’t go out together when we were younger meant that we’ve both lived very rich lives,” said Madeleine.

“Then we found each other again, and it was a special thing that happened to us, so I think we’re very lucky.”



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