Every now and again, we come across a love story that touches our hearts in more ways than most. Former WNBA player Maya Moore and her husband Jonathan Irons have that kind of story.
Moore, who put her career on hold to help overturn Irons’s wrongful conviction, told Good Morning America that they got married over the summer. Together, the newlyweds told the story of how they fell in love while Irons was incarcerated, and how excited they are about the prison-reform work they’re planning to do together.
“We wanted to announce today that we are super excited to continue the work that we’ve been doing together—but doing it as a married couple,” Moore said on the show. “We’re excited to share this new chapter of life together.”
Moore first met Irons when she was 18 years old, through a prison-ministry program. “Over the last 13 years, we have developed a friendship and just entered into this huge battle to get him home,” Moore told GMA. “Over time, it was pretty clear what the Lord was doing in our hearts, and now we’re sitting here today, starting a whole new chapter together.”
At just 16 years old, Irons was convicted of shooting 38-year-old Stanley Stotler during a home burglary. He was tried and convicted as an adult by an all-white jury, but he maintained his innocence while he was in prison. He and Moore remained friends but began to develop romantic feelings for each other.
Irons says he first asked Moore to marry him while he was incarcerated but told her to wait to answer until he was free. “I wanted to marry her but at the same time protect her—because being in a relationship with a man in prison, it’s extremely difficult and painful,” Irons said. “I didn’t want her to feel trapped, and I wanted her to feel open and have the ability—’Any time, if this is too much for you, go and find somebody. Live your life. Because this is hard.'”
On June 30th, Irons was released from prison after a judge in Missouri vacated his 1998 conviction. His family, his supporters and Moore waited outside the Jefferson City Correction Facility to welcome him home. One month later, the couple said I do in front of their closest family and friends.
What an inspiring love story! Watch Maya Moore and Jonathan Irons’s appearance on Good Morning America below.