Two young women who have been best friends since they were teens found out just recently that they are, in fact, sisters like they often joked to be.
Ashley Thomas and Latoya Wimberly became inseparable after meeting at a birthday party in Philadelphia in 2004 as young teens, CNN reports.
Now, 17 years into their relationship, they’re “stuck together like glue,” as Thomas puts it.
But in February, the relationship changed—on a biological level if nothing else—when the duo found out they were biological sisters.
“It was a puzzle, and it’s like all the pieces came together so fast,” Thomas said.
Things started clicking into place when Wimberly, who is now 29, was celebrating her engagement.
Thomas, 31, shared some of those photos on Facebook, which included Wimberly’s father, Kenneth.
It was while going through the photos that a friend of Thomas’s mom recognized Kenneth Wimberly.
“Ashley’s mom’s best friend told her she had no idea my dad was Kenny,” Wimberly said. “She said she and Ashley’s mom 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 mom’s best friend and showed it to my dad and asked him if he recognized her.”
As connections were made, Kenneth acknowledged that he and Thomas’s mother once had a brief romantic relationship. He never knew until that moment, that Thomas did not know who her biological father was.
Thomas was 15 when she found out that the man who raised her was not her biological father. Her mother passed away 11 years ago and never revealed who her father might be. Although the women were close, their families never met and so the possibility never came up prior.
Kenneth Wimberly and the two best friends decided to split the cost of a DNA test and the rest was history.
“It was a Friday, and I was at work when I got the call,” Thomas said. “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.”
Amazingly, through it all, Kenneth Wimberly still had a father type of role in Thomas’s life, as Thomas was always around the Wimberly family.
“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,’ ” Latoya Wimberly said. “If she has a car problem or any kind of issue, she always goes to my dad. But somehow our families never met.”
“Big Kenny was like my dad,” Thomas agreed. “He was there for me the whole time and I had no idea.”
“I have so many questions for my mom and I will never have any of those answers,” she added. “Did she know he was my father?”
Now the family is adjusting to their confirmed, biological status, but for now they’re focused on the journey—including Kenneth Wimberly spending more time with Thomas’s two children, who are now his grandchildren.
“I’ve always seen the little ones around, and this entire time they were my grandchildren and I didn’t even know,” he said.