A husband and wife were left stunned after they discovered that they were never actually legally married six years after their wedding.
Stand-up comedian Atsuko Okatsuka, 34, from Los Angeles, California, tied the knot with her husband, Ryan Harper Gray, back in June 2017.
The couple exchanged vows in front of 180 of their closest friends and family members – but more than half a decade later, they were told the paperwork for their marriage was never filed.
Speaking about the predicament to Insider recently, Atsuko explained that they made the shocking discovery after they tried to get Ryan added to her health insurance.
‘We were asked for proof that we were married, specifically, our marriage certificate,’ she explained.
‘We thought we’d had one at some point, but we’re not very good at paperwork, and when we went to look for it, we couldn’t find one anywhere in the house.
‘So we sent off a request to the City of Los Angeles for a copy of our marriage certificate, then set off for a holiday in Tokyo, and Taipei, Taiwan, thinking the marriage certificate would be in our mailbox when we returned. It wasn’t.
‘My husband called the city, and when he finally got through, it told him that we weren’t legally married.
‘There was no record of us being married. Though we had a wedding in 2017 with 180 of our closest friends and family, the paperwork had never been filed.’
Atsuko said that after spending some time ‘laughing’ about the situation, they headed to the courthouse to get married for a second time.
‘It was starting to sink in that we hadn’t been married this whole time,’ she continued.
‘For the past six years, we’d basically just been dating, like boyfriend and girlfriend. That’s when we started laughing. After all, I’m a comedian. You couldn’t write this stuff.’
Atsuko and Ryan, who is an actor best known for his roles in This Is a Love Story, Go Back to China, No Way to Live, and The Frontier, met on a film set nine years ago.
When the pair married two years later, their mutual friend Clayton officiated the wedding. But they now believe he was the one who accidentally caused the mishap, since it was ‘his job to file the paperwork.’
Thankfully, they’re now legally husband and wife – and after paying a fee of $200 and bringing two witnesses to prove the wedding actually happened, they were even able to have the certificate backdated to 2017.
‘They didn’t ask for pictures or anything – we could’ve got two witnesses off the street,’ Atsuko joked.
‘The whole thing seems so silly to me: The straights got married again. It was just like, “Give us $200. Here’s your wedding certificate, dumb-dumbs.”‘
She concluded: ‘I can’t believe we withheld marriage from gay people this long when we’re so careless with it. I had to remarry the same person without us ever splitting up.’