I hired bodyguard after escaping abusive partner – then fell in love with him

A woman who fled an abusive relationship and hired a bodyguard began to find herself falling in love with him – and now they're happily married with children.

Elise Stevens, 35, was left petrified for her and her 13-year-old daughter's safety after she escaped her ex-partner in November 2008.

Her friend's suggested she should get a bodyguard and she ended up hiring the security services of 35-year-old high school friend Derek Stevens.

But the couple spent so much time together that Elise began to fall in love with him – much like the hit Whitney Houston film "The Bodyguard".

As Derek was becoming a stable part of Elise and her daughter Gracie's life, the loved-up mum decided to give him an ultimatum – be in a relationship or stop the protection agreement.

At first Derek decided to break it off but called back just two weeks later to confess his love for Elise.

In March 2009, the pair were married, and have since gone on to have two children – Rhilynn, 11, and Trask, eight.

Elise, an autistic specialist, from Union, Oregon, US, said: "After being in abusive relationship it's drilled into you that you will never love again.

"I never expected to have that again.

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"I was too proud to have someone help me, but I knew it was the right thing to do – so I hired Derek as a bodyguard.

"But I fell in love with him as soon as I saw him.

"He made me feel so safe, comfortable and protected.

"People ask me if I would change the violence, I went through but I wouldn't because it gave me Derek and my family."

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Derek, a construction company owner, said: "It was love at first sight.

"I'd loved her as soon as I saw her, but we were young, and I knew if I said yes to her, I wouldn't be able to date anyone else.

"I knew she'd be my forever."

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