By Nathalie Bonney @nathaliebonney

With over a foot and a half difference in height, couple Ivoon and Jonathan are used to unwanted attention when they go out in public – but they don’t let that stop them going out

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Videographer / director: Marcus Cooper

Producer:  Chloe Sweet, Nathalie Bonney, Ruby Coote

Editor: Sonia Estal

At 5 ft 4, Jonathan is below the average male height – but he is still over a foot taller than partner Ivoon, who at just 3 ft 10, is classed as a little person. 

The couple, who have been together nearly six years and have a two-year-old daughter have even been mistaken for father and daughter.

Jonathan told Barcroft TV: “Sometimes when we're out in public, people would think I have two kids.”

Ivoon adds: “Anytime we go out, there's always reactions.”

The couple, from Midlothian Illinois, have even developed a code word for when they spy strangers - or ‘fans’ - taking photos of them together.

Jonathan said: “It's pretty crazy when you get the guys [have] got the phone right here and they trying to like hide it. We use keywords like: ‘Okay I see a fan.’”

Ivoon said: “I just look at them and they'll put their head down and be like, oh man, like they caught me.”

Ivoon’s height is due to the rare condition she was born with - Fanconi Bickel Syndrome. As a child she used a wheelchair and while she can now walk unaided, she still needs a wheelchair for long distances; she also uses a feeding tube. The syndrome causes a kidney disorder, which in turn affected Ivoon’s ability to grow fully and develop strong bones as she grew up. 

She said: “At school I was known as the wheelchair girl.

“I feel like it did stop me from enjoying like my high school years because now that I think back on it, I'm like, those were the worst years of my life just because I was so self-conscious.

“When I was in high school I didn’t go to the dances, I didn’t go to prom just because I was always ashamed of my legs. I wouldn’t wear dresses showing my legs, I wouldn’t wear shorts. So I just never did any of that.”

Before meeting Jonathan, Ivoon had been in a serious relationship – but she had never gone on a date in public with her 6 ft tall ex.

She said “He was really tall. And I think I was embarrassed myself because he was my first serious boyfriend, I wasn't comfortable with myself yet. So I wasn't ready for what was going to happen in public.”

However; with Jonathan, it was different right from the outset of their relationship. 

Ivoon said: “Ever since we met, he never excluded me from family events; he always made me feel like I was any other regular person.

“Right away he never made me feel bad about being with him or going out in public.”

Connecting through a dating app the pair started messaging back and forth and after a week agreed to meet up at a party.  At this point Ivoon had only posted a profile picture of her face  - “I sent him a picture and it was really me, I just didn’t send him a picture showing my height or anything”, so when Jonathan went to pick up Ivoon in his car he had no idea of her height.

Jonathan said: “I pulled up my car and I had a Caprice so it’s set pretty high. She’s like, ‘I'm on a corner,’ I'm like, ‘Where at? I don’t see you.’ 

“So I'm looking at my rear-view and I see this head hovering above the door, then I see the door open, then a person jumped in.

“And I'm looking, I'm trying not to make it obvious. And I'm looking and driving and I see her feet touch my glove compartment, and I'm like… what’s going on? And I'm trying to make conversation, she’s staring on her phone and I'm like, I kind of got cat fished.”

Used to rejection, Ivoon assumed it would be their first and only date.

She said: “He dropped me back off in my house and I was like, ‘okay well, this is going to be it, he’s not going to get back to me’. And I think he didn’t text me the whole night and I was like, ‘here we go again’. And then the next morning he texted me, ‘Hey, would you like to go out on my work picnic?’ Basically, his whole company was going to have a picnic and he wanted me to come as his date.

“And I was like, ‘what the hell just happened?’ And then a week after that, he introduced me to his mom, so I was like, okay, what’s going on?”

When they were first dating Jonathan posted a picture on his Facebook profile of the couple taking a selfie in front of a mirror.

Ivoon said: “He had like a few people [comment] ‘is that really your girlfriend?’ and just like rude remarks from you know people that are not family members.

That's why I just limit my social media now and just keep it simple, so I won't get bad comments.”

Two years ago, Ivoon and Jonathan welcomed baby Catalina into their family, describing her as their ‘miracle baby.’

Ivoon said: “We basically call her like a miracle baby just because the doctors have always told me that there was no way that I would be able to get pregnant.”

In spite of the judgement they get for going out – be it as a couple or a family – they refuse to let it stop them from doing anything.

Ivoon said: “I'm so glad that I have my family now and he gives me so much confidence and I feel secure when he's with me. And even when he's not with me, since I'm a mom now, now I'm her security so I am her safe place.

“A lot of the looks and the negative people, they don't affect me as much as when I was younger or had a different mindset about myself. I guess I just learned to love myself now and appreciate who I am and how I look.”