Can video games replace “real life”? Looking at the story of Kelly Sexton it would seem so. In fact, the woman decided a few years ago to end her marriage to pursue a fairytale love story in an online video game. All with an additional happy ending, in fact it led to a wedding in real life.
Kelly Sexton was 37 when she started playing Second Life, an online simulation game where players customise their avatars and live their fantasies. The woman suffered from fibromyalgia and non-epileptic psychogenic seizures, and Second Life proved to be a welcome escape from the problems of everyday life.
At the time, she was married and had four children, and had never considered falling in love with a stranger and starting a new life, even if online. But that’s exactly what happened.
On New Year’s Eve 2016, Kelly’s avatar, Selena, was approached by a tall, dark-haired male avatar who started dancing in front of her. Kelly found it a lot of fun, so she started flirting with him. “He was n’t wearing much: boxers, angel wings and sunglasses ,” the woman recently recalled. “ Then he started dancing in front of me and it was so much fun. I just thought ‘wow, it looks interesting ‘ ”.
The mysterious avatar, called Staticmuse, then asked Selena for an appointment, which led them to spend hours in a virtual amusement park. In the following days, Kelly spent up to 20 hours a day in front of the computer, to talk to the character. She told him from the start that she was married and that she was not interested in a relationship, but also revealed that her marriage was not happy. The two decided however that they could continue to be engaged in Second Life, however.
The more time he spent with Von Asten in Second Life, the more Kelly realised how unhappy she was in her real life, especially her marriage. Just a few days after starting her online romance, she admitted to her husband that she wasn’t happy with their marriage and hadn’t been in a long time. To his relief, he felt the same way, and so they decided to go their own way.
Despite never having seen each other, Kelly Sexton and Nick Von Asten, the American man who controlled Staticmuse in the game, declared mutual love after only 10 days of dating in Second Life. Kelly was initially worried that she might be made fun of, after all she was 10 years older than Von Asten and disabled. But then he sent her a picture of her in real life, and she found it “absolutely gorgeous”. They switched to a video call and the moment he saw Nick’s gaze, he realised that “it was certainly love”.
On February 25, 2017, Serena and Staticmuse got married in Second Life, in a ceremony attended by virtual friends from all over the world. Staticmuse himself built the virtual chapel in which they married, piece by piece. They then went on to have a complete virtual life, putting together a digital home and even going through a virtual pregnancy that led to a virtual baby.
In December 2017, Kelly flew to the United States to spend a week with Von Asten in real life. In the months that followed, Nick came to the UK to meet Kelly’s children, who apparently adored him, and the man even gets along with the woman’s ex-husband.
In December last year, Kelly and Nick got married in real life and both say they live a fairy tale together. They no longer spent time in Second Life, since being together in real life is much more interesting, but they say that in the end they will want to re-enter the virtual world.