When 53-year-old Diane Peebles’ friend pulled out of their trip to Sri Lanka, she went by herself.
While there, Diane struck up a friendship with her hotel room attendant Priyanjana De Zoysa, 21, who was keen to practise his English.
When she returned home, they stayed in touch online and over the phone.
‘I didn’t have any romantic feelings for him,’ Diane told the BBC.
But after months of chatting, and enjoying Priyanjana’s attention, Diane fell in love. Priyanjana felt the same.
Diane flew back to Sri Lanka the following year, and they married in an impromptu ceremony.
In 2016, after almost four years of travelling back and forth, Diane quit her council job, sold her house and moved to Sri Lanka.
Diane gave Priyanjana the $180,000 she got for her property and bought him a mini-van. In return, he built them a nice house and used the van to work as a taxi driver.
But Diane was covering all their expenses using her small pension.
Then she made a shocking discovery.
‘I found a Valentine’s card in a wardrobe,’ Diane told a UK journalist.
It was addressed to ‘my husband Priyanjana’ – but Diane hadn’t sent it!
Her hubby brushed it off
as a joke, but just before Christmas 2016 Diane found a marriage certificate.
It confirmed Priyanjana had wed an 18-year-old Sri Lankan girl months after they’d married.
He wasn’t working, he was with his other wife!
Without a cent to her name Diane was stuck in Sri Lanka with her cheating husband.
Then the situation took a tragic turn when Priyanjana was shot and killed in 2017.
Unable to sell the house and van because they were in his name, it was 18 months before Diane got home.
‘I thought he loved me, and I loved him,’ Diane said.
‘You do silly things when you’re in love.’