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Best friends will always refer to themselves as sisters. Some of them will even get so close to your entire family that you cannot imagine a house party without them. That’s exactly what Ashley Thomas and Latoya Wimberly felt like. However, when Ash posted a picture of Latoya’s engagement party on Facebook, a close family friend uncovered what happened years ago. What would you do if you found out that your BFF is actually your REAL sister?
If you had a “best friend forever” growing up, then you probably know that it feels like having a sister. But friends are the family you choose to have. Did you ever ask your parents to bring your friend on family vacations and more? Well, Ashley Thomas and Latoya Wimberly had been close for many years just like that. But it wasn’t until they posted a picture on Facebook that they would discover a curious truth of their past.
They had so many things in common, but they also had a gap in their front teeth and similar bone structures. Their skin was pretty much the same color as well, and their shoe size was alike. Now, this is perfect for best friends because it means that you can share everything. Some BFFs even believe that they have a closer connection than blood sisters, but it turned out to be true in this case. It was like fate brought them together.
Besides growing up in the same town of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, they also had the same interests. But they became good friends because they were dating a set of brothers. Afterward, they formed a huge bond that has not been broken for over 17 years. Anyone that hears their story would be baffled by so many coincidences. But the biggest one of all was yet to reveal itself.
They had originally met at a birthday party in 2004 when they just teenagers, and it was an instant connection. Have you ever met a person that you just “clicked” with? That’s what it was like for them. If you look at Ashley Thomas’ Facebook, you’ll see that their friendship goes back so many years. They couldn’t stay away from each other. People were shocked when they discovered something that they should have known years ago, but there’s a reason why they did not find out sooner.
They have spoken on the phone every day for more than 17 years, and their bond has only become stronger after the amazing discovery of their parentage. They supported each other through everything: relationships, pregnancies, and more. Any good friends will stick to you even you get busy, and even as adults, they still take vacations together. There’s no separating them at this point.
Thomas told CNN, “We’re ‘stuck to each other like glue.’” But they often refer to each other as sisters; little did they know that it would actually become true later on. Latoya’s aunt, Tina, wrote to them on Facebook, “Niece, I always said you and her look-alike. I always told people y'all were sisters, especially in Frankford, so I am legally Aunt Tina, love. You bring me my kids. I'm around the corner.” So, how did they find out?
The girls explained in their several interviews that everything happened so fast after they started having suspicions. But in February 2020, they got the official news that they were truly biological sisters. When they revealed the news on social media, one of their friends, Torri Barnes, wrote, “Wow, I can’t wait to hear the deets about this story. This is amazing. Y’all both are beautiful.”
"It was a puzzle, and it's like all the pieces came together so fast," Thomas told CNN. But how did they go around to solving this puzzle? Luckily, things like that are not that hard in the world of technology. In fact, their suspicions started because of social media. Eventually, they wanted to take a DNA test to confirm what people had only guessed for many years. Would you do the same?
Let’s go back to how their real suspicions started. It was back in January 2020. Latoya, who was turning 29 years old, had a party to celebrate her engagement. Naturally, everyone gathered at the party to have fun as well, and Ashley was one of the most important invitees. She also brought her children to the event and started taking pictures.
Ashley posts many pictures on her Facebook. So, she shared a few photos from the engagement party. However, there was someone in the background of the one photo: Latoya’s father, Kenneth Wimberly. Of course, her dad was also there to celebrate such an occasion. But another person saw the photo, and everything was set in motion.
A friend of Ashley Thomas’ mother saw the picture of Kenneth on the girl’s Facebook feed. She realized that they had been friends long ago. And you might have already guessed where this story was going. Sadly, Ashley’s mother passed away several years ago, or she might have revealed the truth much sooner. But fate has its ways, and the girls found each other against all odds.
"Ashley's mom's best friend told her she had no idea my dad was Kenny," Wimberly told CNN. "She said she and Ashley's mom used to hang around him back when they were young.” It seems almost like kismet that Ash’s mom’s best friend would be the person to reveal that Ash’s own BFF might be her own sister. This is the kind of story you really have to live through to believe because it doesn’t often happen outside of a “telenovela.”
“When Ashley told me, I knew something didn't click. So I asked her to send me a picture of her mom's best friend and showed it to my dad and asked him if he recognized her," Latoya continued. Can you imagine what it might have been like to see that your daughter’s best friend was actually close to an old acquaintance? It’s crazy that they didn’t discover this secret much sooner.
Naturally, Kenneth knew who the woman in the picture was. So, they showed him a photo of Ashley’s mother, and he recognized her as well. However, he actually told them that they had had a short fling back in the day. That’s how the puzzle pieces started to fit, and it became even more glaring that Ashley and Latoya might be more than just regular best friends in the end.
Ashley and Latoya told Kenneth that Ash never really knew who her biological father was. So, they asked him if there was any chance that it could actually be him. Of course, the dates seemed to match, and they couldn’t disprove the possibility of such a thing. It also seems like many of the girls’ friends suspected that they were related. One of them wrote on their Facebook, “I told you guys back then... I'm happy for you.”
The only thing left to do was get a DNA test. They decided to pay for it and discover if they were right because Ashley couldn’t ask her mother. The results came on February 21st, 2020, and revealed that Kenneth was, in fact, Ashley’s biological father all along. But it’s not like he wasn’t a part of her life all along.
"It was a Friday, and I was at work when I got the call," Ashley commented to CNN. "When Kenny told me he was my dad, chills went through my body. I couldn't think. I couldn't process it. I couldn't even talk to them." It was an emotional result for the three of them. It’s chilling to think that they were family all along while living life normally and seeing each other constantly because of the girls’ friendship. But they still had several questions.
Ashley didn’t grow without a father, but she was 15 years old when they told her the man who raised her was not her blood relative. Families are no longer considered only blood relations, as an adopted father is just as much a dad as anyone else. But that must have been an odd discovery at her age. A teenager would wonder who her bio dad could be. And what a surprise to learn that he was right there for such a long time!
Ashley’s mother died 12 years ago, but she never told her who her biological dad might be. Furthermore, while she had met Latoya’s family on several occasions, no one else in their families had ever seen each other. So, there was honestly no one at the time that they could have suspected anything. But Kenneth became an important part of Thomas’ life when the girls’ friendship grew stronger.
"Ashley was the only one of my friends who didn't miss a single family event," Wimberly told CNN. “She was extremely close to my entire family on both sides.” Anyone with a best friend might be familiar with this scenario. You become close to each family, even if no one else in either family has ever met. It’s like your second home. And Latoya’s father did everything to make Ashley feel welcomed.
“If my father is taking me out, Ashley's coming with me. If someone asks who are those girls, he says, 'Those are my girls.' If she has a car problem or any kind of issue, she always goes to my dad. But somehow, our families never met," continued Latoya. Both girls went through many feelings after discovering the truth.
Ashley said that it was wonderful but also extremely emotional. "I have so many questions for my mom, and I will never have any of those answers," she added. "Did she know he was my father?" Unfortunately, they will never know those answers. They will have to make all kinds of memories together in the future.
"Big Kenny was like my dad. He was there for me the whole time, and I had no idea," Ashley told CNN. So, it seems like Thomas never really missed having a father at all. She had the one that raised, and her best friend’s dad, who just happened to be her bio-father. It’s almost a miracle that his two daughters became so close.
While they were always close and considered each other family, they now have to get used to a new reality. It’s going to be a long journey before they can be comfortable enough. Although there wasn’t any drama, it’s still something that takes time emotionally. And two little kids are going to love Kenneth.
Ashley has two children that are going to benefit from having another grandfather around. But it’ll take them a while to get used to it. "It's just a weird feeling. It's definitely going to take some time. I'm still in disbelief. But I want him to be a part of his grandchildren's lives," she added.
Meanwhile, Latoya loves that they can truly can each other sisters now. However, she also has some mixed feelings because Kenneth was more involved in her life than in Ashley’s life. As her best friend, Wimberly saw Thomas going through so much, especially after losing her mother. It would have to know a father was around.
"I watched Ashley go through so many things growing up, and now all I can think about is that her father was here, and he could have been there for her just like he was for me. So that's very emotional," Wimberly told CNN. Luckily, they are going to work on making up all that lost time from now on.
Kenneth hopes to build a better relationship with Ashley after this discovery and wants to be there for her just like he has been for the rest of his children. But he is also looking forward to being a grandfather to her kids. It’s like gaining a lot of people to love in one fell swoop!
"I've always seen the little ones around, and this entire time they were my grandchildren, and I didn't even know," he commented. They don’t want to dwell too much on the past and will move forward steadily. If you take a look at Ash’s Facebook, you’ll see that their bond is growing more and more every day. So, it’s a happy ending for all.
Naturally, they had to tell their Facebook friends about their discovery. Both of them posted a collage, and Latoya wrote, “After years of hearing ‘Are y’all sisters?’, ‘Y’all look just alike,’ and us just saying ‘NO’ we are just best friends the truth finally aired that we are blood sisters!!! I don’t even know how to take this. Like you’re really my big sister, that’s why we’re so similar, that’s why we look so alike, that’s why we’ve been inseparable since the 6th grade. God, why you keep hitting me with all these surprises this year? It’s only FEBRUARY.”
Meanwhile, Ashley also posted the collage and added, “God works in mysterious ways. For the past few days, I’ve been going to bed with so much on my mind...lost & confused with so many questions. This is so unbelievable! We share so many memories from growing our firstborns up together & now growing our business together. I would’ve never thought that my little sister was by my side in a million years the whole time. Momma, u got some explaining to do. I wish u were here to see the look on ya face. But I got this!”
Naturally, their friends have lots of things to say about this discovery. Jalis Aziz Aasir Blackwell wrote, “I could’ve sworn back at Harris u said y’all was sisters I always thought y’all was.” While Latoya replied, “We use to always lie & say we were sisters to find out it was never a lie.”
Meanwhile, their friend Annmarie Bowen wrote, “Just beautiful. Y’all are just the beautiful two people anyway, just happy that y’all know now what a happy ending and a new beginning.” They have so much support from their family and friends. It’s clear that they are wonderful people to others as well.
Melissa Unbreakable Morris wrote, “Your sister is usually your first best friend. And to actually find out your best friend was always your sister is beautiful!” And NayNay LivinLife Baltimore wrote, “Ash & Toya everything happens for a reason this was all planned God knew that why he brought y'all together in middle school and it's out now that's a blessing.”
You always feel a close connection to your best friend, but something like this is scarce. They made so many memories together despite not knowing the truth all those years. But now they get to make even more! Let us know what you liked best about this story. If you liked this article, share it with your friends that wish their best friends were related to them too. See you next time!