Longtime best friends Ashley Thomas and Latoya Wimberly just discovered they are biological sisters after 17- years of friendship.
Recounting the moments, Womberly said she almost passed out when she found out that her biological father is also her best friend’s biological dad. “I immediately called Ashley.” she told CNN.
Ashley Thomas and Latoya Wimberly have always considered themselves to be sisters. Since meeting each other in middle school, the best friends have never gone a day without at least speaking on the phone.
They have a lot in common — from the identical gaps in their front teeth, the same distinct high cheekbones, and matching complexion to similar taste in music and fashion. They even dated brothers at one point.
However, nothing could’ve prepared them for the life-changing revelation that changed the nature of their relationship forever last month.
Ashley Thomas was 15 when she learned that the man who had raised her was not her biological father. Her mother, who died 11 years ago, never told her who may have been her father. Ashley’s family had also never met Latoya’s family, so they didn’t suspect anything.
However, Ashley hung out with Latoya a lot, her father Kenneth played a fatherly role in her life, without knowing she’s his biological daughter.”
Ashley was the only one of my friends who didn’t miss a single family event,” Latoya Wimberly said. “She was extremely close to my entire family on both sides. 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.”
Ashley Thomas described the discovery as “beautiful,” but also “extremely emotional.”
She said: “I have so many questions for my mom and I will never have any of those answers. Did she know he was my father?” She added:
“Big Kenny was like my dad. He was there for me the whole time and I had no idea.”
Ashley Thomas, who has two children, said: “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.”
Latoya Wimberly said she’s happy for their sisterhood to be official, but also feels guilty that Kenneth was more involved in her life than Ashley’s.
“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,” said Latoya. “So that’s very emotional.”
As for Kenneth, he said he’s looking forward to building a stronger relationship with Thomas and “loving her as his daughter.” He also wants to spend more time with his newfound grandchildren.
“I’ve always seen the little ones around and this entire time they were my grandchildren and I didn’t even know,” he said.
How they found out
The puzzle started coming together in January, when Wimberly, 29, had a party to celebrate her engagement.
Thomas, 31, shared photos from the party on Facebook. Some of the photos included Wimberly’s father, Kenneth Wimberly.
While looking at the photos online, a friend of Thomas’ mother saw Kenneth and realized she knew him.
“Ashley’s mom’s best friend told her she had no idea my dad was Kenny,” Wimberly said. “She said she and Ashley’s mom used to hang around him back when they were young.
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.”
Kenneth immediately recognized the woman. And later, when shown a photo of Thomas’ mother, he recognized her, too. In fact, he said the two had had a brief romantic relationship.
In that moment, he also learned that Thomas did not know who her biological father was, and questioned whether it might be him.
To find out, the three decided to split the cost of a DNA test.
On February 21, the results came in — confirming that Kenny was indeed Thomas’ father.
“It was a Friday, and I was at work when I got the call,” Thomas said. “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.”