A Man’s Ex-Wife Reads An Emotional Letter To His New Bride On His Wedding Day — ‘Thank You For Not Trying To Replace Me’

What healthy co-parenting should look like.

ex wife, co-parenting, wedding @blinkerthanks / TikTok 

Most people would not even fathom having their ex deliver a speech at their wedding. However, one newlywed couple left a profound impact on their guests when they did just that. 

The groom and his ex-wife depict what a healthy relationship should look like, as well as the groom’s new wife and ex-wife, who are committed to peacefully co-parenting. 

The groom’s ex-wife read an emotional letter to his new wife on their wedding day.

Steve Bourdo and Shonda Rae got engaged in April 2023 and got married on July 21, 2023, in a courthouse wedding ceremony. During their reception, Steve’s ex-wife, Leah, got up in front of the crowd to deliver a speech not only congratulating the happy new couple but also honoring her daughters’ new stepmother. 


“Now we will have the same last name,” Leah addresses Shonda in a TikTok video posted by Steve that has been viewed over 300,000 times. “A last name that I took long before I knew what it really meant to be married. A last name that I still have, because I learned what it really means to take someone’s last name. A last name that I only considered changing again if I was absolutely certain it was forever.” 

Most importantly, Leah’s last name is one that she shares with her two daughters, Kennedy and Harper. 

She admitted that even after her divorce from Steve, there was once a time when she could not imagine someone else coming into his life and serving a role that was hers, which was mothering their daughters. “But all those things that seemed absolutely impossible became a reality when you came into our lives,” Leah shares. 




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Although she became Steve’s ex-wife, she still wanted someone to come into his life that would love their daughters as much as they both did.

“I prayed for someone who they could trust and count on and who they knew would have their backs at all times,” Leah says. “I prayed for someone who understood the concept of putting the kids first, and had to be the driving force behind every interaction and decision that we made. I prayed for someone who would make him [Steve] happy, because I know that out girls deserve to see what a happy marriage looks like.” 

Not only were Leah’s prayers answered when Shonda entered the picture, but her expectations were “exceeded” in so many ways that she never imagined. “Right now, I just want to take the time to thank you,” the grateful mother tells her. 


“Thank you for loving my girls as much as any of us would love them. Thank you for coming into this co-parenting situation with open arms and being willing to build a friendship with me,” she says. “Thank you for never trying to replace me, but just being irreplaceable you. Thank you for being a voice of reason when tough decisions had to be made on our daughters’ behalf.” 

Leah added that Shonda is always willing to do “whatever it takes” when it comes to meeting the needs of the children. 

“I’ve told you this before, and I’ll tell you this again. I could not have handpicked someone better to step into this role. You are an incredible human being inside and out, and I look forward to co-parenting together.” 

Other TikTok users praised the woman’s heartfelt speech and the ability of all parties to successfully co-parent. 


“This is amazing. I love the relationship you all have. Your children are so lucky,” one user commented. 

“Sobbing. I’m a bonus mom too and our boys' Mom has thanked me as well. Beautiful for you all. Congratulations,” another user shared. 

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Although Steve and Leah have a healthy relationship now and are able to amicably co-parent, it took them a long time to get there. 

The two were married for eight years, in a relationship that Leah calls “two best friends who never should have gotten married,” per Good Morning America. 


Their marriage ended as a result of Leah’s alcohol addiction and Steve’s emotional unavailability and anger issues. Initially after divorcing, the pair blocked each other’s phone numbers and refused to communicate with each other. 



However, they soon realized how their daughters were being negatively impacted. It took years of counseling, sobriety, and time to heal the damage that had been done and eventually reach a successful relationship as co-parents. 

Healthy co-parenting relationships are not only beneficial for new romantic partners that may enter into a relationship with one of the parties, but most importantly for the children. Research from Nationwide Children’s Hospital shows that children with parents who are amicable while co-parenting have “a greater overall well-being” and “fewer behavioral problems.” 


It requires effort from both parents, as well as step-parents, to make co-parenting work. Some ways to ensure that co-parenting remains solid are good communication, clear boundaries, flexibility, and respect from both sides. 

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.