Steve McCoyne will never forget the first time he saw Nancy Hamre. It was Aug. 4, 1989, at a party in Phoenix, Oregon. He was instantly smitten.
She felt the same way about him, and the two ended up talking at the party for more than five hours. He was 19, and she, 17.
A few weeks later, McCoyne and Hamre were a couple.
McCoyne was a Marine who was getting ready for a six-month deployment. Despite the distance, he and Hamre exchanged more than 200 letters.
But Hamre was still in high school and McCoyne was on the opposite coast. The distance was hard and three weeks before McCoyne was due to come home, Hamre broke it off with McCoyne.
In the years that followed, Hamre got engaged to someone else and had a son. After McCoyne returned from a Gulf War deployment, he too moved on and eventually married.
But they never forgot each other. McCoyne always thought Hamre was the one that got away, and she says theirs was the most romantic relationship she’d ever had.
A decade passed during which they had no contact, and then, once both were single again, social media came into the picture.
They reconnected – first on Myspace, and then, in 2008, on Facebook. McCoyne, now 44, says the timing was always off. Hamre – who’d since broken up with her fiancé -- agreed.
“His Facebook status has always been ‘in a relationship’ so I thought, I didn't think he was single. But on Valentine's Day he posts a beautiful poem on my page,” Hamre, 42, of Medford, Oregon, said.
The stars finally seemed to be aligning to give their first love a second chance.
Since that sweet Valentine’s Day Facebook message, McCoyne and Hamre have become inseparable online. They’ve spent hundreds of hours on the phone and sent each other thousands of texts. Just weeks ago they started to Skype with each other.
The two planned to meet up this fall, but after waiting 22 years, McCoyne -- who works in sales in Park Rapids, Minnesota, -- wanted to move up the timetable. “GMA” knew just the person to make that happen.
To help set up the surprise, "GMA” told Hamre that we wanted to interview her about her and McCoyne’s story. She had no idea that Lopez was about to come knocking on her door.
Lopez told an emotional Hamre that she had another surprise for her. After 22 years, McCoyne was finally there.
When the two saw each other for the first time, they hugged.
“I'm having an out of body experience,” Hamre said.
“You guys look really happy to see each other. I feel like I should go,” Lopez said.
What followed was a romantic dinner in New York City. The reunited couple then appeared live on "GMA" today to reflect on both the surprise of Jennifer Lopez and their reconnection.
"Bless his heart, he had to walk in after Jennifer Lopez," Hamre joked about McCoyne. "I was so surprised to see him too. That was amazing."
McCoyne revealed it was his sister who submitted the couple's story to "GMA." He also said it was Lopez's idea to do the surprise but that he was "on board immediately."
"It was a fantastic opportunity," McCoyne said. "I always thought we had a remarkable story but what a way to put an exclamation point on it."
While Hamre said that after 22 years apart she first noticed that McCoyne was still "so handsome," McCoyne says he was taken by how Hamre had remained the same.
"What surprised me the most is how all the qualities that originally endeared me to her are still present, they’re just more refined and obviously we’re more mature now," he said.
After their TV reunion, the couple said they plan to continue their relationship and "see where it goes."
"We have plans to meet several more times throughout this year," McCoyne said. "My sister is getting married in January on a cruise so we’ll go to that together."
Jennifer Lopez performs live Friday on "GMA."