Jake Coates first met the love of his life when he was just 11 years old. But little did he know what trials and tribulations life had in store for them. In 2017 she passed away, but then, just eight months later, Coates found someone new. And when people heard the news, the reactions were mixed.
The story of Jake Coates and Emmy Collett is nothing short of heartbreaking. It all started before they were teenagers, studying at the same school. They may have only been 11 years old but their love story began as true childhood sweethearts.
However, they didn’t manage to keep the relationship going throughout their university years. In fact, the pair went their separate ways and pursued different careers. But then, in 2015, they reconnected and got back together, despite the fact that they lived thousands of miles from each other.
At that time, Coates was a doctor living in Sydney, Australia, while Collett was working in London, U.K., as a teacher. The two of them relied on video calls to stay in touch, and they’d fly across the world to see each other when they could.
But it all took a tragic turn within just six months of the relationship rekindling. The couple were sitting in a restaurant in Australia when Collett asked Coates for a neck massage. He duly obliged but was horrified to feel a lump on his girlfriend.
Soon after that, Collett was diagnosed with thyroid cancer when she got back to the U.K. She had been suffering with fatigue and diarrhea, but no one could have predicted she’d developed a rare type of cancer. Coates instantly returned to the U.K. to be with her.
Just a few weeks after the diagnosis, Coates popped the question. He was determined to marry his childhood sweetheart despite the cancer taking them by surprise. But that wasn’t all. The couple also decided that they wanted a baby.
However, Collett was told that she wouldn’t be able to carry a child herself anymore, due to the chemotherapy she was undergoing. So, some of Collett’s eggs were collected along with Coates’ sperm, and nine embryos were subsequently conceived and stored. Then, a surrogate option arose in the form of an old school friend.
Liz Begg offered to carry the couple’s baby for them. As Collett’s health was deteriorating, she found hope in the idea that Begg might be able to bring a child into the world for her. The first embryos were implanted successfully and the couple were delighted.
“To say it was emotional is an understatement,” Coates told the Daily Mirror. “I know I can speak for Emmy when I say I think neither of us had ever felt an excitement or feeling like it – it was utterly incredible.” But then, Collett became weaker and weaker.
She fell asleep just after learning than she would be a mom. But sadly, she never fully came round from it. Tragically, in June 2017, Collett passed away at the age of just 31. As another awful blow, Coates learned that Begg’s pregnancy was ectopic and the baby wouldn’t make it.
After Collett died thinking that she was going to be a mom, Coates wanted to make it happen for her. So he vowed to continue with the surrogacy journey. However, once it had failed twice, he decided to put the idea on hold.
Then, the whole story took a bit of an unexpected twist. Eight months after Collett passed away, one of Coates’ Instagram photos revealed that he had found love again. He told the world that he was in a new relationship with a woman named Jenna Elsby.
And people couldn’t help but notice the resemblance between Elsby and Collett. Both women had green eyes and shoulder-length brown hair. Loved-up Coates captioned the photograph with a description of Elsby as his “gorgeous little ragamuffin.”
The social media post showed Elsby on the way to Iceland with Coates. He was heading to the volcanic island to get in shape for the ten marathons he planned to run in memory of Collett. But the news of Coates’ new relationship didn’t go down well with everyone.
Some people were delighted for him. “No one can understand what Jake has been through and it’s his right to go forward with his life however he wants to,” read one message of support, while another read, “You give so much and deserve every happiness in this world.”
But others who were close to Collett found Coates’ Instagram post distasteful. For example, Collett’s sister Sophie commented that she was “at a loss for words at the insensitivity of it.” She was also adamant that her sister would be “devastated” by the news of Coates’ new relationship.
“I can assure you this would break her heart,” Collett’s sister wrote, before condemning the manner in which Coates had revealed his new love to the world. “This post and the way it has all been done is the opposite of what she stood for and the way she chose to live her life – being kind to others and being selfless,” she added.
But Coates tried to remain positive despite the backlash. “I don’t have any space in my life for negativity. I’m just doing the best I can each day and doing everything I can to be happy,” he responded, before thanking those who had wished him the best.
In April 2018 Coates finished the London Marathon, ticking off the tenth marathon completed within two months. And he managed to raise a total of nearly £8,000 for The Royal Marsden Hospital in London, where Collett had been cared for before losing her battle with cancer.