CINCINNATI -- Devin Carr beamed with love and pride as his bride serenaded him at their wedding -- something he couldn't do for her. Carr had suffered a near-fatal brain injury when he was 11, permanently impairing his voice.
Reminiscing about his bride's performance, Carr said: "It was beautiful. I really enjoyed it, and I'm glad that I got to show her off to our guests â€¦ I'm glad we have a video of it so we can show our children what their mom did."
But now, 10 months after their marriage in a quaint Oxford chapel, the Carrs' wedding video suddenly went viral on the Internet. The four-minute clip of Marie Carr belting out Christina Aguilera's "The Right Man" had attracted nearly 617,000 views on YouTube at last check.
In a situation they describe as surreal, the suburban Cincinnati newlyweds find themselves subjected to worldwide scrutiny and commentary.
Although many people compliment the new Mrs. Carr for her moxie and her powerful vocal ability, the video has also fueled reckless speculation and withering criticism. Some people assert the wedding was a publicity stunt, that the bride lip-synched or that she performed the song out of a narcissistic desire to make the wedding even more bride-centric -- all of which are untrue, the couple says.
"The only reason I sang was for him. I want him to know how much I love him, and I wanted him to know he's perfect for me; he's perfect tome," Marie Carr said. "I wanted him to feel my love in that moment, and I thought the best way for him to feel my love was to sing to him."
At the risk of inviting even more unwanted attention, the Carrs said they want their hometown to know their true story, even if the rest of the world seems to have hopelessly distorted it. "We just want people to know who we are and why we decided to do it. And we want people to understand the whole story and not make assumptions," Marie Carr said.
Weeks after their Aug. 11 ceremony, the couple learned a wedding guest had posted a cellphone video of the bride singing on YouTube. They wanted friends and relatives to see a better-quality version, so they asked their videographer to post her work; she did, back in October.
Around June 15, the video began getting tens of thousands of hits. Within days, it grew to hundreds of thousands of hits, says Amanda McClain of Petite Productions. "It's just gone nuts, and I'm not quite sure why," McClain said.
Next, national TV shows such as "Inside Edition" were contacting McClain, trying to set up interviews with the Carrs. She relayed the messages, and that's how the couple found out the video was being viewed around the world. McClain said: "I can't understand why this is so much under a microscope." She is surprised at the unflattering remarks but says there are also have been positive comments.
Amid the hubbub are two 25-year-olds busy caring for a baby girl, Eden, and feeling strangely exposed.
The bride's father, Jerry Soellner was killed in an accident in 2000 -- then a dozen years later, his daughter ended up marrying a man who had almost died in a 1998 traffic crash. Devin Carr's remarkable recovery from brain and spinal cord injuries surprised doctors. As he stood waiting for his school bus in rural Butler County, a truck struck him, throwing him 30 feet.
To include Soellner in their wedding, the couple played a recording of his voice, extracted from home movies.
Against this backdrop, the lyrics of the song, "The Right Man," seem tailor-made: "No father stands beside me to give his bride away ... I leave behind my past by taking the chance. I've finally found the right man."
Devin Carr says that people who think his bride was merely trying to draw attention to herself aren't paying attention . "The song isn't even about her," Devin Carr said. "It's about me and it's about her father. "
If not for the accident and his voice difficulties, Devin Carr may well have sung a duet with his bride -- or he might have sung to her.
Devin Carr's father, Dave, has been lead vocalist for a number of Cincinnati-area bands and says he admires the performance of his daughter-in-law. She had no formal voice training and had previously sung only in the shower, the car or at family karaoke nights.
Sometimes, the couple wishes the situation would just go away. But they also realize that even if McClain takes down the video, copies of it still will probably be floating all over the Internet.
Deanna Carr hopes the video might inspire others.
"Maybe there's somebody else out there who's lost their father and is feeling depressed about walking down the aisle alone," she said. "Maybe they will see something positive about turning that around and walking toward the love of her life, like Marie did."
Here is the video:
By JANICE MORSE
The Cincinnati Enquirer