Ryan Webb, 26, lives in Portsmouth with his girlfriend Amy Cullen, 29, and her three daughters
Ryan says: I was six or seven before I realised I wasn’t quite the same as other kids. It hit home in the last year of junior school when I started to get bullied. It was the usual stuff – name-calling, pointing, being backed up against a wall, though I don’t remember being overwhelmed by it.
As a young teenager I had friends who looked out for me, but by the time I got to my late teens my confidence dropped – I think it was a cumulative effect of all the years of pointing and staring. The result was that I just withdrew. It got to the point where I wouldn’t go anywhere without my MP3 player so I could just put my headphones in and block everything out.
All that changed when I got together with Amy. We’d known each other for about eight years through mutual friends, but last year we ended up as best man and bridesmaid at our friend’s wedding and the experience drew us closer together.
Amy’s an amazing person and she totally accepts me for who I am. I’m just so grateful for her love and care – it’s transformed me.
Amy says: I can honestly say that I never worried what people thought about Ryan’s height, and if people are meeting him for the first time I never flag it up. Why should I? Ryan’s Ryan, and if anyone has a problem with it then it’s their issue, not mine.
Both my parents are big fans – they think Ryan’s a wonderful person, and they’re right. When it came to my girls the height wasn’t an issue; it was about them accepting a man who wasn’t their father as a permanent presence in their life.
Ryan and I have spoken about having children of our own. There is a chance that any child of ours would have achondroplasia. I didn’t even need to think about it – as far as I’m concerned if I can raise a child as happy and healthy as Ryan, then I see no problem at all.