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story.lead_photo.caption Corina and Michael Reichert, left, and Colina and David Reichert, all of Dover, said they are used to getting stares when they go out. Corina and Colina and Michael and David are identical twins. Corina and Michael have four sons; Colina and David have three daughters. They live next door to each other, as well as to Michael and David’s parents, Betty and Phillip Reichert. - Photo by William Harvey

Identical twins David and Michael Reichert were used to getting stares in public; so were identical twins Colina and Corina Tullous.

When the brothers married the sisters, the double-takes, well, doubled.

The four married at the same time almost 20 years ago, on July 25, 1998.

“There were people who showed up to the wedding that we had no idea who they were,” David said. “The placed was packed out. It’s a rare thing, twins marrying twins.”

The couples, along with the brothers’ parents, live next door to each other in Dover.

Colina and Corina’s parents died when they were young. They were born in Russellville and lived there awhile before moving away. They came back to Russellville at age 16 to live with their aunt Sharon Rosenwald.

David and Michael lived in Georgia until they moved to Russellville at age 18 for their father’s job.

Colina said her aunt was excited to introduce them to the twin brothers at church.

“She said, ‘There are these twin guys that go there; they’re so cute,’” Colina said. “We were like, ‘Oh, whatever. They’re not going to be into us.’”

David recalled that he nudged his brother during church and pointed out the identical-twin sisters sitting in the pew in front of them.

“I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to marry twins?’” David said.

He said he had sworn off dating. “I said, ‘I’m not dating till God brings me the woman I’m supposed to have,’” he said.

Rosenwald introduced her nieces to the brothers at a meet-and-greet after the church service.

The twins said they often stood in the parking lot after church and talked and talked.

But who liked whom?

“They both kind of stood there quiet, and David was the one who kept talking. Corina is more quiet,” Colina said.

The brothers said they didn’t want to tell each other which sister they each liked.

“We didn’t want to fight over the same girl,” David said.

However, a friend of the guys insisted they tell him which girl they were interested in. Then he went to the young women and asked which young man they preferred.

It turned out that David and Colina had feelings for each other; Michael and Corina gravitated toward each other.

“When we’d see them in town, I’d always run into Michael. It was kind of weird,” Corina said. “It was cool, you know. We had no clue that we’d hit it off like we did.”

They had other things in common other than being twins. Colina and Corina, 37, have three siblings, as do David and Michael, 44.

The brothers assumed, as did Colin and Corina, that they were all the same age.

The men, who were 23 at the time, were shocked to find out one day that the girls were 16.

David said the girls’ aunt said she’d only allow the brothers to date her nieces because she knew the young men’s characters.

“I couldn’t get her out of my mind, and I was looking for a wife,” David said of Colina.

Michael, the known romantic, proposed to Corina on Valentine’s Day.

“I had no idea it was coming; we’d been dating almost a year,” Corina said. “So we were at his parents’ house, and we were going to go have Valentine’s plans together. He did it in front of his whole family, which was embarrassing.”

David proposed to Colina at her high school prom.

“I fell in love with her so fast. I thought I knew what love was before her, but it didn’t hold a stick to how I felt about her. I knew I wanted to marry her three weeks after dating,” David said.

“She was just unlike anybody I’d ever met. She was so happy and laid-back and just smiling all the time — people say Mike and I smile all the time,”

David said.

“We never in a million years thought we’d marry twins,” Colina said.

The brothers were 24, and the sisters were 18 when the couples married.

They had planned to have separate weddings, but the brothers’ parents offered to pay for one wedding.

The women’s two brothers walked down the aisle at the same time, and their younger sister was maid of honor. The sisters had matching wedding dresses; their grooms had matching tuxedos.

Colina said she and Corina have always enjoyed being identical twins.

“Oh, we loved it. We had somebody right there; we shared a bedroom all the way until when we moved out. We got along great. We played basketball together at Russellville High School.”

Corina, who is two minutes older, said she’s the more outgoing one.

“We can probably count on one hand how many times we’ve gotten into an argument,” Corina said.

David said he embraced being an identical twin, and their mother liked to dress him and Michael the same. “Mike would go back in and change,” David said.

“He and I are real similar in our likes; there are some differences,” David said. “He’s a great artist, and I didn’t get that talent. My talent seems to come in fixing and repairing things and fabricating things, where he can sit down and paint an unbelievable picture.”

David said the brothers often think and act alike without trying.

“It’s crazy. He’ll come over to the house, and he’ll be wearing the exact same shirt — the exact same shirt — by accident,” David said.

Michael agreed. “It sounds funny, but we can always definitely tell when something is up with the other,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anything psychic about it; it just might be an understood connection with twins.”

Corina agreed about the unique connection between twins.

“It’s weird because whenever something’s wrong, … like when she had her stroke, I knew something was wrong,” Corina said.

Colina suffered a stroke in August 2016, from which she has almost fully recovered.

She woke up and was having trouble walking and talking, but “I thought I was just half asleep,” she said. Colina said she was unable to say her daughters’ names to wake them up for school. Still, she drove herself to work. Corina immediately noticed something was wrong with her and called Colina’s husband, David, who took her to the hospital.

An MRI confirmed that she’d had a stroke.

“My mother had a stroke at 43,” she said.

“The whole time [Colina] was sick, I had this hurt,” Corina said.

Colina said she occasionally gets headaches and has problems with her speech when she’s tired.

Corina is the cafeteria manager at Friendship Community Care in Russellville, and “I’m her right-hand man,” Colina said.

Michael said he and David are so used to being twins, they don’t think about how it looks from the outside.

“We forget a lot of times the whole twin aspect and that might be why someone’s staring. I can remember when I was younger, I’d almost get upset: ‘Why is this person staring at us like that?’” Michael said. “We think it’s really cool when we see twins.”

The women said they looked more alike when they were younger; the men said they look more alike as they’ve aged.

Of course, the questions are constant, David said.

“All the time, “Are y’all twins?’ Then the next, ‘Are you identical?’” he said. “The weirdest question ever asked: ‘How do you know you’re you, and he’s him?’ I will never understand that.”

However, their children — David and Colina have three daughters; Michael and Corina have four sons — and they all have the same DNA.

“Mike and I have the same genes, one egg split into two. You can’t prove his kids aren’t mine, and my kids aren’t his. Genetically, they are brothers and sisters, according to science, because mine and Michael’s DNA is the same. It’s the same thing with the girls,” David said.

Neither of the couples had twins.

“We thought it would be cool to have twins the first or second pregnancy,” David said. He said people often comment that he and his wife need to have another child, one to catch up to his brother.

“No, they can win,” he said.

Corina said Michael is a wonderful father. “He really is; he’s so softhearted, real tender, a great dad,” she said.

He attributed their lasting marriage to several things.

“I feel like we’re still in love with each other like we were,” he said. “We try not to hold grudges toward each other. Probably the most important thing is our faith in and relationship with God.”

Michael said his family means “the world” to him.

“He’s my best friend, and Corina and Colina are best friends,” Michael said. “We’ve always gotten along with each other’s wives.”

The couples are talking about taking a special trip for their 20th wedding anniversaries this summer.

Together, of course.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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