By AMY OLIVER
On computer screen they were like a movie-star couple.
She with her toned, tanned body, enviable curves and a penchant for not wearing very much. He with an impressive tattoo, rock-god locks and abs you could bounce a 50 pence piece off.
But when Marie and Jay Coulbeck decided to exchange real photographs after their alter egos got engaged in 3D chat room IMVU, the couple from Rugeley found they had bent the truth some what.
With a dress size of 28 – 30 Mrs Coulbeck admits she looked nothing like her size eight alter ego - Goddess of the Orient. But then again divorced fork lift truck driver Jay Coulbeck, 41, didn't much resemble his avatar Gunner, either.
None of it mattered. The couple fell in love and married - for real - in September.
Ooh ahh avatar: Mrs Coulbeck's avatar, Goddess of the Orient, left, had a toned, tanned body with ample cleavage while Mr Coulbeck's character, Gunner, had abs you could bounce a 50p from
True love: When the Coulbeck's exchanged real-life pictures, it was clear neither had been honest about their looks but it didn't matter. They fell in love and married - for real - in September
Mother of two grown up daugthers, Mrs Coulbeck, 44, joined IMVU after becoming sad, lonely and depressed after a string of disastrous relationships.
The programme describes itself as a 3d chatroom where users can create an avatar to represent themselves by selecting features like, face, hair and bodies and design and create a virtual hang out to meet and speak to friends.
Mrs Coulbeck said: 'My confidence and self-esteem was rock bottom but this programme allowed me to leave that behind and be the person I wanted to be.
Virtual world: Mrs Coulbeck met her future husband in 3D chat room IMVU where users can create an avatar to represent themselves by selecting features like, face, hair and bodies
Online ceremony: The couple's avatars got engaged in the chat room and then after meeting in real life were married online as well
Get a virtual room: The couple had purchased credits with which to buy wedding outfits in the chat room
...And then they did it in real life: A year after meeting up they married again - this time for real in front of 50 family and friends
‘I created her to represent the slim gorgeous woman I want to be but thankfully Jay said I looked beautiful anyway.
Mrs Coulbeck also relaxed when Gunner's real picture arrived showing he also bore little resemblance to his avatar.
‘He wasn’t Gunner just like I wasn’t the Goddess,' she said. 'But I still found him really attractive so it was a huge relief when he said he liked my picture too.
‘We were already engaged online before he came to see me so it felt natural for him to stay and he moved in that day.
Happiness: Mrs Coulbeck said her husband had been her 'dream man' in IMVU and had turned out to be her dream man in real life too
The couple had met at Mrs Coulbeck's home in Staffordshire 90 miles away from her future husband's in Lincoln. But first they pledged their love by buying each other wedding outfits for their avatars.
Mrs Coulbeck admits she was nervous when Mr Coulbeck turned up at her door but after presenting her with a huge bunch of roses and a teddy the couple were instantly at ease with each other.
Then when it came to going home time Mr Coulbeck couldn't find his car keys. Mrs Coulbeck said: 'I was helping him look but secretly I was delighted because I didn’t want him to leave. I knew I didn’t want to be apart from him again.’
Soul mates: Mrs Coulbeck admitted her parents had been concerned when she told them she was marrying a man from the computer game but once they got to know Mr Coulbeck thought he was wonderful
Mr Coulbeck was still there a week later when he stunned Mrs Coulbeck by proposing for the second time on one knee. She said: 'I’ve never been married and thought those days were behind me, I was smiling from ear to ear.
‘My parents were concerned when I told them I was marrying a man from the computer game because it’s their job to worry and they didn’t understand how you can fall in love on a computer game without meeting, but once they got to know Jay they thought he was wonderful and still do.’
A year later on September 3rd they married again – this time for real in front of 50 family and friends.
Mr Coulbeck said: ‘No we haven’t been back on the game since, why do I need to now I’ve got her for real?
Back to reality: The couple say they have not returned to the chat room and actually find the whole thing 'a bit silly'
‘We actually think the game is a bit silly now, but thank God we both joined or we would never have found each other.’
Mrs Coulbeck added: 'Using IMVU was a fantasy escape for me but it became a reality. I don’t need it anymore because my real life is good at last but I’ll always be grateful that it brought us together.
‘I created Goddess for a bit of fun and it changed my life. I wasn’t trying to mislead anyone with her appearance because I never expected to really meet anyone from the game in real life.
‘I’m pretty sure that if I’d made my avatar a big girl it wouldn’t have been as much fun and we would never have met.