Nayyef Hrebid and Btoo Allami were the subjects of the powerful documentary Out of Iraq that premiered on Logo earlier last year. It recounted the story of both men, who fell in love; Hrebid was a translator working for the U.S. and Allami was a former soldier in the Iraqi army. Despite the war torn climate and a separation that lasted several years, their relationship weathered the storm and they married.
Both men appeared on Ellen, where they recounted their story and discussed their lives now. They now live in Seattle where they work with LGBTQ youth that have escaped and ran away from oppression in the middle east.
“What would happen if your families knew you are gay?” she asked them.
“It’s not going to be good,” answered Nayyef. “I just wanted to tell them how much I love them. Especially my mom. I love her so much… but my happiness is with him, and I want to spend my whole life with him.”
In an interview with TIME magazine, Nayyef explained that the night the couple first kissed was when he knew “everything changed.”
“We were on a mission and I’m still not completely sure if he’s gay or not, and same thing for him. But I feel he is, just the way I look into his eyes. And that night we sat together and he just told me he loved me and we just started kissing each other. I knew he liked me the way I liked him.”
“It wasn’t completely happy because we were still hiding. When we would meet on vacation together, we go to a different city where no one recognized us. We’d book the hotel as friends and we’d be there as friends and we could only be ourselves inside this room. The feeling just of being together was so beautiful. At the same time, we know what’s going to happen if [others] find out about us or our relationship.”
To help them “make new memories” and jump start their lives as a married couple, Ellen and Shutterfly partnered together to gift the pair with a check for $25,000 which would go towards buying a new house.
Watch the interview below.