Photo of wife carrying war-injured husband goes viral

Couple shot photo while on vacation in Idaho

Sarah Ledford
Sarah Ledford

BOISE, Idaho – They say a picture can tell a thousand words.

The photo of husband and wife Jesse and Kelly Cottle tells just one: love.

Wounded while on patrol in Afghanistan; Jesse, a former Marine, lost both of his legs to an IED explosion in 2009. After months of grueling rehab, Jesse returned to his home in San Diego to begin the next chapter in his life.

It was while attending a swim meet in San Diego that Jesse met his soon-to-be wife Kelly.

Kelly, a swimmer for Boise State, told ABC News that she noticed Jesse not for his prosthetic legs, but for something more. "His personality and who he is just outweighs his injuries by so much that you forget about it after a while." Kelly explained to ABC.

The two dated and eventually married in 2012.

But it was a fateful trip home to visit Kelly's family in Idaho that prompted the now-famous picture that has gone viral all over the world.

While carrying Jesse to a spot for a family picture, the photographer suggested that she'd get a couple shots of the couple together. That's when and where the totally unplanned shot was taken.

The picture become a worldwide hit once the photographer, Sarah Ledford, posted it to her Facebook page. The rest, they say, is history.

In an interview with ABC News, Jesse says, "The photo really says it all. I actually look at it very much as a symbol for our whole relationship in general. She's physically carrying me, but there's times where she's carrying me emotionally. It's a perfect representation of who Kelly is."