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Former Miss America Marries Girlfriend in Southern-style Wedding

17, April 2018
With springtime upon us, love is in the air and one marriage is “warming hearts around.” If you haven’t heard yet, Miss America 2005, Deidre Downs Gunn, married her fiance, Abbott Jones, over the weekend in a Southern wedding celebration. In case you missed the #DrAndMrsAmerica prenuptials, we’re here to keep you up to date.

Deidre Downs who funded part of her education through more than $100,000 in scholarships earned at pageants, was a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship in 2002. Photo AL.com Deidre Downs funded part of her education through her $100,000s in scholarship money earned from competing in pageants plus she was a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship in 2002. Photo AL.com

Life as Miss America Downs Gunn represented Alabama when she completely stole the show and impressed the judges at the 2005 Miss America competition. For her talent, she sang “I’m Afraid This Must Be Love.” During her reign, she was a firm advocate and spokesperson for CureSearch National Childhood Cancer Foundation. It was the third time Alabama won the title (Yolande Betbeze in 1951 and Heather Whitestone in 1995). Since winning her crown over a decade ago, she continues her work in the medical fields and has since moved on to study at the University of Alabama School of Medicine. She currently works as a physician and board-certified Obstetrician-Gynecologist specializing in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. (Read: First Openly Gay Woman To Compete at Miss America)

#DrAndMrsAmerica was the hashtag these two used to celebrate their marriage. Abbott is an attorney and writer, the pair met in early 2017. Photo: PEOPLE #DrAndMrsAmerica was the hashtag these two used to celebrate their marriage. Abbott is an attorney and writer, and the pair met in early 2017. Photo: PEOPLE

The wedding The theme for the wedding was Southern romance and was held at the Birmingham Museum of Art. Downs Gunn said the ceremony was one she always wished for. "Saying our vows in front of our family and friends and making that commitment to the love of my life was the most meaningful part of the day for me,” she shared with PEOPLE magazine. (Read: How to Plan A Wedding While Preparing For A Pageant) What did the Miss America Organization have to say? In light of the Miss America Organization changing the leadership and re-branding the pageant, the new Head Queen in Charge, Gretchen Carlson, took to Twitter to share her congratulations to the newlyweds while also hinting at changes coming to the organization. (Read: What You NEED to Know About the Miss America Scandal)

New Miss America Executive Director, Getchen Carlson shares her congrats to Deidra and Abbott. Photo Twitter New Miss America Executive Director Gretchen Carlson shares her congrats to Deidra and Abbott. Photo: Twitter

Only one woman has competed as an openly gay contestant in the Miss America Organization. Erin O’Flaherty, Miss Missouri 2016, broke barriers when she came out as the first openly gay woman to hit the MAO stage, and we are sure more strides will be made in the years to come with the new branding and image. Congratulations to the new couple! We wish you many years of happiness. Having FOMO? Make sure you don’t miss out on our news stories and best tips by signing up for our daily newsletter! Do you have a news story you’d like to see covered on Pageant Planet? Let us know here!

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Sierra Beck

Miss Tennessee Junior National Teenager

Sierra is partnered with Make-A-Wish of Middle TN to help shine brightness on Children's days.

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