Interracial couples: People stare and nudge each other

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When Prince Harry married Meghan Markle there was a lot of attention on Meghan's race.

Interracial couples may seem common but the latest figures show they account for only 7% of relationships in England and Wales.

The latest Newsbeat documentary, Interracial Couples: Our Stories, gives a snapshot of life in an interracial relationship in 2018.

We hear couples' experiences, from the good and the bad to the straight up awkward.

'How do you know she's not a man?'

Image caption,
Ian didn't waste any time after meeting Gigi

Ian, from Great Yarmouth, was introduced to Gigi, from the Philippines, by a friend.

They really got on.

The problem was that she was based in Hong Kong and he was in England.

After speaking online for a few months, Ian flew out to visit.

Image caption,
Ian and Gigi have been in a relationship for five years

"When I came out of the airport and saw her, I instantly knew she was the one," Ian tells Newsbeat.

He's not lying either - the 27-year-old proposed four days later.

"I got mixed reviews, my mum didn't speak to me for a bit, she thought I was being impulsive."

Ian's friends also had their concerns.

Image caption,
Ian and Gigi on their wedding day with Ian's family

"They said things like, 'She's only marrying you for the money', or 'She might be a man, how do you know she's not a man?'"

Despite the negative comments, Ian and Gigi, 32, got married and now live together in the UK with their two children.

'This is where I'm from, this is my roots'

Image caption,
Scottish Cazz with Ugandan-born Silver

Cazz was working in a bar when she met Silver, 28, who was born in Uganda.

It wasn't long before the 29-year-old noticed some cultural differences.

"I very quickly realised that when I was dating Silver, I was also dating his friends," she says.

Image caption,
Silver, on the left, with his friends and Cazz

"I'd ask to go around his flat, thinking it would just be the two of us, but about ten of his friends would be there.

"I guessed that was an African cultural thing - but I really enjoyed it, it was good fun."

A few years into their relationship, they went to Uganda to meet Silver's extended family.

Image caption,
Cazz found her trip to Uganda a bit much

Cazz says she was excited to meet the family, but was taken a little bit by surprise.

"I wasn't expecting there to be over 80 people to meet," she says.

"I was paraded as his girlfriend, which really means wife. I wasn't prepared for how intense it would be."

Silver was concerned that Cazz didn't cope as well as he thought she would.

"I kept thinking, 'If this isn't working for you, well this is where I'm from, this is my roots'," he says.

The couple split up after the trip to Uganda.

Image caption,
It's not all doom and gloom for Silver and Cazz though...

After 18 months apart, they decided to get back together.

"I started seeing things from Cazz's perspective," Silver says.

"I put too much much expectation on the situation.

"When we saw each other again, it felt really nice, it felt like the pressure had been taken off."

'The biggest thing for them is: she's a woman'

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Sabrina and Olivia say race isn't always their biggest problem

Sabrina, 29, met Olivia, 26, on a night out seven years ago.

Olivia is white British and Sabrina is half Singaporean Malay and half white.

They live in rural Surrey - but say they get more stares from people when they're in central London.

"People look at us and literally nudge the person next to them," Olivia told us.

Not all of Sabrina's family know about her relationship with Olivia, but she doesn't think her race would be a problem.

"I think that the biggest thing for them, rather than the fact I'm with a white woman, is that I'm with a woman," Sabrina said.

Image caption,
Olivia with Sabrina's family

"When it comes to having children that's where we might have slight difficulties," Sabrina said.

"It could turn out I'm the mother to two white children that don't look anything like me, but that's something we'll tackle as a family."

Image caption,
Sabrina and Olivia celebrated the royal wedding

Olivia said their wedding is likely to be quite unconventional.

"Our wedding day can be whatever we want it to be.

"It's certainly going to represent us as individuals and part of that is our cultural background."

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