The parents of a man who sparked controversy after dating a young woman trapped in the body of an eight-year-old girl insisted the couple were “just friends”.
Dan Swygart, 26, has been romantically linked to Shauna Rae Lesick, 23, after they appeared on her US reality TV show.
The Brit has been accused of being a “creeper” and of being attracted to 3ft 10in Shauna “because she looks like a kid”.
But his parents, who live in a small rural village in north Wales, have rushed to his defence, claiming their relationship is not romantic despite dating in America on their TV show I Am Shauna Rae.
Shauna Rae Lesick, 23, introduced Dan Swygart, 26, to her parents in a recent episode of their TLC reality TV series I am Shana Rae.
Dan has since been accused of being a “sneaker” and of being attracted to 3’10” Shauna “because she looks like a kid”.
His mother, Helen, told MailOnline: “Daniel called me and told me the story got everywhere.”
She added: “They’re just friends. There is no relationship.
‘They are friends.’
His father Steven, 60, packed his skis away after a day in the snowy Welsh mountains and said: “He’s performed on their show and that’s the scale of it.
“It is, it’s as simple as that.
“He looks at her and thinks that despite her disability, she’s a great person, she’s just short.”
Shauna has been open about how concerned her parents are that she is attracting pedophiles because she is 3ft 10 inches tall, the average height of an eight year old
Dan, a traveler from Wales, watched the first season of her reality show and reached out to her on social media before sending her flowers, leading to them chatting regularly
When asked if there was any romance, Dan’s father insisted, “I think it’s extremely unlikely.”
Dan and Shauna recently met on an episode of their TLC reality show.
Her stunted growth is a side effect of brain cancer treatment she received as an infant, and unfortunately her disability has made it difficult for her to find love.
Some people have questioned Dan’s motives, particularly after Shauna’s parents expressed concerns that her young looks would attract a pedophile.
In a video shared on Instagram, Dan defended his date with the reality star.
Shauna introduced Dan to her mother and stepfather, Patty and Mark Schrankel, who couldn’t resist questioning him
Dan’s parents have insisted the pair are “just friends.”
The Welshman explained that he based his relationship with her more on “who she is as an individual” than on her looks.
“It’s very important to remember that Shauna is an incredible 23-year-old woman who has a disability,” he said.
“So when you connect with her, it’s important to acknowledge and look past her disability and build it with her personality.
“She’s this incredible, inspiring 23-year-old woman who just so happens to be a little short.”
In the clip, Dan explained that he reached out to Shauna after watching the show’s first season and being “inspired by her emotional strength.”
They spent the day with their 18-year-old half-sister Rylee (pictured) in an aquarium and escape room.
He then sent her some flowers and a card that read, “Go live your best life. I wish you all the happiness you deserve.”
They began communicating on social media before he flew to her hometown of Long Island, New York, where they went on a series of dates, all featured on the show
During the Instagram video, Dan admitted he knew he’d get “some hate” for agreeing to appear on the series, but called it “absolutely gross” and “dehumanizing” for Shauna.
The couple spent their first day together in an aquarium and escape room, and were joined by their 18-year-old half-sister, Rylee.
“Rylee and I were both very worried because we didn’t know what he wanted,” Shauna admitted on the show.
Dan said: “She’s this incredible, inspirational 23-year-old woman who just so happens to be a little short.”
“He was also casually talking to both of us, so we didn’t know who he was into.”
In another part of the show, Dan came to her house to make sushi rolls.
She introduced him to her mother and stepfather, Patty and Mark Schrankel, who couldn’t resist questioning him.
For example, Patty asked him how often they talked, what Dan was saying almost daily at this point, and what his intentions were.
Though Dan looked visibly uncomfortable during questioning, he was open about taking their daughter with him on his travels around the world.
“I think Dan would be a really good match for Shauna because he’s very smart [and] adventurous,” her stepfather said to the camera afterwards.
“Shauna is smart but not very adventurous. I think he could pull them out [her] Comfort zone, but still make them safe.’
But many viewers slammed the relationship as “weird,” “worrying,” “awkward,” “creepy,” and “not right.”
“I’m sorry but the fact that he discovered you online and purposely contacted you makes me uncomfortable as looks are usually the first and most important impression people get online,” one person wrote.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11663157/EXCLUSIVE-Parents-man-dating-woman-trapped-body-eight-year-old-insist-friends.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 EXCLUSIVE Parents of man dating woman trapped in eight-year-old’s body insist they are friends