‘We’re like a married couple’, say platonic pals who wed to avoid tax bill

Two male best friends who married each other to avoid an inheritance bill have revealed their happiness in their platonic marriage as they near their first wedding anniversary.

‘We’re like a married couple’, say platonic pals who wed to avoid tax bill

Two male best friends who married each other to avoid an inheritance bill have revealed their happiness in their platonic marriage as they near their first wedding anniversary.

The heartwarming story of the unconventional couple, 85-year-old Matt Murphy and 58-year-old Michael Sullivan, captured the public’s imagination when they rang Liveline last year.

Matt told the radio show how the heterosexual pair came up with the offbeat solution to walk down the aisle to avoid inheritance tax.

In RTÉ series Liveline Callback the pair have revealed their contentment almost a year after they tied the knot in a Dublin city ceremony last December 22.

Michael said he believes their highly unusual nuptials was fated.

“I do think that it was meant to happen,” he said. “I had been going through a bad period in my life, I used to suffer with depression, and now I know that I’m going to come out of this.

“And I’m fortunate, I love Matt’s company, he’s a gentleman all the time”.

Matt added: “Oh I am — but I can be a divil too.” Michael smilingly added: “He can be a divil too.”

Michael said the pair, who live in a house in Stoneybatter, are like a married couple.

“It really was this inter-dependency. Matt needed someone, I needed someone, and that’s how it worked out.

We’re like a married couple and we are a married couple, it is like that.

The pair met almost 30 years ago and have remained incredibly close over the years.

Matt’s failing health coincided with Michael needing a new home when his was sold, so they agreed that Michael would be Matt’s carer.

“Matt said to me: ‘Why don’t you come look after me and you’ve got somewhere to live?’ ”, said

Michael.

“And that suited me greatly, you know. He said: ‘I can’t pay you, but I’ll leave you the house.’ I said: ‘That’s brilliant, that would be great.’ Otherwise I would have to sell the house because of the costs of inheritance tax. I would never be able to buy a house in the area again.”

Michael explained how Matt was talking to a pal when she came up with the unusual solution.

“She said: ‘The only thing to do is marry him.’ Matt was laughing... but then thought about it and one of the days, Matt turned around and said: ‘Michael will you marry me?’ And I said yeah, I would.”

Matt told the RTÉ series how he met his now husband over 30 years before, when they both worked for Telecom Éireann.

We sort of bonded and there was something, a click, friends you want to keep in touch with.

They told how their wedding was arranged on just a few days’ notice as they got a cancellation.

The RTÉ series revealed the Gardaí and the Revenue Commissioners had no issue with the wedding.

Michael said: “What we were doing was not illegal. The fear I had at the time was that people would just think we were doing this for money but there’s more to it than that.

“(Matt) has been so generous all his life — he looked after his grandparents until they died, he looked after his mother, bought her a small house in Cashel.

“He’s always been very generous to lots and lots of different people. So now, I suppose for nearly the first time, someone is taking care of him.”

Liveline Callback is on RTÉ One tonight at 7pm.

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