EXCLUSIVE Parents of man ‘dating’ woman trapped in body of eight-year-old insist they are friends

EXCLUSIVE Parents of man, 26, ‘dating’ woman trapped in body of eight-year-old girl defend their son after he was branded a ‘creep’ and insist the pair are ‘just friends’

  • Dan Swygart, 26, has been romantically linked to Shauna Rae Lesick, 23, since they featured on her reality TV show in the USA
  • The Briton has since been accused of being a ‘creep’ as Shauna ‘looks like a kid
  • His parents have fought back and insisted the pair are ‘just friends’  

The parents of a man who has sparked controversy after dating a young woman trapped in the body of an eight-year-old girl has insisted the couple are ‘just friends’.

Dan Swygart, 26, has been romantically linked to Shauna Rae Lesick, 23, after they featured on her reality TV show in the USA.

The Briton has been accused of being a ‘creep’ and being attracted to 3ft 10in tall Shauna ‘because she looks like a kid’.

But his parents who live in a small rural village in North Wales have leapt to his defence claiming their relationship is not romantic despite them going on dates on her I Am Shauna Rae TV show in America.

Shauna Rae Lesick, 23, introduced Dan Swygart, 26, to her parents on a recent episode of her TLC reality TV series 'I am Shana Rae'

Shauna Rae Lesick, 23, introduced Dan Swygart, 26, to her parents on a recent episode of her TLC reality TV series ‘I am Shana Rae’ 

Dan has since been accused of being a 'creep' and being attracted to 3ft 10in tall Shauna 'because she looks like a kid'

Dan has since been accused of being a ‘creep’ and being attracted to 3ft 10in tall Shauna ‘because she looks like a kid’

His mother Helen told MailOnline: ‘Daniel rang me and told me the story has gone everywhere.’

She added: ‘They are just friends. There is no relationship.

‘They are friends.’

Packing away his skis after a day out in the snowy Welsh mountains, his father Steven, 60, said: ‘He has appeared in their show and that’s the extent of it.

‘That’s it, it’s as simple as that.

‘He looks at her and thinks she is a tremendous person despite her disability, she’s only small.’

Shauna was candid about how her parents are worried she'll attract pedophiles because she is 3 feet, 10 inches tall, the average height of an eight-year-old

Shauna was candid about how her parents are worried she’ll attract pedophiles because she is 3 feet, 10 inches tall, the average height of an eight-year-old

Dan, a traveler from Wales, saw the first season of her reality show and reached out to her on social media before sending her flowers, which led to them talking regularly

Dan, a traveler from Wales, saw the first season of her reality show and reached out to her on social media before sending her flowers, which led to them talking regularly 

Asked if there was any romance, Dan’s father insisted: ‘I think that’s extremely unlikely.’

Dan and Shauna met up in a recent episode of her TLC reality show.

Her stunted growth is a side effect of brain cancer treatment that she received as an infant, and unfortunately, her disability has made it hard for her to find love.

Some people have questioned Dan’s motives, especially after Shauna’s parents voiced fears over her young looks attracting a paedophile.

In a video shared to Instagram, Dan defended his date with the reality star.

Shauna introduced Dan to her mother and step-father, Patty and Mark Schrankel, who couldn't resist interrogating him

Shauna introduced Dan to her mother and step-father, Patty and Mark Schrankel, who couldn’t resist interrogating him

Dan's parents have insisted that the pair are 'just friends'

Dan’s parents have insisted that the pair are ‘just friends’ 

The Welshman explained that he built his relationship with her over ‘who she is an individual,’ rather than her appearance.

‘It’s very important to remember that Shauna is an incredible 23-year-old woman who has a disability,’ he said.

‘So as you are building a connection with her, it’s important to acknowledge her disability and look past that and build it with who she is an individual.

‘She’s this incredible, inspiring 23-year-old woman who just happens to be a little bit short.’

In the clip, Dan explained that he reached out to Shauna after watching the first season of the show and becoming ‘inspired by her emotional strength.’

They spent the day at an aquarium and escape room with her 18-year-old half-sister Rylee (pictured)

They spent the day at an aquarium and escape room with her 18-year-old half-sister Rylee (pictured)

He then sent her some flowers and a card saying, “Go live your best life. Wishing you all the happiness you deserve.”

They started messaging on social media, before he flew out to her hometown in Long Island, New York, where they went on a series of dates, all of which, were showcased in the show

During the Instagram video, Dan admitted that he knew he was going to get ‘some hate’ when he agreed to appear on the series, but called it ‘absolutely disgusting’ and ‘dehumanizing’ to Shauna.

The pair spent their first day together at an aquarium and escape room, and were joined by her 18-year-old half-sister, Rylee.

‘Rylee and I were both very anxious because we didn’t know what he wanted,’ Shauna admitted in the show.

Dan said: 'She's this incredible, inspiring 23-year-old woman who just happens to be a little bit short'

Dan said: ‘She’s this incredible, inspiring 23-year-old woman who just happens to be a little bit short’ 

‘He was also talking to both of us casually, so we didn’t know who he was into.’

In another part of the show, Dan came over to her house to make sushi rolls.

She introduced him to her mother and step-father, Patty and Mark Schrankel, who couldn’t resist interrogating him.

Patty asked him things like how often they talk, which Dan said was almost daily at that point, and what his intentions were.

Although Dan looked visibly uncomfortable during the questioning, he was open about how he wanted to take their daughter around the world with him on his travels.

‘I think Dan would be a really good match for Shauna because he’s very smart [and] adventurous,’ her step-father told the camera afterwards.

‘Shauna’s smart but not very adventurous. I think he could pull her out of [her] comfort zone but still make her safe.’

But many viewers slammed the relationship as ‘weird’, ‘concerning’, ‘uncomfortable,’ ‘creepy,’ and ‘not right.’

‘Sorry but the fact that he spotted her online and contacted her on purpose makes me feel uncomfortable since looks are usually the first and most important impression you get online,’ wrote one person.

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