How American Idol Brought These Two Lovers Together

Rayvon Owen and Shane Bitney Crone

Few would consider American Idol a pivotal piece of their romantic journey. Now in its final season, the singing competition has been a part of the cultural lexcion for years and not always in a good way. But in a lengthy and heartfelt Facebook post, Shane Bitney Crone credits the show with repairing his broken heart and helping him find love with alum Rayvon Owen.

Owen, the soulful finalist of Idol's 14th season, publically came out in the music video for his first post-Idol single "Can't Fight It." During the romance-laden song, Owen croons about the unexpected love he can no longer fight against and ends the dark nightclub set video with a gay passionate kiss.

The day after the video premiered, Owen's male co-star in the video—Bitney Crone—publically announced their relationship. 

Bitney Crone was the subject of Bridegroom, an emotional documentary about the unexpected passing of his partner, Tom Bridegroom, and the unfortunate events that followed his death. Bridegroom fell off a friend's roof during an impromptu photo shoot and that tragedy was followed by Bridegroom's unaccepting parents blocking Bitney Crone from planning or attending the funeral. After his devastating loss, Bitney Crone began working to ensure other LGBT individuals aren't kept from properly mourning their partner.

In his sweet and romantic post on Facebook, Bitney Crone shares his and Owen's complete love story and how American Idol played a crucial role in their relationship.

Their love story began in late 2015 at World AIDS Day Detroit where Bitney Crone was volunteering and Owen was performing.

"As I left for the concert’s rehearsal, I walked out the large revolving door of my hotel and bumped into a tall, attractive man with a big, bright smile. He said hello, I said hello, and we went our separate ways. After a few paces I looked back to catch another glimpse of him and saw that he was doing the same. A curious feeling, one I hadn’t felt in over a decade, came over me.

The singers were rehearsing their numbers and as I fiddled with my phone, I heard the opening chords of Adele’s “Hello” ring out from the piano on stage. I looked up to see who was singing so beautifully and my heart started to beat rapidly—it was the guy from the hotel!

Not long after he finished singing, he walked over and introduced himself. His name was Rayvon Owen and he had been a finalist in the previous season of American Idol. That night, he and I talked for hours, remarking occasionally about how crazy and instantaneous our connection was."

Owen wasn't out when the two began dating, but had already decided to shoot his music video as a gay romance.

"I wondered if dating me would cause problems for Rayvon, who told me that only his close friends and immediate family knew he was gay. He had never come out publicly but realized that in order to be authentic, and to stand up for what he believed in, he needed to. He decided to shoot the music video for his first post-Idol single with a male love interest. Coincidentally, he had made that decision a few days before meeting me."

Owen wanted Bitney Crone to be the love interest in the music video. It would be an adorable moment of art imitating life.

"While he and I were in New York City for New Year’s Eve, he told me that he wanted me to be the guy in the video. Of course I said yes. I was proud of and inspired by him for using this significant moment of his career to do something that could empower young people. I also knew that it would be an incredible opportunity to share my new love with the people who had supported me throughout the past few years."

Bitney Crone ended his post with a hopeful note about the couple's future:

"I can’t predict the future, but if I’ve learned one thing from the past five years, it is that love and life are fleeting and I must live for the present. However long I get to be with Rayvon, I will cherish every moment.

Thank you to Rayvon for opening your heart to me. I'm proud of you and honored to be a part of your journey. I promise to do my best never to take it, or you, for granted. I know that we have many wonderful and exciting years ahead of us and I can’t wait to go out and make a difference in the world with you. I know we can spread love and hope by being true to ourselves and each other."

The entire post can be read on Shane Bitney Crone's Facebook.

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