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Girlfriend of paralympian says it ‘hurt’ being accused of ‘using’ him for social media views


Girlfriend of US Paralympic hockey player born without legs reveals she’s been accused of ‘using’ her partner for social media fame after going viral on TikTok

  • Ice sled hockey player Brody Roybal, 23, from Tennessee was born with no legs 
  • He won a gold medal with Team USA at both 2014 and 2018 Winter Paralympics
  • Brody and girlfriend Menecis Garriga went viral on TikTok with 1.5M followers  
  • Menecis says that ‘nothing prepares’ you to face judgment from people online

A woman who went viral making TikTok videos with her Paralympian partner has says she’s learned to ‘sit back and laugh’ at accusations that she’s  ‘using’ her boyfriend to get more views on social media.  

Congenital amputee Brody Roybal, 23, has been missing both of his legs since birth, and has won gold medals for Team USA at the 2014 and 2018 Winter Paralympics playing ice sled hockey. 

He started dating girlfriend Menecis Garriga three years ago and the couple have since racked up 1.5 million followers and 40 million likes on their shared TikTok page.  

Appearing on This Morning today from their Tennessee home, Menecis says that while it ‘hurt her at first’ to receive criticism online, she won’t let trolls online define her relationship with Brody. 

Congenital amputee Brody Roybal, 23, (pictured)  has been missing both of his legs since birth and started dating girlfriend Menecis Garriga (pictured) three years ago

The couple have since racked up 1.5 million followers and 40 million likes on their shared TikTok page

They share funny videos on their page and while they have had praise, have also received criticism from trolls

The couple have since racked up 1.5 million followers and 40 million likes on their shared TikTok page but have received criticism from trolls who say that she is ‘using’ her partner for views on social media 

‘At first – because nothing prepares you to face judgment from people you don’t know, we were lucky our whole lives to grow up with the same people and have that support –  when a stranger came and questioned my love for Brody, I thought they were joking. 

‘When I realised people genuinely were thinking I was using Brody, it really hurt me at first and it came from  Brody he was like “These people don’t know us, they don’t know everything we’ve been through, they don’t know that we’ve known each other our whole lives, so why let someone define how you feel for me?”

‘I was finally able to sit back and kind of laugh at the thought that people think you would have to use someone. ‘ 

The pair met in primary school in Melrose Park, Illinois, but didn’t become close friends until they went to high school.  

Appearing on This Morning today from their Tennessee home, Menecis says that while it 'hurt her at first' to receive criticism online, she won't let strangers online define her relationship with Brody

Appearing on This Morning today from their Tennessee home, Menecis says that while it ‘hurt her at first’ to receive criticism online, she won’t let strangers online define her relationship with Brody

Their first date was in 2018 and Menecis, who studied business at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), was the first one to confess her romantic feelings. 

Their TikTok page sees the couple partaking in viral dance trends, making comedy sketches and sharing clips of their adorable dachshund. 

Brody says that Menecis is very ‘expressive about her love’ and the pair are sharing their story on YouTube, already boasting 4.87K subscribers.

 ‘It’s kind of crazy how lucky we got to have known each other our whole lives and finally reach high school and college and be able to say “Oh my god this is more than what best friends feel for each other”, and being able to do life together and figure it out together’, said Menecis. 

When asked by hosts Eammon Holmes and Ruth Langsford whether his disability had ever been an issue for the couple, Menecis said: 'Honestly no'

When asked by hosts Eammon Holmes and Ruth Langsford whether his disability had ever been an issue for the couple, Menecis said: ‘Honestly no’ 

When asked by hosts Eammon Holmes and Ruth Langsford whether his disability had ever been an issue for the couple, Menecis said: ‘Honestly no.

‘I think a lot of times when that question is asked people expect a yes but truthfully we met so young that was put out the way at a very young age.

‘I was able to see what Brody was capable of, and I was able to learn he really has no limitation and is devoted to doing anything he wants to do. For us it was never a thing like that.’ 

Brody added: ‘My parents at a young age had always pushed me to push the boundaries of what it means to be a person with a disability and go out there and try as many things as you can. 

‘So I really owe it to them for pushing me through it and keeping me positive through the situation.’   

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