This Is the Real Couple ‘A Walk to Remember’ Was Based On

There are some movies that stick with you no matter how long it has been since you last saw them. A Walk to Remember is one of those films. Now that the movie is turning 19, fans are reminiscing on the love story that touched so many people. Though Mandy Moore and Shane West brought the story to life, there is a real-life couple who inspired the movie.

Mandy Moore and Shane West in 'A Walk to Remember'
Mandy Moore and Shane West in ‘A Walk to Remember’ | Warner Brothers/Getty Images

What was ‘A Walk to Remember’ About?

A Walk to Remember had all of the classic trappings of a teenage love story. At the opening of the film, Landon Carter and his friends convince a new student to jump into a lake, telling him that it’s an initiation into their friend group. After the student is seriously hurt, all of Landon’s friends flee and Landon is the only one left to get in trouble. In order to save himself from getting expelled from school, Landon agrees to do certain community service projects, including participating in the school play.

While practicing for the school play, Landon starts spending more time with Jamie Sullivan, a Christian girl who has very few friends. The two quickly fall in love and start dating. Later, Jamie tells Landon that she has cancer and hasn’t been responding to treatments. Landon spends the rest of the movie working to check off things on Jamie’s bucket list.

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The real-life couple behind ‘A Walk to Remember’

The film A Walk to Remember was based on Nicholas Sparks’ book of the same name. Sparks got the idea for the book after his sister was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

“It was largely inspired by my younger sister,” Sparks once said. “This was at a hard time in my life. I had lost my mother, I had lost my father earlier, and my sister had developed a tumor all in a very short period of time and it was very challenging. So I wrote ‘A Walk to Remember’ and it was largely inspired by my sister. My sister is Jamie Sullivan.”

“Like Jamie Sullivan, my sister wore this ugly brown cardigan to school every day,” he said. “Like Jamie Sullivan, she befriended every animal in the neighborhood and helped get it better, like Jamie Sullivan, she carried a bible to school.”

Like Jamie, Sparks’ sister didn’t have many big dreams, she just wanted to be married.

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“Like Jamie Sullivan, she got sick, she got cancer. And like Jamie Sullivan, there was a boy in her life. And like Landon Carter, for a long time, this guy knew there was no way he could ever marry a girl like her. He knew he could never fall in love with a girl like her and yet, like Landon Carter, he did and like Landon Carter, even when she got sicker and sicker and we knew she wasn’t going to make it, he got down on his knees and asked her to marry him. And I remember thinking that’s just about the sweetest thing that anyone’s ever done for anybody.”

Though the book was about her, Spark’s sister never read A Walk to Remember as she said she didn’t want to know how the story ended. She died in June 2000.