Rachelle Chapman was dubbed the “paralyzed bride” by media after an incident at her bachelorette party left her paralyzed from the chest down in 2010. Her childhood friend, whose name she’s protected since the incident, pushed her into a pool, and Champan’s neck broke as she hit the water.
Nearly six years later, Chapman is finally opening up about the relationship at the center of this trauma.
“In the beginning, she was there for me and I was there for her,” Chapman told PEOPLE. “She was distraught and depressed about what happened. But as the years passed, she didn’t make the effort. It was just going through the motions, and every time we spoke, I just felt like I was remembering the accident and going into the pool and I had negative feelings. I didn’t feel that way in the beginning, but that’s what’s been happening over the last three years.”
Chapman, 30, is now the mother of 1-year-old daughter Kaylee, who was born via a surrogate, and has recently started to drive again. “It’s nice to finally have some independence and to know that I’ll be able to do more for Kaylee as she gets older,” she said. “It’s nice to know I can go wherever I want, whenever I want.”