How Dating TLC's Shauna Rae Impacted Dan Swygart's Life

TLC star Shauna Rae has dealt with her fair share of struggles, many of which are interpersonal. Standing at just 3 feet and 11 inches tall, Rae's pituitary dwarfism and battle with cancer has kept the 23-year-old looking 15 years younger. And when you look like you could be in the third grade, navigating the dating scene is that much harder.

In season two of "I Am Shauna Rae," however, things were looking up for Rae's love life. Dan Swygart, a 26-year-old Welsh businessman, flew to the United States to get to know Shauna and her family. Unfortunately, not everyone in the audience was on board with their unconventional relationship. After they went on a few dates, Swygart was slammed online for his interest in a woman with such a youthful appearance. The harsh criticism caused his mental health to plummet, though he continued to defend his relationship with the reality TV star.

Dan Swygart's relationship with Shauna Rae

Dan Swygart was recently interviewed on The Sarah Fraser Show, where he dished out all the details of his brief fling with Shauna Rae. Though "I Am Shauna Rae" fans were first introduced to him in season two, the pair had actually been messaging back and forth for eight months beforehand. He first encountered Rae on Instagram, where he was impressed by a video she posted, in which she talked openly and candidly about her experiences. "I was blown away by her life experiences and her emotional strength," he told Fraser.

He decided to send her flowers with an encouraging note, which said: "Go live your best life. Wishing you all the happiness you deserve." After she tagged him on Instagram to thank him, the two started chatting, kicking off a months-long friendship. He met up with her and her family in the U.S. prior to his appearance on the show, when he was visiting the country. Afterward, they became quite close, calling frequently. "We had really deep conversations about life," Swygart explained during the interview. "It was a very deep, emotional connection which we built up...before the show." It was only after they had built up this connection that Rae invited him onto the show — and that's when everything went south.

The backlash

Shauna Rae's rare disorder completely changed people's perceptions of her relationship with Dan Swygart. The coupling made headlines worldwide, with Chinese newspapers and Iranian news channels reporting on their connection. Swygart told Fraser, "I felt like the world was crushing me," going on to say that it was the worst he'd felt in his life up until that point. The worst part wasn't the hate he personally received, though — it was the constant barrage of hate sent to his loved ones. People sent messages and left rude comments on his family's Facebook posts, calling Swygart a "pedophile" and shaming his parents for raising him improperly. Not even his business contacts were safe from the harassment, putting Swygart's career in jeopardy.

Swygart finally reached his limit in 2023. He posted a response to the criticism on his Instagram, where he pushed back against the notion that she's basically a child. He accused detractors of ableism, saying, "How dare you take away her right, her human right, to have a connection, a relationship, a friendship, with someone else?" This was one of many videos he made defending his relationship with the star. Despite his fierce defense of Rae, their relationship ultimately didn't work out. Swygart's globetrotting lifestyle was not compatible with Rae's, who's continuing to make a name for herself from her show. The two are still good friends, though, and call each other about once a week.