Aunt and Niece Confuse Internet With Age Gap in Viral Video

Olivia and Ella were born one year apart, are members of the same family and spent their childhoods together—but they're not sisters or cousins, they are aunt and niece.

The relationship between Ella, born in September 2000, and Olivia, born in October 2001, has surprised and confused TikTok users, after a video of them gained more than 1.4 million likes.

"When your mom doesn't give you a sister so your grandma has a baby a year, a month and a day after you're born," reads the on-screen text on the clip, as Ella and Olivia dance in the background.

Although the video has gone viral, with about 7.5 million views, a lot of TikTokers have struggled to work out which of the two young women is the aunt and which is the niece.

Ella's mom was just 20 when she gave birth to her. One year later, Ella's grandmother, who was 43 at the time, gave birth to Olivia. So, Olivia is the younger sister of Ella's mom—born a year after her niece.

In a follow-up video, the pair explain their family tree in greater detail, using photos to illustrate. "This is my mom and older sisters before I was born. Katy was born first, then Sarah, then Jacqueline, then Audra. Audra is 17 years older than me," says Olivia.

Ella and Olivia go on to show pictures of them growing up together, including some of them dressed in matching pyjamas or Halloween costumes. They could easily be mistaken for sisters—something TikTok commenters said was still true today.

They explain in the video: "We still hang out every day, we went to the same high school, we lived together, we played sports together, did everything."

Ella told Newsweek that the girls sometimes go with the term "cousins," as a way to avoid confusion: "Olivia and I decided to just go with being called 'cousins' because every time it came up that we were related, explaining our relation would be a nightmare. The idea that Olivia could be my aunt, despite her being a grade younger than me, seems to go over people's heads. I had to learn growing up that Olivia & I's relationship, which is so normal to us, was different than everyone else's aunt/niece relationships. So, sticking to cousins seems like a simpler route for everyone."

"Olivia and I grew up like sisters (and fought like them too). We were babysat by the same people, went to the same church and school, played on the same sports teams, currently work together, and live five feet away from each other. It's amazing that my aunt, because of our unique relationship, gets to be like my sister too," she added.

The one-year age gap may have confused TikTokers, but some commenters had even more extreme experiences. "Try having an uncle that is a baby and you're a teenager," wrote one viewer.

Another posted: "I had twin daughters two months after my oldest daughter had my first grandson. They are in kindergarten and on the same ball team."

"We did receive lots of comments saying that they didn't understand and needed a more in-depth explanation, but I was more amazed on how many comments were saying that they have a similar situation happening in their family, and that some were even more extreme than our situation," said Ella.

Update 6/7/21, 02:11 a.m. ET: This article was updated to add comments from Ella.

Friends walking together at sunset
Stock image of friends walking together at sunset. Two young women born one year apart have posted a viral video explaining that they are aunt and niece. Getty Images