Fathers of the bride: The story behind the viral photos

For most of her life, 21-year-old Brittany Peck of Elyria, Ohio, felt caught in the middle -- torn between two men she truly adored -- her father Todd Bachman and her step-dad Todd Cendrosky.

"I felt like maybe I needed to just... [pick]. It was really, really tough," she said.

This all began back when Brittany was 6: her parents split up, then got wrapped up in a bitter custody battle riddled with lawyers and courtrooms.

Her dad, a short-haul truck driver, wanted custody -- and certainly had no interest in sharing his daughter with Brittany's new step-dad -- who says the ill-feelings were mutual.

"We did not get along, we tolerated each other," Cendrosky said. "That's probably the best way to describe it."

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Brittany Peck with her father Todd Bachman (L), and her stepfather Todd Cendrosky (R). Brittany Peck

Over the years, things did improve slightly. Both men came to realize they were both good fathers. But there was still a little tension in the air when the two families got together for Brittany's wedding last month. Her father was all set to walk her down the aisle, when all of a sudden ... he bolted.

"I said, 'I'll be back.' And that's when I walked down the aisle, grabbed Todd and said, 'Come on,'" Bachman says of inviting Cendrosky to escort Peck.

"He said, 'Hey, you had just as much a part of this as I did. You're going to come and help me walk our daughter down the aisle,'" Cendrosky remembers of the moment. "And that's when I lost it."

Hand in hand they went back to get Brittany - then arm in arm, they gave their daughter the wedding she always dreamed of.

"It meant the world to me. It was the happiest moment of my life walking down the aisle with both of them," Peck said.

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Brittany Peck's father and stepfather give her away at her wedding. Brittany Peck

Parents and step-parents are often at odds, but the wisest eventually realize that getting along isn't just best for the kids. It's best for them.

"When an individual accepts your children and treats them as his own, how can you not have respect for somebody like that," says Bachman.

Cendrosky says he'll never forget Bachman's gesture.

"He invited me to be part of that day. And that's something that can never be taken away. It'll always be there."

  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.