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Palin set to be mother-in-law as split couple reunite to wed

Alaska's most famous unwed parents have announced plans to get married -- whether or not the "intimidating and scary" mother of the bride-to-be approves.

Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston, who first announced their engagement when Sarah Palin was presented to the world as John McCain's running-mate in 2008, have since had a baby, broken up and started careers as B-list celebrities.

They chose a celebrity magazine yesterday in which to pose with their son Tripp, 19 months, and reveal that they became engaged again two weeks ago after a meeting to work out child custody arrangements.

Before the meeting "I had no hope", Mr Johnston told US Weekly. Afterwards "we both just started talking, and we took Tripp for a walk".

His fiancee added: "When he left that night we didn't hug or kiss but I was thinking how different it was. He texted me, 'I miss you. I love you. I want to be with you again' ... I was in shock."

The same can be said of most of the celebrity watchers who have been forced to keep one eye on Wasilla, Alaska, since the Palin clan burst into America's collective consciousness -- first as a potential Second Family and then as fodder for stories of break-up and betrayal, some of them apparently false.

The first stories involved Miss Palin and Mr Johnston two weeks after their son was born in December 2008. The second involved Mr Johnston and his putative mother-in-law.

The couple said that they decided to get back together without telling their parents. "It is intimidating and scary just to think about what her reaction is going to be," Miss Palin said.