After Howard and Maria Starks' sudden death
became the Sole Representant of the Familia. As the Mors Famliae is ill-viewed (particularly, when the Familia in question is in the Ton), Tony was encouraged to start the family. However, he was only nineteen, and not really interested in settling down, when he was still grieving his parents.
In resistance to the Ton's pressure, he spent the following decade philandering and playing around. His behaviour changed drastically after he hired Virginia de Potts
as his Praefecta. The pair soon became fast friends and Pepper's duties and privileges were a conglomerate of those of praefectus and those of socius.
They gradually fell in love and in 2005 admitted feelings to one another. For the next three years they carried on a not-so-much-secret-as-unacknowledged relationship.
After the assassination attempt in Afghanistan, the Ton started to put pressure on Tony to settle down. He, however, was extremely reluctant to the idea of having a consort and a paramour and realised she's the only person he would be willing to marry. Thus, he started lobbying to legalise his right to marry a signfera of his own Familia.
After almost three years, the Ton acquiesced under the stipulation that the union would be deemed unequal and would remain childless as the couple would adopt several children from other castes. Tony and Pepper both weren't able to have biological children, so they agreed on all stipulations. As the particulars of the unequal-union-contract were not regulated by the Rules of the Society
, they simply put their unofficial agreement into legal terms and simply began acting as if it was a done deal and no big scandal.