The moment I knew: as I watched her brush her daughter’s hair, something in my heart just burst

<span>Photograph: Supplied</span>
Photograph: Supplied

In 2014 I was shooting the second season of The Bachelor in Sydney. I’d been living in the US for years and was back in Australia for just 10 weeks. Early on during shooting, Carla, the makeup artist I had worked with since my first day in television, realised she had double-booked and arranged a replacement for herself.

For years, I’d been sitting in the chair complaining to Carla about my love life and as she left to do this other job she said to me of her understudy: “You’re welcome.”

The next week I showed up to work, and there’s Audrey with her Disney princess eyes looking at me across the set. I’d ridden my bike to work in the rain and was in a bit of a state, but seeing her that first time truly took my breath away.

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For the first week I was very low-key – I mean, everyone has the right to come to work and not have to dodge advances from co-workers. I didn’t want to be that guy.

My workaround was to offer her some tickets to a gig with a plus one figuring if she brought a bloke I’d know where I stood.

On the night, her friend was running late, and as we waited Audrey said: “I hope you like blondes.” As the penny dropped, I said, without thinking: “I’m not interested in your friend, I’m interested in you.”

Quick-witted and funny as always, she replied: “Well, I wish you would have told me, I would have showered. I’ve come straight from work.”

It became instantly so clear to me: this is it, I want to be around these two, I don’t want to be in America any more

Over the next few months we got to know each other fast, but soon it was time for me to head back to the US. Over the Aussie summer holidays we made plans for Audrey and her 10-year-old daughter to come and visit me. I was living in Venice Beach, California, so obviously Disneyland was on the cards.

The second day we were there, I was sitting drinking my terrible American coffee, watching her be so incredibly nurturing with her child as she brushed her hair to look like Snow White for the day. Something in my heart just burst. It became instantly so clear to me: “This is it, I want to be around these two, I don’t want to be in America any more.”

She was already the kindest human I’d ever met; funny and so, so smart. But I wasn’t just dating her. She and her daughter came as a package and seeing them together in that moment changed everything for me.

What I had gone to America to achieve, I had achieved. What I wanted out of life had changed. Suddenly there was nothing left for me there. Anything more that could have been gained by staying would never make me feel as wonderful as being with these two people. Nothing gave me as much drive and hope to be the best I could be as they did.

And that was it, I was done. I packed my things and was wheels down in Australia within six weeks.

We were married just two years later. I knew well enough not to waste anyone’s time and it was important to send that message to both Audrey and her daughter that I was there for keeps and we’d be there for each other.

Related: ‘My heart ached for weeks’: Osher Günsberg on losing a bass guitar and getting glasses

Nearly 10 years later I’m still totally enchanted. It’s so important to reflect on your blessings and not become habituated to them. You don’t need to be doubled over in gratitude every second, but I do think on a daily basis how extraordinary it is that this is the life that we have made together, and how wonderful that is.

Carla never ceases to remind me what an excellent job she did in setting us up, and I’ve never ceased to be grateful for it.

  • Osher Günsberg is the host of The Bachelors, which airs on Channel 10 from Sunday to Wednesday at 7.30pm, and is available to stream on 10Play