Celebs spill on worst dating disasters
SOMETIMES it takes a lot of duds to find a date with destiny.
From ghosting and faulty gaydars to wedding belles, these celebrities reveal the highs and lows of looking for a perfect match.
BEING dumped by her boyfriend on the day her ex-husband was remarrying was already a classic case of terrible timing for Samantha Heathwood.
But, the news being delivered by text message, added the extra sting. "I'm sorry, I can't do this," were the words that popped up on her phone.
Luckily, Heathwood had a knight in shining armour in the form of best friend, publican Stu Laundy (Sophie Monk's former flame from The Bachelorette), who immediately swung into action.
"I really liked this guy and I could see a future with him; but he broke up with me with a text. It was really awful and it was Stu that was like, 'Oh crap, we better keep you busy for the weekend or you'll cry'," says 36-year-old single mum Heathwood, who was whisked away by Laundy to Sydney for the weekend.
"The guy came back like a week later and apologised and said, 'That's the worst thing I've ever done', and we gave it another go. I'm one divorce down so I don't expect things to be perfect or a walk in the park and I'm happy to compromise or put in the hard work if I think it's worth it. But we broke up again."
This Valentine's Day marks the fifth in a row that Heathwood - a Nine News regional presenter and mum to James, 9, and Henry, 5 - has been without a special someone to share the day of romance with. But she's philosophical about it.
"I'm not desperate and dateless," she says. "I'd just rather wait for the right person. I've had kids so I'm not in a rush but so far I've been unlucky in love. I know my right person is out there.
"But I would love to find my one person and build a future and life with them. The big dream is to have the perfect house everyone always wants to come to for Christmas, like a Myer catalogue. I'm really grateful for the life I have got - I love my friends, I love my kids and I'm not empty. I just function well in a relationship and I would like one because I've got a lot of love to give."
She's not shy about sharing her "unlucky in love" moments and laughs at some of her shocker dates stories. There was the guy who said, "Excuse me but I need to go and do a wee wee" every time he needed to use the bathroom. "I said, 'Can you not say that because it reminds me of my son?', but he kept saying it," she says with a laugh, "To this day he probably wonders why we didn't go on another date and it's because of that."
While she's not "a big dater" and has only had two serious relationships in the last few years, she has certainly encountered some duds.
"I had one awful date with this awful guy - we had dinner and I went to the bathroom and when I came back the table was cleared, so I sat down and everyone was looking at me, so I thought he must have paid and left, so I left," she says. Her date called her as she was heading home and said he was at the bar and asked her to come back, but Heathwood thanked him for dinner and told him: "Let's call it a night."
"He goes, 'I haven't paid and the booking is in your name', and hung up. I got a call from restaurant asking me to sort out the bill - it was so embarrassing," she says.
Heathwood grew up in Toowoomba and was 27 when she married. She describes her marriage breakdown as "horrific", but says she wouldn't change a thing about the "topsy turvy" life she's led. "I don't regret anything," she says. "I'm going to take my time to find the person I'll end up with. If I have more kids, that's a bonus but if I don't, I'm really happy with what I've got. I wouldn't change it and I'm really happy that my ex (husband) is happy."
HIT105 breakfast presenter
I had a huge crush on a guy at my university and couldn't believe when he asked me out for a drink. I worked casually in a clothes store and spent my entire wage on a new outfit. Our banter was going so well that one drink turned into a few and I suggested we go and get dinner, but he told me he couldn't as his boyfriend was coming to meet him soon as they had a dinner already planned. Worst gay-dar! Fifteen years later they have just got engaged and asked me to be their celebrant.
Owner and founder of menswear label Wil Valor
The shy girl I always liked at school but didn't EVER have the guts to ask out, actually asked me out! This was just at the time I had started playing with the Townsville Crocs basketball team, I said (a bit too dismissively), "maybe in a week or a month". She absolutely didn't appreciate that ... and it was the stupidest thing I have ever said. In my defence we were at a nightclub when this happened. I woke the next morning and couldn't believe what I said. Then, she made me work for it, MAN did she make me work - and good on her! It took three years of very consistent effort for us to get together. Worth it though ... we have an amazing family and I am a happy man.
My second date with a guy was at Wagaya in Fortitude Valley, where all of the tables are in contained, somewhat private booths. The dinner quickly descended into a heated discussion about social politics and resulted in me yelling at him across the dinner table about why I was pro-choice, and dissecting his arguments behind being pro-life. It was all very romantic. George Zhao and I have been together for almost four years now and he's now pro-choice.
One half of The Naked Magicians
When we toured America, I went on a few dates with a well-known actress-comedian. After a disastrous intimate encounter (I won't go in to specifics), we didn't end up catching up again, which was fine … until she was given her own TV comedy special. Imagine my horror when I'm watching her special and discover that she did a whole bit on our bedroom antics gone wrong. Lesson: don't date comedians.
TV presenter/author of Romantically Challenged (Penguin Random House)
One of my most embarrassing first dates was the time I thought early onset menopause had hit me, in all its glory, just after entree.
I'd just finished my insalata caprese when I suddenly started sweating profusely. I'm not talking about a delicate light mist, providing a radiant natural glow. Water was streaming out of my pores. I could feel a river of sweat running down my back and filling up my bum crack. I was desperate to run to the loo and dry myself off, but I was too scared to stand up and expose the giant wet patch on my rear, which would no doubt look like an embarrassing bladder leakage problem. Of course I'd worn the silk dress that night. So, I just sat there. Dripping. And pretending not to notice. My date did a fine job of pretending not to notice as well. The sweat tap miraculously turned itself off as soon as the date was over and it's never happened again. It wasn't early onset menopause after all. Maybe the chemistry between us was simply too hot to handle. It was clearly waaaaaay too hot for that guy. I never heard from him again.
10 News First sports presenter
My best dating story would have to be my wedding day. Jacqui, our son Archie and I went on a holiday to Fiji with some friends and thought, "We may as well get hitched while we're here". We didn't tell anyone except our parents and friends we went with and got married on the beach. The day and night were perfect: no stress, just a lot of fun.
RANGER" STACEY THOMSON
Totally Wild host
My favourite dating story was meeting my husband Rob McCall on the set of Totally Wild. We first met in 1992 - he was a cameraman. I thought he was really lovely but we were just mates. We were part of a really fun team and used to socialise a lot as a big group. We'd do dinners and start the night at opposite ends of the table but we would always end up next to each other. One night in 1996, we had been out for a Totally Wild dinner in the Valley and the rest of the office didn't know we were a couple, and there was a Bananarama concert at The Wickham afterwards and he held my hand, so everyone knew. We got married in 1998 in front of 30 of our closest family and friends at the Grand View Hotel in Cleveland and now we have two daughters, Bridget and Madi. It has been amazing, we've been really lucky. He makes me laugh.
When I was in Grade 8 at Balmoral State High School, I was in love (from afar) with a very shy Mark Barnes. It was unrequited love and I would drop hints to his mates that I liked him but to no avail. This went on for several months and was torture. Then on Valentine's Day in Grade 9, I went to my school bag and sitting on top of my books was a Valentine's card. I opened it up and it said 'Love Mark'. I was over the moon with excitement. A few days passed and I continued to smile like a Cheshire cat at him when we passed each other in the corridor. He always looked a bit bemused by my overzealous behaviour. After a couple of days of walking around on cloud nine a boy asked me if I got the card from Mark that he had put in my bag. I told him I did but I didn't realise he was a friend of Mark's, to which he replied, "Yep, me and Mark Harris have been mates since primary school." It was that devastating moment that I realised I had received the card from a different Mark. Happy to report the very shy Mark Barnes did eventually ask me out.
Actor, Home And Away
A bad date? Well, I wouldn't say it was a bad date, per se, because I don't know whether he quite knew it was a date, nor that I was even attending - or rather, rocking up to his house and climbing through his window. I was 20 and living in Brisbane at the time. I climbed two or three flights up. I'm amazing when determined and intoxicated. He let me stay but, my word, did I leave very quickly the next morning and I don't know whether I have had
a conversation with him since. A couple of friends have though and that would suggest I was not a favourite. At the time I really thought he was the one.
I'm not going to lie, that one didn't work out.
Competitive surf lifesaver and model, Dancing With The Stars
When I was 18 or 19, I went to the beach on a first date and, as we were walking out of the water, I flicked my hair back to try and get the water out of it, but when I threw my head back I gave her a nosebleed. I did the initial, 'Ooh, shit, sorry', and then I was like, 'Oh, my God' - you can imagine how bad I felt. It didn't hurt her as much as I thought it would because she happened to have no cartilage in her nose so we ended up laughing it off and spending a relaxing day at the beach. Surprisingly, there was a second date.
A few years ago I was in the very early stage of seeing a guy. He asked if I would like to go to a charity golf day and be in a team with him and his father. I had played golf once before in my life, and let's just say, I was less than impressive. That's definitely not what you want when you're still trying to appear far cooler and more accomplished than you actually are - not to mention meeting his family for the first time. Nevertheless, I agreed. Three holes in, no lost balls and only a few air swings and flying chunks of turf later, I still thought I could salvage my dignity. And then it all came crashing down. Literally. I mis-hit a ball into a tree and it lodged itself somewhere up in the canopy. I thought I could see the ball right up near the top, and made the impulsive and, in retrospect, very stupid decision to climb up after it.
I got up with more ease than dignity as my date and his dad stood at the bottom of the tree with slightly bewildered and mildly concerned expressions on their faces. I heard a crack and then I felt the branch under my foot give way. I dropped instantly. Made a wild grab at another branch which also promptly snapped, I clipped one final branch with a flailing foot and then I was flipped into a horizontal position and I plummeted to the ground. I landed face first in a puddle of mud right at my date's feet. I'm not joking, I had mud on my chin. I lay there in the mud, contemplating my rapid fall from grace, and wondered how I could ever come back from this. Surely I would always be 'that girl', the one who fell three metres out of a tree and landed flat on her face in the mud. And the worst part was, I didn't even retrieve my ball.
Executive producer, Triple M's The Big Breakfast in Brisbane
My worst date was dinner in Fortitude Valley with a girl who I was pretty rapt in. We had very similar interests and the conversation seemed to be flowing well. However, as the night went on I noticed there was probably going to be a problem … I ordered steak and a beer for dinner, and she ordered an entree and 12 wines. To cap it off she ordered espresso martinis for dessert! As the night wrapped up, I came back from the bathroom and she had vanished. Totally gone! The waiter came over with the $273 bill and told me my 'partner' said I'd cover it. Probably the best ghosting I've ever witnessed!
Actor, La Boite's Single Asian Female
So my beautiful partner John and father of my two girls took me out for lunch on our first official date. We were both pretty horribly hungover from the night before (when we first met). He was feeling so queasy all he could manage to order was some sort of salad and a lemonade. My remedy for a hangover is a massive steak and gravy chips. It was the best. To be honest I don't recall much of what we talked about, but he remembers watching me hoe down half a cow as he picked at his salad and knew I was the one for him.
Actor, QT's Death Of A Salesman
I had been living and working in the States, and a friend decided that the time was right for me to dive into the online dating whitewater. A 'match' popped up and he was Australian … OK, that's a start I thought. He was exactly as presented in his profile. Which is unusual. Nice, I thought. A few exchanges and then we sat down to dinner where he tells me he has a few rules about dating: one is never to date an Aussie; and the other is never to date an actress. Hmmmm. His third rule: "I'd like to tell your dateability by your cuticles," he says. Really? (This is getting weird.) Apparently the shape of your cuticles determines your relationship personality type, and mine don't pass his test. Strike three - no further date.
Years ago I ended up in this relationship with Isabella, a fundamentalist Christian. One night we went out for dinner, we had a great time and then we went back to my dad's place (he wasn't home). Dad's house has this fireplace that never gets used. I thought it would be romantic to sit around a fire and talk. So we built the fire and sat in front it with some wine; it was beautiful. We started kissing. She said she wanted to have sex. We hadn't had sex and I knew this was a massive deal to her. We started slowly undressing and lay in front of the fire, when suddenly a possum fell out of the chimney on to the fire! SCREECHING! It ran to us in the room. There is no way to describe the terror we felt. We jumped up and ran, hearts pounding. The possum screeched, running around the lounge room. I opened every door I could until it ran out. Isabella collapsed on to the couch in shock. She said, "I'm sorry but this is just all too much. I'm sorry, it's not you, it's just, I've gotta go …" And she picked up her bag, and left. I think she thought God had sent down the possum because she was about to have sex. I never heard from her again.