“She’s all I’ve wanted in a woman”
Ahead of their wedding this month, The Bachelor’s Tim Robards and Anna Heinrich talk to Stellar about the happy ending to their reality-television romance.
Tim Robards planned to ask Anna Heinrich to marry him at El Questro station, deep in the Kimberley. The bustling station didn’t allow them much privacy, so as soon as they checked in, Robards suggested they take a dinghy out on the crocodile-infested Chamberlain Gorge. He wore a collared shirt over board shorts and carried a bag, in which he had packed two things: an engagement ring and a drone.
Heinrich was reluctant. “It was probably an hour before lunch, and Tim’s like, ‘Oh, let’s go out on the dinghy.’ And I was like, ‘Oh… should we?’” She soon found herself floating down the gorge on a 40°C day, watching with curiosity as her oddly dressed boyfriend launched a drone from the tiny boat.
One thing struck her as strange. “He never wears a shirt, so I was like, ‘Tim, why do you have a shirt on still?’” He stripped it off but, for his part, Robards was still quietly freaking out. “My heart’s thumping,” he recalls for Stellar. “And I’m trying not to crash my drone and I’m also about to propose. And I say, ‘You know what would be good right now? A bloody cold beer.’ And then I say, ‘What would make it better for you?’ And she goes, ‘I don’t know, a cold washer?’ So I say… ‘What if I professed my love for you and said every moment in the last whatever years has been amazing?’
“I was already on my knees. I reached in my pocket, and I had a little box, and she just started bawling.”
Fittingly for a couple whose romance began on television, Robards’s drone captured the entire proposal from above. “The whole recording and the sound,” Heinrich says. “Not many people have seen it. I haven’t, even.”
Back in 2013, Tim Robards was the first leading man on The Bachelor Australia. He was the first to welcome 25 dazzling young women as they arrived to vie for his hand, and the first to whittle his choices down to two contestants before breaking the heart of one and fulfilling
“I had a genuine belief I could find somebody”
the dreams of the other. His love story with Heinrich, a criminal lawyer who still lived at home and had never had a boyfriend, won the nation’s heart.
And this month he will also become the first Australian Bachelor to wed, when he and Heinrich walk down the aisle. While their romance began on film, blossomed in front of paparazzi and culminated in a proposal on camera, they have somehow kept their relationship real. This is a couple in love; they tease each other, finish each other’s sentences, and, even after five years, gaze adoringly at one another. “You do everything from a good place, from a good heart, from a place that is not about ego,” Robards tells his wife-to-be, as Stellar looks on. “That’s what makes you an intelligent and beautiful person.”
Robards trusts the universe, and it seemed intent on introducing him to Heinrich. Before he agreed to become The Bachelor, Robards says he felt he was seeing signs everywhere. “I was like, ‘I don’t know if I want to [be The Bachelor],’ and my mum actually said – my mum reckons she’s a bit psychic – she said, ‘Tim, I really feel like this is not just something you will do that will pass over. I feel like you’ll meet someone you’re going to end up with.’”
That person was midway through the queue of 25 carefully coiffed women lining up to meet him when the series debuted in September 2013. Robards, a fitness fanatic, laughs as he remembers their first encounter. “[Anna] had this very raspy voice and I thought she sounded like a smoker. I thought, ‘Hmmm… this one might be doomed as well.’ Just when you think you get ahead and get a nice one, she’s a smoker!” Happily, he was wrong.
Besides her beauty, he was charmed by Heinrich’s humility. “She could laugh at herself. She was quite nervous compared to some girls who were so confident. She seemed so down to earth.” Heinrich hides her face in her hands as she hears this. “This is so awkward,” she says.
Heinrich wasn’t on The Bachelor simply to up her Instagram follower count. Like Robards, she wanted to meet someone. “I had a genuine belief I could find somebody, so I think everything was aligned,” she says. “I never like to put the show down because we’re so thankful, but I feel the intentions with the show now are slightly different. For us, it was really right, and because it was so new and fresh, they really wanted a couple to find each other. I wouldn’t go on [the show] today.”
Heinrich was 26 at the time, had never been in a relationship and lived at home. Her mother did her cooking and cleaning. Heinrich would move in with Robards six months after The Bachelor finished; it was not an easy adjustment. “I had to train her up a bit,” Robards says. “She was used to communicating with her sisters and her girlfriends but had never [been] in a loving relationship, so that’s been great. She has learnt to communicate.”
Heinrich says living together gets better every day. “Moving in, I had to learn Tim’s ways and what he liked, and also what I like. Tim’s a really great communicator, so if there were any issues that we had, we would always talk it out. We’ve both got strong opinions and we like them to be heard, but the best thing for us is overcoming that.”
Fame may not have lured them onto the set of The Bachelor, but they have found it nonetheless. The downsides include intrusive paparazzi, gossip, and nasty headlines. “You can be somewhere and you’re talking about your work, and you might be pulling a bit of a foul face,” Robards, 35, says. “Next minute, it’s ‘Tim and Anna are breaking up!’”
But they have also enjoyed the benefits of their high profile, as evidenced by their Instagram accounts full of glamorous frocks, fancy parties and exotic locations. They have lucrative endorsements – between them they are ambassadors for brands including Oral-b, Pantene
and Infinite Cycle – and Robards, a chiropractor, has flagged a desire to act. “I don’t go, ‘Oh, I wish we didn’t have any public and we just could move into our own little shell and be ourselves.’ I don’t want that at all,” he says.
“We pull each other into line,” he continues. “Like… as much as you want, you should not do the cover of Playboy.” Heinrich swats at Robards, scolding him for his teasing. “Tim! Don’t say that.”
Their meeting may have been unconventional, but Robards wanted some traditions to be followed when he proposed in May last year. While on a sailboat with Heinrich’s father Les, a week before he would propose, Robards tried to ask his permission to marry his daughter.
“I meant to say something like, ‘Les, look, I think it’s about time I broke the Heinrich curse,’ as he’s got three daughters and none of them are engaged yet – but they’d all been in relationships,” Robards says. “And when I went to say it, I was like, ‘Uh, Les, there’s a curse, and, um, I want to break it.’ I was so tongue-twisted.” Les saw past the nerves and gave his blessing.
Their upcoming wedding in Italy has been shrouded in secrecy; they’re determined this part of lives, at least, will remain private. “We’re happy to share it later on, down the track, when we’re ready,” Heinrich says. “We made a decision to put out some of our first photos on social media. For the day itself, we just want to keep it between us and our family and friends because it’s a very important day for both of us.”
A family is likely to follow. They’d like two children, and have already tossed up one name, Rocky Robards. “[Having kids] won’t be straight after the wedding,” Heinrich says. “I know Tim’s thinking more next year. I’d love to spend more time with Tim, travelling more. We are so excited to have kids, but we also love our time together. So I think maybe within a year or two, after the wedding.”
Robards doesn’t want to leave it too long. “I can’t be an old man before I have kids. I need a little boy to follow… Tim the Second, does that work? Timmy Junior?”
There’s one detail they have yet to discuss: whether Anna will remain a Heinrich, or if she will take her groom’s surname. “Uh, I think so, it’s not confirmed,” she admits. Robards looks aghast. “You think so?” The matter is quickly decided. “OK, yes, yes I will! Yes I will,” she says, nudging him. “Anna Robards. I think it has a nice ring to it.”
As far as these two are concerned, fate was at work on the 2013 debut season of The Bachelor. “I’m a big believer of when you put something out into the universe, it will generally come back,” Robards says. “I did a lot of work on myself, my values and what I wanted out of life before I went on the show. I would sit there and write down 50 things I wanted out of the ideal woman. And pretty much all of those things came true.” He grins. “Except I wrote brunette.”
Heinrich laughs. “It’s true! I saw that list. But 49 out of 50 – that’s not bad! I think I deserve a high five.”
She gets her high five.
“I can’t be an old man before I have kids”
ANNA WEARS Zara jacket and pants, zara.com/au; Matin top, matinstudio. com; Uniqlo socks, uniqlo.com/au; Stuart Weitzman shoes, davidjones.com; her own ring (worn throughout) TIM WEARS Hugo Boss coat, hugo boss.com/au; Ben Sherman jacket, davidjones.com; Zara sweater,as before; Lacoste pants, lacoste.com.au; R.M. Williams boots, rmwilliams.com.au; his own watch (worn throughout)
ANNA WEARS Lacoste jumper, as before; Lee Mathews top, lee mathews.com.au; White Story skirt, whitestory. com.au; Uniqlo socks, as before; R.M. Williams boots, as before TIM WEARS Jac + Jack jacket, jacandjack.com; Venroy blazer, venroy. com.au; Zara jumper, as before; Levi’s jeans, levis.com.au; R.M. Williams boots, as before
REALITY CHECK (below from left) The moment Tim Robards and Anna Heinrich first met on the inaugural season of The Bachelor Australia in 2013; the couple on a dinghy in the Kimberley where they got engaged last year.