DAN & YUKI’S SUM­MER LOVIN’

Theshow’s love­birds are more com­mit­ted than­ever

Woman’s Day (NZ) - - Contents -

They’re the big ro­mance of the sec­ond se­ries of Mar­riedat FirstSight NZ, but don’t you dare com­pare love­birds Dan McLaugh­lan and Yuki Sato to first-sea­son sweet­hearts Brett and An­gel Re­nall.

“We don’t re­ally like that be­cause they’re not us and we’re not them,” in­sists the Welling­ton elec­tri­cian, 30. “We’re just an­other suc­cess­ful cou­ple on TV.”

In­stead, Dan would pre­fer we call them the new Prince Harry and Duchess of Sus­sex, ex­plain­ing, “I’m a pasty white boy who’s mar­ried a hot chick from an­other coun­try!”

But when Woman’sDay men­tions the big baby news Harry and Meghan re­cently shared, Dan swiftly back­tracks. Grin­ning, he says, “We’re happy for them, but that’s not go­ing to hap­pen for a few years for us.”

How­ever, he and Yuki con­fess start­ing a fam­ily was some­thing they talked about early on, dur­ing their hon­ey­moon in Bali, with Dan ad­mit­ting, “We’re on the same page.”

Since the Three re­al­ity se­ries ended, he and the Ja­panese-born, Christchurch­based hair­styl­ist, 32, have been get­ting used to a long-dis­tance re­la­tion­ship. Yuki tells, “We were so close to­gether for four weeks, so it’s re­ally hard be­ing apart all of a sud­den – I cry all the time and he usu­ally laughs at me – but I thought it would be harder than it is.”

Nod­ding, Dan adds, “It does suck not be­ing able to see Yuki ev­ery day af­ter spend­ing so much time to­gether, but we’re talk­ing, call­ing and tex­ting ev­ery day. The hard­est thing has been keep­ing the re­la­tion­ship on the down-low un­til the show fin­ishes – when you meet some­one spe­cial, you want to tell the en­tire world.”

Laugh­ing, Yuki agrees, “We need T-shirts that say, ‘We got mar­ried!’”

Yet the pair have yet to ut­ter “the L word”, with Yuki con­fid­ing, “I could say it, but he’s such a Kiwi bloke and it’s such a heavy word for him. I’m just go­ing to wait. It’ll come, hope­fully.”

In the mean­time, the smit­ten duo have made plans to meet up over sum­mer, with Dan con­fess­ing they’re look­ing for­ward to “drink­ing a few too many beers or wines over fish and chips on the beach”. And in Novem­ber, Yuki will meet his par­ents.

“I’m so ner­vous about meet­ing my in-laws for the first time!” Yuki ad­mits. “It’s strange be­cause they al­ready know me from the show.”

But Dan in­sists, “Mum and Dad are easy-go­ing like me, so she’s got noth­ing to worry about. They love how smiley and happy she is, and they’re glad we get on so well to­gether.”

Im­press­ing­dad

The cou­ple have also talked about Dan com­ing face to face with his wife’s fam­ily in her na­tive Saitama, near Tokyo, pos­si­bly dur­ing next year’s Rugby World Cup. Yuki says, “My par­ents have met him on Skype and they’re fine, but be­cause I’m an only child, my dad wants to make sure he’s OK.”

Dan laughs, “Yuki’s fa­ther is go­ing to put me through a cou­ple of hur­dles, but I’ll be al­right. I’ll try to drag my par­ents over to Ja­pan too. They were al­ready talk­ing about go­ing to the World Cup, so now there’s a good ex­cuse be­cause I’m mar­ried to a Ja­panese girl.”

Yuki says re­new­ing their vows in a tra­di­tional Shinto wed­ding cer­e­mony would be

“a dream come true” and Dan is keen to don a kimono for the oc­ca­sion, al­though he’s not sure about his par­ents, say­ing, “The most Ja­panese my dad will get is wear­ing jan­dals. He doesn’t eat sushi – just meat and two veg!”

But be­fore they head to her home­land, Dan and Yuki will likely move in to­gether, with one of them re­lo­cat­ing to the other’s home­town – they just don’t know which way it’ll go yet.

While Dan was ner­vous about re­vis­it­ing Christchurch, where he suf­fered post-trau­matic stress syn­drome af­ter be­ing caught in the 2011 earth­quake, he ad­mits, “Be­ing there with Yuki has helped a lot. It brought back mem­o­ries of a rough patch of my life, but she held my hand and smiled, which was ex­actly what I needed. It was like that chap­ter of my life com­pletely ended. I’m glad I bit the bul­let and she was there with me. Now I can see it’s go­ing to be a cool city.”

And Yuki is ex­cited about ex­plor­ing Welling­ton, a city she hasn’t vis­ited for 13 years. Dan says, “I’ve got to sell it to her, but at the mo­ment, we’re just go­ing with the flow. We don’t want to rush things be­cause we haven’t ac­tu­ally known each other long.”

Yuki con­fesses she still has “trust is­sues” from a past con­trol­ling re­la­tion­ship, ex­plain­ing, “Dan’s been won­der­ful and I trust him, but there’s still that lit­tle thing in my mind. But he talks me through them. He knows I have an is­sue, but he’s work­ing re­ally hard on that.”

“It’s a time thing,” grins Dan. “I’m just mak­ing sure I’m there for her. I know she’ll get there.”

Af­ter sweep­ing Yuki off her feet, Dan is now plan­ning a trip to Ja­pan to im­press her par­ents.

The touchyfeely cou­ple are yet to say “I love you”. But it can’t be long now, guys!

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