Shorty star Reid’s high-school sweet­heart

Woman’s Day (NZ) - - Contents - The­ac­tor isallsmiles withlovely Leah

Even though Reid Walker has played Harry Warner on Short­landStreet since the age of nine, it was only in 2017 that he be­came known world­wide. The in­fa­mous line “Please tell me that is not your pe­nis!”, ut­tered by his on-screen dad Michael Galvin, made it all the way to the US, with Alec Bald­win and Jimmy Kim­mel re-en­act­ing the scene. But it wasn’t with­out its em­bar­rass­ment, as Reid, 18, found on his first date with girl­friend Leah. “We were just walk­ing through Sylvia Park mall when some­one yelled the line out at me. It cer­tainly was a way to make the first date mem­o­rable, but thank­fully, it was more funny than awk­ward. Here we are over a year later – so it can’t have scared Leah off too much!” laughs Reid. Act­ing on TVNZ 2’s Short­landStreet for al­most a decade might have given Reid a large fol­low­ing, but his big­gest fan by far is his girl­friend Leah Pereira, also 18. The gor­geous uni stu­dent was an avid watcher of the beloved Kiwi soap be­fore she met the star, so when Reid turned up on her doorstep as a friend’s date for a school ball, she was more than a lit­tle taken aback. “I remember I made an ab­so­lute fool of my­self,” the teach­ing stu­dent con­fesses. “I said, ‘Hi, I’m Leah. I’m the one who watches Short­landStreet,’ and then I thought, ‘Why did I say that?!’ I bolted. It was so ter­ri­ble.” Reid doesn’t remember this ini­tial meet­ing, but he ad­mits to Woman’sDay that he finds it cute hear­ing about it now. There’s no mistaking the sweet

bond be­tween Reid and Leah dur­ing our photo shoot as he sweeps her off her feet and car­ries her over a patch of muddy grass to get the per­fect shot. It isn’t of­ten that Leah gets to be in front of the cam­era – she’s reg­u­larly rel­e­gated to stand­ing be­hind the lens when fans spot her fa­mous boyfriend out and about.

Reid jokes, “Leah al­ways ends up tak­ing the pic­tures, which is nice. I’ve got my own per­sonal pho­tog­ra­pher!”

But Leah un­der­stands the fans’ en­thu­si­asm when they see some­one from TV in real life. She smiles, “See­ing peo­ple get­ting ex­cited to see him is re­ally sweet – that there are other peo­ple out there who ap­pre­ci­ate him just the way that I do.”

The lovebirds re­cently cel­e­brated their one-year an­niver­sary, but their re­la­tion­ship has been a lot longer in the mak­ing. Af­ter that ini­tial meet­ing, their friend­ship groups merged and over the next year, Reid and Leah found them­selves grav­i­tat­ing to­ward each other at par­ties.

“She was al­ways fun to talk to and it was never a has­sle,” ex­plains the ac­tor. “She is drama-free.”

It was only nat­u­ral that ex­actly a year af­ter their first en­counter, the pair chose to go to their re­spec­tive school balls to­gether and that’s where the magic hap­pened.

Leah re­calls, “We weren’t to­gether at that point, but at every ball there’s a time where ev­ery­one slow-dances. Be­cause we weren’t dat­ing, it was re­ally awk­ward, like, ‘Do we or do we not?’”

Even­tu­ally, she asked Reid to dance to a Bruno Mars song – and he made the first move.

Giv­ing his girl­friend a cheeky glance, he tells, “I was build­ing up to it, but then I kissed her while we were slow-danc­ing, so I think I de­serve credit for that.”

Leah ad­mits the smooch was a pleas­ant sur­prise. She smiles, “Reid was just a re­ally good friend, but never in a mil­lion years did I think he would date some­one like me. I don’t know why, but it was a lit­tle bit of my own in­se­cu­ri­ties. I mean, he’s on TV and I was com­pletely happy with the re­la­tion­ship we had.”

Fast-for­ward a year and the sweet­hearts are happy as can be – Leah even ser­e­naded Reid with a sur­prise ren­di­tion of the Amy Wine­house hit “Va­lerie” for their an­niver­sary. “He teared up a lit­tle bit,” she tells, smil­ing at Reid.

“No, I didn’t,” he in­sists, laugh­ing. “I had some­thing in my eye!”

Af­ter tak­ing a break from act­ing to fo­cus on his en­gi­neer­ing stud­ies, Reid reap­peared on Short land Street last week, when his char­ac­ter Harry re­turned from a stu­dent ex­change in China with a baby boy named Xun in tow.

The in­tro­duc­tion of a new­born to Fern­dale is an ad­just­ment for Reid, who has lit­tle ex­pe­ri­ence with kids. Leah says, “He has a one-year-old cousin and that’s about the ex­tent of it, so I was re­ally ap­pre­hen­sive to see what he would be like.

“I love chil­dren, but we’re still re­ally young and it’s not in our minds at all,” tells Leah. “We don’t take life too se­ri­ously and we’re fo­cused on hav­ing fun for now.”

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