Three couples reveal how they first met

Louise Adler and Max Gillies at their Armadale home for our Valentines day story.  Photo: Stephen McKenzie

Louise Adler and Max Gillies at their Armadale home for our Valentines day story. Photo: Stephen McKenzie


Louise Adler is chief executive of Melbourne University Publishing. Max Gillies is an actor, political satirist and comic.

Louise says We were set up by mutual friends, Sue and Bill, during the last century. I had decided there were no decent men left in Australia and was about to head back to New York. A friend informed me there was one man left who was kind, considerate and loyal. She was right.

Our friends arranged a barbecue in their backyard but meeting in public proved too much for two shy people. We were given one last chance – a dinner for the four of us. Bill was ideologically opposed to setting people up and fell asleep. Sue was a discreet duenna.

The rest of the evening was spent watching a Woody Allen movie. Max was polite and asked my permission to kiss me, which I found sweet. He has remained both polite and sweet. We have our differences – he would like to go camping and I can’t think of anything worse. But we share a lot – he is a huge supporter of my work, a great editor, and we still laugh at the same things. He tolerates my bossiness and hygiene fetishes in the domestic sphere. And, in my very biased opinion, we have made two delightful offspring.

Max says Louise was the only other person who found Woody Allen as transcendently funny as I did.

I thought she was a witty New York feminist – the fact that she turned out to be born and bred in Elwood made her all the more interesting.

I was smitten by her infectious enjoyment of life combined with an ability to delight in life’s ironies. Despite Louise’s mysterious penchant for

Midsomer Murders, we still share the pleasure of watching brilliant television series such as Boardwalk Empire or Peaky Blinders, or W1A.



Alan Flethcher and Jennifer Hansen. Photo: Arsineh Houspian.

Alan Flethcher and Jennifer Hansen. Photo: Arsineh Houspian.

Jennifer Hansen is SmoothFM’s news presenter and a former TV newsreader. Actor Alan Fletcher plays Dr Karl Kennedy in Neighbours.

Alan says Jen and I had our first “real” meeting at a comedy venue called the Last Laugh in Fitzroy. I was out with my mate Boris, bemoaning my bachelor plight.

Boris was supposed to be meeting Jennifer and suggested she join us at the Last Laugh. We later moved on to The Club in Smith Street to watch a band. We danced and drank cocktails, neither of which I was accustomed to doing.

My first impression of Jennifer was that an angel had walked into my life.

Jennifer says We actually first met 30 years ago at a mutual friend’s house. We both had different partners then. As a photographer as well as an actor, Alan was taking headshots of other actors for their portfolios and I needed a headshot. I booked Alan – Fletch – but then a photographer at the newspaper where I worked offered to take a shot for free but I forgot to cancel Alan. He turned up at my house and I had to tell him I no longer needed his services.

About a year later, when we were both single, we met again. I nearly didn’t go to meet Boris and think of it as a sliding door moment.

Fletch and I struck up a conversation that we didn’t want to end. He bought me a drink decorated with a tiny umbrella and a plastic giraffe. I still have the giraffe, although one leg has broken. He was heading to Perth to do a play not long after we met so I wasn’t sure if we had a long-term future.

We are coming up to our 27th wedding anniversary.



Raph Rashid & Beci Orpin. Photo by Bri Hammond for

Raph Rashid & Beci Orpin. Photo by Bri Hammond for

Beci Orpin is an author, designer and creator of Arro Home. Raph Rashid is an entrepreneur and founder of Beatbox Kitchen, Taco Truck, All Day Donuts and Juanita Peaches.

Beci says We met in the disco. Around 1998, I was working Saturday nights at the Lounge nightclub with a DJ called Ransom, who was Raph’s best friend. I became good friends with Ransom and Raph. For years, the three of us used to hang out as friends.

I had another boyfriend during this time and never thought of Raph as anything more than a friend. I eventually broke up with my boyfriend and walking home from my studio one day I had an epiphany that I was completely in love with Raph. Luckily, the feeling was mutual. Not long after that we had our first son Tyke, now 13. I knew it was going to be fine and that he was “the one” because we had been such good friends already.

My first impressions of Raph was that he was a boss. He ran his own clothing label, Blank, and was killing it and he already owned his own house. Even though he came across as very serious, he also had the best sense of humour and excellent taste in music. He also had a high moral standing and those things remain.

Raph says We are a team in everything we do – raising our kids, our businesses, how we run our household. We are both quite unconventional in how we do things – we’ve built our own running systems. We are also each other’s worst critic, but that is usually beneficial rather than detrimental. And humour is important – nothing would survive without a lot of stupid antics.





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