Looking around their bustling Leeds home, Kiwi league legend Bodene Thompson and dance superstar Kaea Pearce can't help but laugh at how different their lives have become over just a few short years.
Before, the hardworking pair would try to steal a few days together between their hectic international schedules, which saw former Warriors star Bodene, 33, travelling with his team for matches, while Kaea, 24, jetted across the world for gigs with Justin Bieber, Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez.
Now life is just as busy for the stunning couple – as it turns out, chasing after one-year-old twins is equally intense!
"I don't know how we do it – we just do," laughs Kaea to Woman's Day as she bounces son Reinus on her lap while his sister Blossom sleeps. "It's organised chaos, but it works."
Raising twins on the other side of the world during a pandemic has certainly presented some unique challenges for the talented couple, who are in England while Bodene plays for the Leeds Rhinos and Kaea teaches dance.
Now the pair are preparing to come back home so the twins can finally meet their family and visit Aotearoa for the first time.
"When we moved over here and had the kids, we never thought we'd not be able to come back," tells Bodene. "It's just us and my sister over here, and we want them to grow up with all of their family around them. Whether it's for good or not, we're not sure yet. But we're excited to come home!"
The couple couldn't be missing family more, especially after a recent health scare with Reinus. "It gave us a huge fright," says Kaea. "He had some unexplained seizures and they thought it might be meningitis, but he's fine now."
"There's definitely been some crying down the end of the phone," adds Bodene. "Family really is everything. My mum has been able to come over to help, which was awesome – she just rang us one day to tell us she'd quit her job and she'd be here in two weeks. She just wanted to be with her moko."
While their individual careers are their passions, it's their kids who are their greatest loves – and despite the fact they're twins, their personalities could not be more different.
"We joke that we might as well have had two boys because Blossom is more like a boy's boy than her brother," smiles Kaea. "She's rough like her dad. She'll watch his games on TV – she's drawn to them. But Reinus is just cuddly."
"If I'm lying on the floor, Blossom will come over and try to wrestle with me," adds Bodene, who also has two older sons, Cordell and Hendrix. "Reinus does too, but he'd rather have a cuddle. He's very sweet, while she's more rough and energetic! They're complete opposites at the moment."
Bodene and Kaea have been together since 2016, after first meeting at the premiere of Bodene's cousin Stan Walker's film Born To Dance, which Kaea also starred in. Since then, the pair have lived in both the UK and Canada for Bodene's career, getting engaged in London in 2019.
"We were supposed to get married in 2020 in Queenstown, but you know," says Kaea, rolling her eyes in reference to the pandemic. "Now when we get back, we'll probably do something more relaxed, maybe up north."
For now, the couple are focused on raising their kids as best they can in the UK, with Bodene and Kaea balancing their demanding careers with mum and dad life.
"Sometimes we end up working at the same time, but it is what it is," Bodene shrugs. "Luckily, my sister is an epic babysitter!"
"It's nice for the kids to be able to see us doing what we love to do too," enthuses Kaea, who also runs a gifting company, Blossom's Boxes, with her sister Ruthy.
"When we move back home, I'll probably have to be away a bit more because dance opportunities in New Zealand are pretty slim, but that's OK," she concludes.
"We'll have a great support network. We're just so excited for the twins to finally come home!"
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