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Chris and Mel Cairns’ honeymoon surprise

The happy newlyweds are expecting a child after their European honeymoon.
Chris and Mel Cairns

Cricket legend Chris Cairns brought back more than a tan from his honeymoon in Europe, but it’s only now that he can reveal the surprise souvenir that has bowled him over.

At the age of 40, Chris, who married stunning Australian sports marketing manager Mel earlier this year, is about to become a dad for the third time. And the happy newlyweds are putting it down to their sizzling holiday together in the south of France.

“We chose that for our honeymoon because it’s somewhere neither of us had been before,” says Chris, who now works in the international diamond trade. “It’s a very romantic place.”

“And it’s even more special to us now as it’s where the baby was conceived,” adds Mel, as she looks down at her neat bump.

But Chris could easily have been laid up in hospital rather than spending a passionate week on the French coast.

Always an adventurer, the first stop on the couple’s honeymoon was Spain – so the former Black Cap could take part in the famous and extremely dangerous Running of the Bulls event in Pamplona.

That’s where young bulls are let loose in the streets and people try to outrun them. If they’re lucky, participants escape unscathed, possibly bruised and with some hair-raising tales to share. But, tragically, the internationally renowned event has claimed a few lives too.

When Chris decided to take part, Mel admits she was very nervous and put a few rules in place to make sure her husband came back in one piece.

“Pamplona is a crazy place, we were getting up at 8pm, going out all night, then going to bed at 8am, so the night before the bulls, we had to have an early night,” says Mel. “I was trying to watch him from the balcony of the place we were staying in, but it was hard to keep track of him, with all those people shoving and pushing!”

Losing sight of him in the throng, she feared the worst as she waited at their meeting point, and he was late.

“Turned out he had stopped at a bar for a quick drink on the way there,” she laughs.

Chris, who escaped with just a few bruises, says it was an experience he wouldn’t have missed. “I’d recommend everyone does it once in their life,” he says.

By the time they returned to their home in Dubai, then travelled to Australia to celebrate Mel’s 30th birthday with her family, the bruises had faded.

But Mel had a strange feeling that the thunder of hooves was about to be followed by the delicate patter of tiny feet.

“I bought three different pregnancy tests and did them all,” says Mel, who told a delighted Chris the good news after all three came back positive. “Even so, we decided to do one more test in the morning and when that was positive, we told my parents. It was my 30th birthday that day, so it was the best present. We hadn’t exactly been trying, we were just seeing how it went, and didn’t expect it to happen quite so quickly!”

The baby is due in March and the couple has just found out they’re having a girl. Chris, who has two sons Thomas (8) and Bram (7) from his previous marriage, says he’s delighted he’ll be welcoming a daughter.

“When we were told it was a girl, I thought, ‘Yeah, wow!'” grins Chris. “That makes it such an exciting new experience for Mel and me – a first baby for us and a first girl for me too. It’s fantastic.”

Chris’ sons, who live in South Africa, are also thrilled about having a little sister.

“Whenever we speak to the boys on the phone, all they want to know is how the baby is coming along and I tell them she’s ‘cooking away nicely’,” smiles Mel.

“In a way, the baby being a girl may be a little easier for the boys. It’s hard for them to be away from their father and if it was another little boy getting to be with him all the time, while they couldn’t, it may have been difficult for them to understand.

“They’re so interested and excited about her. Bram even wants to name her after one of his girlfriends at school.”

As well as Bram’s helpful suggestion, the couple has come up with some other names for their precious daughter, but they’re keeping the final choices close to their hearts until she’s born. However, it’s already been decided that this special little girl will have Louise somewhere among her names, in memory of Chris’ sister who died in a train crash 17 years ago.

“Nobody can replace Louise, of course, but this is nice for my dad Lance and mum Sue,” says Chris, who campaigns passionately for New Zealand rail safety through the Chris Cairns Foundation.

Mel, a former basketball player, is embracing the changes to her shape and, apart from two weeks of morning sickness, is cruising through pregnancy.

“Now the baby is kicking and Chris can feel it too when he puts a hand on my tummy,” she says.

The couple, who have made their home in Dubai, will head to Australia for the birth so Mel can be close to family and Chris’ parents can visit from New Zealand more easily. They are also are planning for Thomas and Bram to come to Australia during their school holidays at Easter to meet the baby.

In the meantime, with so much excitement ahead, Chris and Mel are simply enjoying life as newlyweds, with the added bonus of their surprise honeymoon baby.

However, Chris is already making the mental adjustment to being outnumbered by females at home.

“I guess with two girls in the house, it’s going to end up being all high heels and handbags,” he laughs. “oh well, I’ll get used to it.”

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