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Kid Sister’s Simone shares her two weddings

The actress opens up about her double marriage to Taskmaster NZ star Paul Williams
Simone in front of a purple backgroundPictures: Ophelia Mikkelson Jones

If Simone Nathan had known as a little girl that she would have two weddings, her mind might have just exploded. The stunning Kid Sister actress and writer recently married Taskmaster NZ star Paul Williams for the second time at a star-studded affair in the Bay of Islands.

The couple had previously wed in a Jewish ceremony in Sydney late last year and the experience has been documented in her “semi-autobiographical” TVNZ+ show, which returns to our screens for a second season this week and in which Paul also stars.

Simone – who has also written for Our Flag Means Death, The Gone and Dark City: The Cleaner – is talking to Woman’s Day from her parents’ Auckland house, where she’s living before she moves to London with Paul.

The 32-year-old explains, “I say Kid Sister is semi-autobiographical because it’s a good coverall term, so people aren’t like, ‘OK, this is your life.’ Some of the things are true, like Paul’s character Ollie converting to Judaism. Parts are taken from real experiences, but then I have to heighten them for the drama. I definitely take liberties.

Simone and Paul on swings
Getting into the swing of married life. “It’s hell,” jokes Simone.

“It’s enjoyable getting to play the truth, but it’s also dangerous. What’s true? What would be funnier than the truth? I’ve never had a baby and that’s a big part of the storyline. We lay on stuff that would let me play out other fantasies. It’s like an alternate universe Simone and Paul!”

The new series of Kid Sister follows her character Lulu’s pregnancy and Ollie’s aforementioned religious conversion, which means the couple can marry.

Simone admits, “When I finished season two, I was so stressed. The show had caught up to my real life and I didn’t have any new material to draw on for another season.

“Now that more time has passed, I realise there is more to say because it’s not like your life ends when you get married, then everything is perfect and happily ever after. It’s hell!”

Simone and Paul, 32, have been together for more than six years, but it was never a given they would both get to play the characters she had written for them.

“We had to audition for months to get the roles and against other people to do chemistry tests,” Simone sighs. “It was so intense. When I got it, I was like, ‘I earned it!’ I’m not an actor and I’ve not trained, but I landed the role myself.”

Paul sitting on a couch with Simone next o him, her legs over his

The younger brother of comedian Guy Williams, Paul is a comic and skilled musician in his own right. Last month, he performed a sold-out album launch in London.

Her face lighting up with pride, Simone says, “It was the biggest venue he’s ever played. Someone told me the standing ovation was the most wild one they’d ever heard. I’m proud of you, boy!”

That’s the main reason they’re moving to the UK.

“It’s not my first choice, but it’s a safe choice because so many people we know are there. I’m acting like going to London is a punishment, but I’m so excited!”

The newlyweds met in Auckland through a mutual friend. Simone recalls, “We had the best first date. We went to see Paddington 2 and we both cried at the end, then we went for dinner at this amazing restaurant, Mr Zhou’s Dumplings, and broke into my high school late at night.

“I showed him where my classes were and where I had my first panic attack – all the big spots! We went up Mt Hobson and stayed up talking for hours, then he drove me home while we sang musical theatre songs. It was the most 1950s wholesome date!”

Simone and Paul at the first of their two weddings: the jewish wedding

When Simone won the US green card lottery and moved to New York for a while, the pair did long-distance. Paul even started going to synagogue with Simone’s family and “doing all the Jewish stuff”.

His conversion was a long process, though.

Simone explains, “We had to keep kosher, go to synagogue, and have regular meetings and classes with rabbis. We moved to Sydney to immerse ourselves in a Jewish community for four months. It was crazy.”

It all culminated in a beautiful traditional Jewish wedding, although Simone laughs that she was “desperate to get engaged” first.

“We went to Europe and it was like the last chance for us to get engaged. The ceremony was in two weeks! We went to all the romantic places in the world and every time he got down to tie his shoelaces, I thought he was going to propose.

“I’d be crying and he’d be like, ‘No, I’m not doing it here!’ But on the last night of the trip, in Paris, my mum was sending him angry emojis when he surprised me by the river. Well, it wasn’t really a surprise…

Simone and Paul at the first of their two weddings: the jewish wedding

“The ceremony was in the most gorgeous venue, a synagogue in Sydney. It was just us, our parents and siblings, and any of our closest friends who happened to be there.”

The wedding followed all the core Jewish traditions, including the Bedeken, where the groom lifts the veil to check she’s the right bride.

Simone tells, “When he came in and saw me sitting there, he was weeping. There’s nothing more satisfying than a groom crying!”

While the ceremony married them in the eyes of Judaism, it wasn’t legally binding.

Simone says, “I was like, ‘I’m a wife but I’m kind of not.’ That felt a bit unsettling.” So the couple decided they wanted to have a wedding with all their friends, including fellow comedians Rose Matafeo and Laura Daniel, back home.

“It was really important to Paul that our friends witnessed our wedding. So, we set about organising one in the Bay of Islands, which is where I grew up every summer.

Simone and Guy at their second of two weddings, with their bridal party around them in front of a lake
The happy couple with their hilarious bridal party (from left) Laura, sister Maria Williams, Rose, Joseph Moore and Guy.

“It had been raining all morning, horrifically, and the wedding planner and my parents kept coming in, saying, ‘We need to move the chuppah [Jewish marriage canopy].’ I was like, ‘No!’

“Then my brother said, ‘There’s a huge patch of sunlight in the distance. It’s going to be fine.’ Sure enough, 20 minutes before, there was sunshine. It was a perfect day. That night, my brother said, ‘There was no patch of sunlight. I made it up to make you feel better.’ I was like, ‘You’re an ally, but that could’ve gone so wrong!’”

Simone’s over the moon she has Kid Sister as a kind of a momento of their lives so far.

“Isn’t it weird that one day my grandkids could potentially watch it?” she exclaims. “It’s also kinda nightmarish. It’s edgy and rude! I don’t want them to see me this way – on the toilet or expressing breast-milk into a toilet!”

We’re not entirely sure how that fits into the Kid Sister storyline, but we can’t wait to find out…

Kid Sister premieres Monday on TVNZ+.

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