Married at First Sight Australia star Cameron Merchant's career as a former professional cricketer is no secret, but there is one skeleton in his closet from his four years playing in New Zealand – he was a finalist in Cleo magazine's Bachelor of the Year competition!
As a member of the Wellington Firebirds in 2011, the hunky Sydneysider stripped off for the glossy mag, revealing perky pecs and washboard abs. "He had a xylophone stomach, like an eight-pack!" squeals his bride Jules Robinson in an exclusive interview with Woman's Day.
"Unbelievable, right?" laughs Cam, 35. "It's gone now, but that shoot was a bit of fun and it really made me get my act together in the gym."
"Well, you're not a bachelor any more!" jokes Jules, 37. "Are there any Kiwi girls you need to tell me about?"
But her hubby – who holds a NZ passport thanks to his mum, who's from Mount Maunganui – insists he didn't play the field in those days as sport was his true love.
Cam explains, "I was fulfilling my dreams as a cricketer, playing with Kane Williamson and Trent Boult, who are still good mates."
Cam may have lost his abs, but Jules says she still finds him sexy – a feeling she first experienced on their honeymoon in the Bay of Islands.
The Sydney hairdresser tells, "We were learning the haka at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and he was just so masculine. I thought, 'Phwoar, check him out! My husband's a fox!'"
In fact, the holiday was full of romantic moments, with Cam quipping, "We owe our whole relationship to you! New Zealand, you'll always have a special place in our hearts."
Jules adds, "We didn't remember a thing from our wedding day because it was all such a blur, so we renewed our vows on the wharf in Russell just as a chance to reconnect.
"It was lovely to say those same words with more conviction because, by then, we knew we were cut from the same cloth and he'd become my best friend."
It was on their honeymoon that they agreed they both want children soon – and now, amid rumours Jules is already pregnant, she tells us, "I need to get my skates on. I'm hoping for twins so we can just get it done."
The couple have recently been spotted shopping for engagement rings, although they deny any plans to officially tie the knot.
But Jules does confess, "Obviously, what we had wasn't a real wedding and I'd like to properly get married one day.
The only problem is that first day was absolutely beautiful, so I don't know how we're going to top it. We might have to come back to New Zealand!"
In his Cleo Bachelor of the Year profile, Cam revealed he was caught up in the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami in Thailand and helped collect the luggage of fellow survivors.
"It was right in where the wave was coming and people were too scared to go down there because they thought there was a chance of it happening again, so I took it upon myself to go get everyone's stuff," he recalled.
"It was very, very scary – the only reason I was half-calm was because I was very hungover!"
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