When radio stars Jay-Jay Harvey and Megan Annear arrive for our photo shoot, they haven't seen each other for nearly a month and Jay-Jay is almost in tears over the reunion.
"I love you!" she declares, hugging the woman who replaced her on The Edge's breakfast show earlier in January.
Jay-Jay has had an emotional morning reading messages from fans who were devastated when she quit the radio station late last year.
"They're writing like I've died, but I'm the one who's really grieving," she tells Woman's Day.
"The Edge was a huge part of my life and I'm still heartbroken. I'm having to live vicariously through Megan."
The two besties met in 2013, when Lower Hutt local Megan, 27, landed a job hosting the day shift on The Edge in Auckland.
She recalls, "I really looked up to Jay when I was at broadcasting school, so it was pretty surreal when we became friends. She's so much fun to be around and I never for a second dreamt I'd take her place."
As it happens, Jay-Jay, 43, played a big part in that.
She reveals, "I didn't get the final say, but I had a huge input. She's the one who I wanted to take over, so it had to happen! Megan walks into a room and it just lights up. She's so relatable and always gets herself into ridiculous situations, so she has the funniest stories. She's the perfect person."
When Megan found out her friend was leaving The Edge, "it was a massive bombshell", she says.
"Then they told me I was filling her role and I went into a state of shock. I had a big anxiety attack and had to breathe into a paper bag. I felt like Jay had worked so hard on this show and I didn't want to make it awful. I was so stressed, I got sick and had to take time off."
Yet Megan – who recently bought a house with her boyfriend, The Edge's Guy Mansell – needn't have worried because Jay-Jay was able to pass on all her tips and tricks during a six-week handover period that saw Megan join her future co-hosts Dominic Harvey and Clinton Randell on the airwaves.
"I was worried about her having to work with Dom," Jay-Jay confesses of her estranged husband, who she split from last August after 18 years together.
"I told her not to take anything personally because Dom just wants to win and be the best. He can be brutal if things don't go his way. You have to be brave and not let him walk all over you."
Having taken long breaks from radio due to bouts of depression, Jay-Jay also advised Megan about maintaining her mental health, although she warns, "It's like the blind leading the blind because I'm still trying to get better myself. But a big part of the problem is the exhaustion that comes from getting up at 4am every day. She knows it's tough – she's seen me crying."
There have been fewer tears for Jay-Jay – who adopted her nephew Seven, 14, in 2007 – since she finished up on The Edge in December and jumped on a plane to Los Angeles, then London, Copenhagen and Vancouver.
"Last year was so hard," she confesses. "Work was tiring, I had a few problems with the old husband, our teenager was going through a very challenging time, I was assaulted by a taxi driver and I got vertigo. I'm so happy to see the back of 2017 and the holiday was a terrific way to get over it. I felt so free.
"I used to think people who travelled by themselves were a bit weird, but I caught up with a lot of old friends and made heaps of new ones too. My only regret is that I didn't get a pash at the big New Year's Eve party I went to in London. I should've just lunged at a random!"
Joking aside, when it comes to her love life, Jay-Jay says, "I've had a couple of guys ask me out on dates, but being single isn't much fun when you're middle-aged.
The options are limited and I'm a bit picky." Meanwhile, she hints that things may not be over between her and Dom, admitting, "I'm not divorced. I might get the old itch back in a year or so. I'm not closing the door on it."
Jay-Jay confesses she's nervous about not having Dom by her side with her new radio job, which will be revealed on February 15.
She confesses, "He's been my safety net for so many years and I'm not completely confident I'll be OK by myself. There's going to be a lot of pressure on me."
However, after seeing Jay-Jay in action during their handover period, Megan is confident her buddy still has what it takes.
"She's an absolute legend and I believe in her as much as she believes in me," the bubbly brunette smiles. "We both want each other to succeed and you just can't buy that kind of support."
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