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Relationships

Shortland Street star Rebekah Palmer's romantic love story: 'I can't wait to call Bevan my husband'

''He is the most kind, caring and compassionate person in the world.''

By Marilynn McLachlan
Her love life as Shortland Street nurse Dawn Robinson is chaotic and filled with multiple partners, infidelity and even the death of her husband. But when the cameras stop rolling, actress Rebekah Palmer's heart belongs to just one man – builder Bevan Randell.
When Woman's Day sits down to chat to the smitten pair, Bex, as she is known to friends and family, keeps a hand on her sweetheart's arm and her eyes sparkle with love.
"This sounds really corny," she tells, "but Bevan never felt like a stranger. I've always said it was like our souls knew each other from day one."
And while the couple are set to wed later this year, they may never have found each other if it wasn't for Bevan's brother, The Edge radio host and Dancing with the Stars alum Clint Randell, playing Cupid.
It Dawn-ed on Rebekah pretty quickly that Bevan was the guy for her!
Almost four years ago, Bex was working at a production company when Clint, 34, came in to do a voice over.
It was her job to get him a coffee and they soon found themselves chatting. As soon as he left, Clint added her on Facebook – something Bex found rather odd at the time.
Meanwhile, Bevan was working on Waiheke Island when his brother began trying to contact him.
"I jumped on the ferry to go home and called him – and he told me that he'd just met this amazing girl who would be perfect for me," Bevan recalls with a grin.
He then also sent Bex a Facebook friend request. While the bubbly blonde keeps her profile private, she decided to take a risk.
"I thought, 'You know what? I'm going to add this Bevan Randell on Facebook and he's got a week! If he doesn't message me in a week, then that's it – I'm going to delete him,'" she laughs.
It was a move that was out of character for Bevan, who admits he's never met a woman this way and worried that it was too "stalkerish".
Later in the week, the 32-year-old was having a meal with his parents and Clint and his wife Jaime, when the brothers spilled the story and together they composed a message to Bex.
While the actress admits she was a bit "under-whelmed" by the initial communication, the pair soon began chatting and, a couple of weeks later, went on their first date to a Japanese restaurant in Auckland.
But it didn't end there. "We went to Mission Bay and got ice cream, then sat on the beach – it was a stunning night," Bevan remembers. "And we were there until two in the morning."
Love quickly blossomed, but in what could be a Shorty storyline, just two months into their relationship Bex was struck down with glandular fever.
But instead of causing a drama, she moved into his house and Bevan spent the next few months caring for her. "It's like it accelerated our relationship," explains Bex.
"Bevan saw me at my worst very early on and I saw him at his best. He just looked after me. He did everything for me. And he would even send me roses because he knew I was home sick!"
By the following January, they'd officially moved in together, with their lives taking another turn when Bex scored her role as Dawn on the popular soap.
"It was a Monday and I had to quit my job that day and start the following Monday, so I had a week of my life just being completely turned upside down," she shares.
"We were going out for dinner for Bevan's birthday that night so I told all of his family, but at that point it was only a three-month contract and I was stoked and more than happy with that."
Bevan played nursemaid when Rebekah got ill just weeks into them first dating. "He saw me at my worst very early on," she says.
A popular character, Bex was soon recognised when they went out in public together.
"I love fans coming up to her but a lot of people just whisper and you wonder if it's good or bad," Bevan laughs.
"The other day someone came up and said, 'I have to hug you, I love you and you're amazing.' That was so awesome."
The actress, 26, adds, "It's just like I go to work and do my thing, and Bevan goes to work and does his and I'm not Dawn when I come home. I'm still Bex. I'm quite glad that we had a year together before Shortland Street happened because otherwise it could have been a bit crazy!"
And while Bevan knew early in their relationship that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Bex, it wasn't until last December that he was able to propose in the way that he wanted as it took a lot of planning to keep things a surprise.
His first job was to head down to the Palmers' dairy farm in Whangamata, where he milked some cows before plucking up the courage to ask Bex's father Andrew for his blessing.
"I feel like if you're going to buy a ring and then ask the dad, then it's already expected they will say yes, so I wanted to ask him before," he tells.
Next, he approached Culet Jewellery to help him find the perfect ring.
Together they chose a sparkling two-carat, six-claw diamond with a gold band.
Ring in hand, it was time for him to get creative!
Knowing that Bex has a following of more than 30,000 people on Instagram, he plotted a scheme where Advanced Flight would approach her for a free helicopter ride and picnic at Hurakia Lodge, in exchange for her sharing the adventure on social media and allowing them to use the footage on their website – the perfect excuse for a videographer to tag along!
Despite the extra work involved, the business agreed and sent Bex the email her husband-to-be had penned.
She excitedly accepted the offer but their escapade was put off three times due to weather conditions. And then, much to Bevan's relief, the ideal day finally arrived.
The pair made their way to the heliport, where an unsuspecting Bex got to work.
She shares, "Bevan had met most of the people there before but I thought I'd organised the day, so I was introducing him to everyone and they're all playing along with it. I was the only one that was oblivious!"
The Shorty fave had no idea her helicopter ride was a set-up for a proposal.
The loved-up duo got on board the helicopter and were given a sky-high view of the City of Sails before they were taken to Rakino Island.
Bubbles in hand, they made their way to the beach where a delicious picnic was waiting for them under a tree.
With Bex busy creating videos for her social media followers, Bevan got down on one knee and admitted to her that she had been lied to.
"I had a speech that I wanted to say and just got completely wiped out – I was a blubbering mess," Bevan laughs, adding that his bride-to-be also burst into tears and took a long time to say yes.
"I did my spiel, but it was on a pebble beach," he tells.
"It was a stunning spot, but it hurt! And she was just crying."
Bex continues, "It took me ages to comprehend it all because in my head the day was something completely different and I was in shock. I just cried and cried and cried, but of happiness."
Bevan agrees, "It was the perfect day. It was a happy afternoon and from there it was pretty awesome."
In a further twist, he had organised for friends and family to be waiting for them when they returned to the heliport, but hadn't told them why.
"They asked how our day was, and Bex said it was amazing and held out her hand, and my mum was bawling her eyes out," smiles Bevan at the memory. "Everyone said they knew it was going to happen, but I don't know if they did."
A year on, the lovebirds are busy planning their special day and looking forward to tying the knot.
"He is the most kind, caring and compassionate person in the world," gushes Bex. "Honestly, he just doesn't have a bad bone in his body. I can't wait to be able to call him my husband."
Her besotted fiancé declares in response, "You only have to meet Bex for five or 10 minutes to get a grasp of her personality and how bubbly, caring and loving she is. We both want a family one day and to get to that next chapter will be pretty special."

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