Anna Hutchison’s surprise Paris proposal

The sweethearts have chosen Waiheke Island to pledge their love.
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Standing barefoot under a blossoming pohutukawa and gazing over Auckland’s sparkling Hauraki Gulf on a scorching summer’s day, Anna Hutchison snuggles into her fiancé and sighs.

“This is such a beautiful place,” says the former Shortland Street and Go Girls actress, who has been based in Los Angeles for the past five years.

“I feel that more and more every time I come back.”

Anna, 31, and her husband-to-be, Boston-born talent manager and film producer Mike Gillespie, 35, are in New Zealand for their annual reunion with her whanau.

And as the glittering 2.25-carat Asscher-cut diamond on her finger suggests, they’ve also got some wedding planning to do.

“We’d been looking at venues on the North Shore, where I’m from, but we’ve decided on Waiheke Island,” says Anna, who will tie the knot next summer.

“We’re asking people from all around the world to travel here, so it’d be silly not to show them our best. Waiheke is a gorgeous place.”

Though Mike’s family is 20 hours away by plane, the decision to have the wedding in Aotearoa was an easy one.

Anna explains, “We thought about having it in Hawaii, which is kind of the middle ground, but we’ve travelled so much and New Zealand’s food is just the absolute tops – and food is very important to us!”

Already Mike is talking about serving Kiwi lamb and wine, plus Maine lobster and US beers. Anna laughs,

“It’s a merging of our two backgrounds and families, so we’d like that represented in the menu.”

She and Mike met in 2012 on the Melbourne film set of the Aussie rules football drama Blinder, which she was starring in and he produced.

He recalls, “She was so beautiful, so funny and always laughing. I loved her energy.”

Anna says, “He was really loud, tanned and tattooed, but he was always up for adventure and just so positive.”

After the intense shoot, the pair continued to catch up as friends back in LA, usually with other members of the film’s cast and crew. It wasn’t until almost exactly a year later that they enjoyed what would be their first date.

Anna tells, “One evening, we were at dinner and Mike just kissed me. That was when we knew. There was no grey area any more and here we are five years later! We’ve just had the most exceptional time together, travelled heaps and had the most incredible success in each of our careers.

“We support each other because we have a real understanding of what the other person does. I’m grateful Mike gets that there are times I’ll be away for three months or working 18-hour days. There’s no jealousy or neediness. He allows me to shine.”

The couple moved in together in Beverly Hills a year into their relationship.

Anna smiles, “I’d been travelling to and from the States for work for ages, but suddenly it started to feel like home.”

Mike adds, “LA is a tricky place and we’re both outsiders, so we needed that support in a significant other.”

He popped the question in Paris in September, although Anna did her best to ruin the romantic moment in the City of Love. Hit hard by jetlag, she opted out of his sight-seeing plans in favour of a six-hour nap and couldn’t understand why Mike wanted to dress nicely, making him put on an old shirt with holes in it when they finally left their hotel.

Anna grins, “I was in a puffer jacket, jeans and running shoes, with no make-up, and we’d just gone for a river cruise. I wanted to go back to bed, so I was walking in front of him on our way back to the hotel, when he asked, ‘Will you love me forever?’

“I was like, ‘Of course,’ then I turned around to tell him to hurry up, but he was down on one knee. He’d caught me completely off guard. It was so rad. We’re both very emotional, so we cried and cried, then hopped in a taxi and celebrated with a fancy dinner overlooking the Eiffel Tower.”

Anna has had a busy year full of career wins, with roles in the TV series Kingdom, as well as five films, including a sci-fi flick with Luke Hemsworth, a Scary Movie-style spoof of Game of Thrones and a “sort-of sequel” to Braveheart. But her engagement was definitely the highlight.

“We already feel married as we’re so close and supportive, and we know we’re in it for the long haul,” she says. “But this is seeing our relationship recognised as a partnership.”

Adds Mike, “It’s a forever commitment and another chapter in our lives. We want to buy a house and start a family.”

“Oh, yeah, I love kids,” smiles Anna.

“Mike’s going to be an incredible father. I’m excited about that part of our lives too.”

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