After 25 years together, MKR faves Teal and Sophie are married!

After a quarter-century together, My Kitchen Rules NZ stars Teal and Sophie Mau tied the knot in their quirky signature style

You wouldn’t think to look at them, but My Kitchen Rules New Zealand favourites Teal and Sophie Mau describe themselves as “a little bit shy”.

“When you get to know us, you find that we’re so laid-back, we’re practically flat,” smiles Johnny Depp lookalike Teal. Sophie laughs, “We’re lying on the floor!”

But one look at the Wellington lovebirds’ super-stylish ’50s- inspired wedding proves the long-time couple – who impressed with their creative flair in the 2017 season of MKR NZ, which is due to make a comeback on TVNZ 2 next year – are anything but boring.

They took their time making it official, but Teal says, “MKR showed us how strong we are.”

Despite Teal, 56, often joking that “the only aisle I’ll walk down is the one at New World”, he and Sophie, 48, decided to finally tie the knot to celebrate 25 years of both their relationship and their shared business, Mau Hairdressing, much to the delight of their closest friends and family, including their 11-year-old girl Lola and Teal’s daughter Taylor, 25.

“We talked about getting married a long time ago, but it’s never been important to us,” explains Teal. “It’s not do-or-die. But we’ve been through a lot together over the years and we think it’s important for Lola. It’s nice for her to see Mum and Dad walk down the aisle.”

Celebrant Pinky had a strange request for the couple.

Of their intimate five-person ceremony, held in the capital’s iconic Embassy Theatre, Teal says, “I don’t like the attention of having 100 people at a wedding, but having a private ceremony and inviting New Zealand along with us in the form of Woman’s Day, that sweetens it.”

Grinning, Sophie acknowledges, “It’s slightly contradictory.”

Teal continues, “Yes, we’ve been on MKR, but we’re actually very private people. We’re not social butterflies.”

Shy they may be, but style is imperative to this polished yet alternative pair and they knew exactly what they wanted to achieve on their wedding day. Both were thrilled with the result and say much of it came down to their very carefully selected team, including photographer Phil Greig and stylist Trudy van Zyl.

“We didn’t want a cookie-cutter wedding,” explains Teal. “We wanted to push the boundaries and because it was at the Embassy Theatre, we wanted that old 1950s black and white silver-screen look, and Phil understood the brief perfectly.”

A big-time Sopranos fan, Sophie aimed to recreate one of The Sopranos DVD covers for their favourite photo, which included everyone who attended the reception. Even Phil and Trudy posed in the shot, which they say tells the story of how their lives are intertwined with everyone who is important to them.

Teal explains, “We wanted to portray a couple of main characters and have everyone around us build the scene to create our story – the journey that we travelled, which has led to this milestone of 25 years together. Everyone in that photo has in some way shaped our lives.”

Even their marriage celebrant, comedian and actress Pinky Agnew, was a special part of their day. Teal says, “Pinky is a longtime client of ours, so we rang her up and she was happy to do it. But later she said, ‘By the way, you’re going to do my hair for my funeral when I’m dead.’ I’d just asked her for a small favour!”

Married to the Mob! Channelling TV show The Sopranos with their guests.

Teal and Sophie met through friends 27 years ago, and it was Teal who inspired Sophie to pick up the scissors and start a life of creativity. Two years later, they started dating.

“I was a cradle-snatcher,” smiles Teal. “I was 30 and she was 21.”

It wasn’t long before Sophie got involved in the business and now the couple work out of their Te Aro home with a very selective client base. The two closed their books three years ago, with Sophie explaining, “MKR brought a lot of interesting folk who would come for a look.”

Teal adds, “We had phone calls from up and down the country from people trying to book appointments. We had to turn people away because we didn’t think it would work very well. It’s a terrible way to choose a hairdresser!”

With Teal’s daughter Taylor and their girl Lola (front).

Their decision to close the books sums up the quirky couple. The pair admit they love to show off, but they try to stay within their close circle, something that was hard to do when they came off the show.

“Even though we were recognised a lot and still are, MKR never changed us,” insists Teal. “It actually brought us closer together and made us realise that we can work together in any way.”

The secret to their long-term success? “The key to any successful relationship is acceptance,” says Teal. “With that, you can achieve anything outside of your comfort zone. What MKR did was show us how strong we are.”

When Sophie looks back on their relationship and decision to go into business together, she recognises that it took a giant leap of faith.

“I was very worried about going into business together,” she says. “It felt like a big risk. If it didn’t work, what would I do then? I’d lose a relationship and a job. But we had to give it a go.”

“When your back is against the wall, you have to make it work,” adds Teal. “You do whatever it takes to get the job done. There’s a lot of people who say to us, ‘Oh, I wish we could do that. You guys are so lucky.’ But luck has nothing to do with it.”

“We’re lucky we didn’t kill each other!” laughs Sophie, although both realise how fortunate they are to have each found someone who “gets” them.

“We did the vows, but we didn’t need to,” says Teal.

“After we finished the signing, we just looked at each other and it was enough. She knew that I was saying, ‘Let’s shift this up a gear and see where it goes,’ without verbalising it.” He pauses for a moment and turns to Sophie. “You did notice that, didn’t you?”

Roaring with laughter, his new wife replies, “Yeah, I noticed!”

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