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Real Life

Kiwi YouTube sensations: 'inside our forbidden romance'

They're sharing their love with the world, but Abbey and Money have also had their fair share of family dramas

By Cloe Willetts
When Kiwi internet sensations Abbey and Money Singh welcomed their firstborn two years ago, an adorable blue-eyed boy named Noah, happy images were splashed across Instagram and their YouTube channel, which has almost 1.5 million subscribers worldwide.
But behind the scenes, the popular Auckland couple, who have defied the odds to be together, were struggling. Money, 28, was torn between the needs of his Scottish-born wife Abbey and his Indian mother Pam, who had different ideas about how Noah should spend his first weeks. Mean-while, Abbey was suffering from postnatal depression.
"It was the worst time in my life," recalls the 25-year-old mum, speaking to Woman's Day after the release of the couple's first book, The Modern Singhs: The True Story Of A Marriage Of Two Cultures. "It was an emotional rollercoaster because I had an emergency Caesarean after wanting to have a natural birth, then Noah had feeding issues, and was dehydrated and losing weight. There was also a lot of confusion around what would happen when Noah was born, and Money and I got into the biggest argument we'd ever had."
In Punjabi families, there's a ritual new mothers often follow where they stay at their parents' home for 40 days after giving birth. For the first 13 of those, she and the newborn are left alone in a dimmed bedroom to recover and bond.
"Money's parents had this in mind for me after I gave birth to Noah, but they wanted me to stay at theirs," explains Abbey, who spent the first three days in hospital alone after Noah's birth because of COVID safety restrictions. "I was crying a lot and Money didn't know why. It came to a point where we kind of exploded."
It was heartbreaking for the pair, who've built a devoted global fanbase because of their fairytale love story, which began when they met while working at an Auckland branch of The Warehouse in 2014,
when Abbey was 17 and Money was 20.
"But I think it needed to happen to help us establish the boundaries," explains Abbey, whose posts from the couple's 2018 wedding went viral, turning the newlyweds into social media superstars.
"When his mum realised her suggestion had led to Money and I not speaking to each other, a compromise was made. It could've been solved if we'd just sat down and talked calmly about what each person wanted from their role with Noah."
Now the couple – initially forbidden to be together due to Money's culture, which demanded an arranged marriage – are stronger than ever and have learnt to communicate better. When they found out they were pregnant with a much-wanted baby girl last year, the first thing Abbey and Money did was sit down to discuss their expectations for her arrival.
"I'm so glad we did that so we knew we were on the same page," smiles Abbey, who gave birth to daughter Hazel in February. "We talked to Money's mum and she reassured us she was just there to help. Money's mum and I are so close now, and I can't imagine it being any other way. She lives five minutes from us and helps out a lot."
While the wee boy was initially mad at his mum for bringing home a little sister from hospital, Abbey laughs, "Now he's so in love with Hazel. He kisses and cuddles her, and any time she cries, he's right there to comfort her. She's a calm baby and such a good sleeper."
Abbey was overjoyed recently when she finally got to dress Hazel in a black tutu she'd bought from The Warehouse five years ago in case they ever had a girl.
"It was so special seeing her in it," she grins. "It brought back all the memories of Money and I talking about having a daughter one day. Money has always wanted a little princess, but she's quite a mummy's girl at the moment!"
Next year, the couple plan to take the kids to India for Abbey's first visit. But this year, the focus is firmly on family – and social media, where they post personal milestones and dance to Indian pop tunes, with Abbey also sharing her journey learning Punjabi from her in-laws.
"Having our YouTube channel is literally a dream job because we get to be with the kids and see family all the time," Abbey enthuses.
"We have to pinch ourselves a lot."
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