Meet Shortland Street star Theo Dāvid’s gorgeous baby son

Introducing their beautiful boy Jude, the actor and his partner Amanda reveal how becoming parents has deepened their relationship

Shortland Street star Theo Dāvid is no stranger to drama. As Ferndale’s foxy ambulance officer Viliami To’a, emergencies are just another day at the office.

But the Samoan-Kiwi actor is less accustomed to facing medical crises off camera, so when his partner, primary school teacher Amanda White, went into labour with their first child in Gisborne while Theo was still filming in Auckland, the drama felt very real.

To Amanda, 30, recounting the day their son arrived six months ago, her memories are as vivid as if it happened yesterday. “I was induced on 5 April at 38 weeks, with my sister, who’s a midwife, and my mum supporting me. But who knows if a birth will be slow or fast? Theo was still at work when I was induced, so that was really stressful.”

It’s no secret that Shorty’s gruelling filming schedule waits for no man, or baby, and as Amanda’s labour began to progress, Theo, 27, was still shooting scenes and panic was rising.

“I was definitely anxious,” recalls Amanda. “I kept thinking, ‘When is he coming?!’ I was stressed Theo wouldn’t be with me when I needed him.”

The couple kept up a steady stream of texts and calls, and although Theo promised he’d be there in good time, it was tense. But finally, with just one last scene to shoot, Theo said his lines as fast as the director would permit, then he hightailed it to Auckland Airport and jumped on the next available flight to Gisborne, where Amanda’s family lives.

With Theo en route, Amanda continued to agonise that their baby might arrive while the actor was mid-air, but happily, he landed just in time for a romantic stroll around the hospital carpark, before Jude Theodore Dāvid was born at 1.46pm on Thursday 6 April.

Announcing their pregnancy to the world.

During the birth, Amanda gave her support team strict instructions. Theo tells Woman’s Day, “She was very clear about what we were not allowed to do, but because I’m a guy, some stuff comes in one ear and goes out the other! She said there should be no laughing, but then her sister did something funny and I let out a big laugh mid-contraction, so Amanda had to remind us about the no laughing rule.”

Amanda explains, “I just needed to feel my way through the contractions because, frankly, the pain was excruciating and to hear them laughing didn’t help one bit.”

But as soon as baby Jude was born, Amanda reckoned she could do it all over again, although she admits they “absolutely struggled through the newborn stage”.

Amanda says, “It was new for Jude and new for us, so we were all trying to find our feet. It was a shock to the system, but we had great support and role models around us, so we’re smashing it for our first time, really.”

Theo was filming Shorty scenes while Amanda was in labour in another city!

Theo adds, “Now we’re loving every stage. We love where we’re at and we’ve found our flow, and Jude is so emotive and such a happy, interactive wee boy. Even when there’s chaos all around us, he’s just happy to be along for the ride, with a big, wide smile on his face.”

As for the milestones he’s reaching, the proud parents say he’s rolled over a few times, which naturally earned the sweet boy a round of applause. “He’s really into grabbing things and putting them in his mouth too – he’s a bit of a chewer,” tells Amanda. “And he also really loves Whitney Houston. Clearly he has excellent taste in music!”

Although he’s not always a total angel, notes Theo. “When Jude was baptised at St Mary’s Star of the Sea in Gisborne in July with his cousin Hawaiki, as soon as the holy water touched Jude’s head, he screamed the church down!”

Jude’s christening was a special occasion for the devoted parents.

Modern love story

The tale of how the besotted new parents met is a regular 21st-century love story, with Gisborne-based Amanda catching Theo’s eye online.

He recalls, “I saw a picture of this beautiful woman pop up on TikTok. She was trending at the time, which led me to Amanda’s Instagram account.”

Laughing, she continues, “He reacted to my picture, but I didn’t think anything of it, partly because Theo only had a little emoji for his main picture, so I wasn’t even sure he was human. Then he started stalking me! When he messaged me, I was thinking, ‘Who is this player?!'”

Theo knows approaching people on social media can be misconstrued, but something about Amanda made him persevere and he messaged again.

‘Theo makes me feel like I’m the only girl in the room’, says Amanda.

She tells, “It was August 2021, during one of the lockdowns, so I thought, ‘Bugger it – I’ll see what this dude is about.’ Our first actual conversation got deep and meaningful quite quickly.

I thought maybe it was a one-off, so I got on with my life, but at the end of the next day, he messaged again.”

Theo adds, “Because she hadn’t messaged me, I thought she wasn’t interested, so I just said, ‘Thanks for the chat last night. I get it – no message is a message.'”

From that moment, Amanda could tell Theo wasn’t just a handsome actor – he was also a sensitive soul unafraid to be vulnerable.

So when restrictions lifted, after months of messaging, it was time to meet face to face.

“I booked a flight to Auckland, although I pretended it was to see my best friend who lives up here,” smiles Amanda.

Their wee boy “screamed the church down”!

Theo says, “Even though we’d never met, we’d talked so much and sent so many messages every day, I just knew it was going to be perfect, so I booked an Airbnb for two nights so we could have a staycation.”

Amanda continues, “Theo put together a gorgeous weekend, but when we first met at Princess Wharf, I was so nervous when I saw Theo waiting for me, I just dropped into my chair and said, ‘I can’t do this.’ But as soon as we started talking, it felt so right.”

Laughing, Theo says, “We had dinner at The Crab Shack and Amanda totally passed the burger test – she didn’t care how she ate it. She just picked that giant thing up and stuffed it in her mouth. I knew we were meant to be.”

For more than a year, they sustained a long-distance romance, with Theo showing his commitment by visiting Gisborne every weekend. And very quickly the pair knew they wanted to spend their lives together.

Six months of Joy

Jude is six months old this Thursday and his proud parents say the wee boy has solidified their relationship. Amanda says, “We appreciate each other a lot more. We love seeing each other being parents and we give each other high-fives all the time.

“We still make time for each other at the end of the day once Jude is down. I was already head over heels for Theo before Jude, but once he became a dad and my partner in parenthood, I really couldn’t tell you my admiration now – there are no words! He is incredible and the best dad. I’m truly blessed.”

As well as parenting, communication is key to their rock-solid relationship. Theo tells, “We say whatever is on our minds – no beating around the bush. Now Jude is here, it’s even more important for us to stay open and honest.”

Amanda shares, “Theo makes it so easy for me to trust him. Some people say, ‘Oh, he’s on Shortland Street! Aren’t you worried?’ But I’ve never had to worry. This will sound so cheesy, but Theo makes

me feel like I’m the only girl in the room.”

When asked if wedding bells might be imminent, Theo lights up with a smile as broad as one of his son’s gummy grins and replies without hesitation, “Absolutely! I will definitely marry Amanda.”

And judging by the smile on Amanda’s face, her answer is bound to be, “I do!”

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