As we enter the Bondi home of Matthew Johnson’s sister Kate for our exclusive WHO photoshoot, both Johnson and soon-to-be mum Laura Byrne are laughing, with the glowing jewellery designer reminiscing about their recent babymoon to Fiji where, just two years after first meeting on The Bachelor in 2017, Matty J, 31, asked the love of his life to marry him.
There were no cameras pointed in their faces (except for Matty’s iPhone, secretly on record!) or producers giving cues – it was just the two of them, blissfully in love. As a radiant Laura, 33, who is due in just five weeks’ time, recalls the magical moment: “It was perfect”.
WATCH: Inside WHO's exclusive photoshoot with the loved-up couple
We’re dying to know, how did Matty pop the question?
Matty: On the second night I asked Laura to come down for a photo at sunset and I put the ring box down my pants.
Laura: He didn’t even have it in his pocket, he had it right down his pants!
Matty: I didn’t want to put it in my pocket because it would’ve been a bit of a bulge! I set up my camera on the sand and said it would be on a photo lapse, but it was really on video. I walked over and had all this stuff planned to say and then I just went totally blank. I kind of just stood there and had a couple of tears.
Laura: He just started crying and I was like, “Are you OK?”
Matty: I was like, “I love you so much” [Tears] and then I dropped to one knee.
Laura: That’s when I figured out what was going on. And then I had a cry, and he had a cry. Then we sat there and had a cry together!
How did you pick the ring?
Matty: I was even questioning how to design the ring for Laura, given that she’s a ring designer, so I spoke to Larsen [Jewellery] and we sat down and talked about all these different designs and different types of diamonds.
Laura: They made the ring that Matt gave me on the show so it was a nice sentimental link.
Matty: I’d been saving photos of rings that I’d seen and chose a pear-shaped, rose-cut diamond. They showed me something that was similar and it just looked like Laura. The hardest thing was deciding if it was silver or gold, so I asked her sister and her sister said gold. Laura was away for work in Bali when I picked up the ring and throughout the day I’d look at the ring like 20 times every hour.
When did you know you were going to propose?
Matty: We always knew we wanted to go away before the baby came and neither of us had been to Fiji before, and so I kind of took the liberty of organising it.
Laura: He planned the holiday as a surprise. It was really amazing.
Were you more nervous asking Laura to marry you than when you chose her on The Bachelor?
Matty: It was a different feeling. It was just pure elation and it was much more private. It was more intense, the emotion that came with it – like, I knew I loved Laura back then, but I think now it’s just so much more of an intense love because we spend so much time together and we’ve been through so much.
When you found out you were pregnant, was it a surprise?
Laura: We were pregnant before, then had a miscarriage, so the first time was a surprise but the second time was less of a surprise.
Matty: I didn’t expect you to fall pregnant so quickly the second time round so we started trying and then straight away it happened.
Laura: The second time, as much as there was excitement, it was definitely laced with a little bit of, “well let’s not get too excited until we know that everything is OK”, because it becomes very real, the prospect of things going wrong.
Having a baby before getting married is quite a modern approach. What are your thoughts on this?
Laura: My parents are both divorced so my mentality towards marriage was a little bit skewed I guess, because of their experiences. But I know that you can stay in a relationship and be really happy and that marriage doesn’t define a relationship working out. Then I met Matt and my outlook on what marriage is changed and I knew I wanted to marry him at some point in time – I just didn’t think it would be now, I was happy for it to be after we had kids.
Have you started planning the wedding?
Laura: We want to get married next year. For me, it wasn’t necessary to be married before the baby’s born so we’ll take our time.
Matty: I used to work in events so I’d really like to be involved in planning the wedding.
Laura: Normally, it’s the bride that does everything, but I feel like it’ll be Matty organising it because I’m very last minute with stuff and he’s really good with planning.
Are you excited to become parents?
Laura: We’re so excited, we can’t wait. We’re about to move into a new place with a backyard for our dog. Practically, we still have a few things we need to get ready like the nursery because we’re moving, but emotionally and mentally, we’re both so ready for this.
Do you know the gender?
Laura: No, but Matt wanted to find out originally. I really wanted it to be a secret. I was there when my sister had her baby and when the doctors held him up and said, “It’s a boy!” it was just such a special moment and I knew I wanted that.
Matty: People are like, “I can tell looking at your neckline that it’s a girl”, or like, “I can see from behind it’s a boy”. I had a dream it’s a girl. My pregnancy senses are telling me that it’s going to be a girl!
Laura: I think it’s a girl, but we’re stoked for whatever.
For the rest of the interview, go to this week's WHO magazine.