Rewind to the end of 2010, and the couple were just starting to fall in love. “We knew each other to say hi to,” Gale recalls. “Then we ran into each other and exchanged numbers.” At the time, Gale was living in Sydney and Hampson was playing for Carlton in Melbourne.
“Our first date was on Skype,” Hampson explains. “We’d talk through the night, starting at 8pm and by 7am the sun would be coming up and we’d be like, ‘OK we better get to bed’.”
So you two hit it off straight away?
Hampson: I knew straight away. Obviously the physical attraction was there, but we also have the same interests, same sense of humour.
Gale: In the beginning it was hard to navigate, I didn’t want my profile to scare him away and as soon as we started hanging out, there was paparazzi.
Did that bother you Shaun?
Hampson: Nothing could’ve scared me away. She did try to warn me and said, ‘If we get into this it’s going to be a bit crazy’. But I didn’t realise how bad it would be.
Gale: When you’re first seeing someone you’re playing it cool, you’re not calling each other boyfriend and girlfriend. So within the first couple of weeks, to have paparazzi following you and articles saying ‘this is Megan Gale’s new boyfriend’. I’m like, ‘no, we haven’t even labelled it yet!’ It was making it all very full-on, because I hadn’t come out of my previous relationship for a super long time. I felt it had been long enough but the public perception was, ‘Oh, she’s moved on quick. And he’s 12 years younger’. This felt like such a positive relationship experience and yet it was being turned into something scandalous. I was being called a cougar, he was being called a toyboy.
Hampson: Horrible. It may have been the right thing to hold off for a little bit longer until we thought it was an acceptable amount of time to be together. But, you don’t plan this stuff. I hadn’t planned on falling for her the way I did. I just wanted to be with her all the time.
Now you’re parents to two kids and you’re engaged.
Gale: It took us a while to ride through that. [We’ve] shown we are serious and having kids helped shift that perception. The way we are now, sitting here today as parents of two children (River, 5, and Rosie, 2) and almost nine years together, people see us differently but we’re no different than the first week we hung out.
What do you love about each other?
Gale: He’s such a loving dad and he’s so supportive of me. He’s very unaffected, and extremely humble.
Hampson: She’s the one person I can completely be myself with. She’s like a female version of me. She’s an unbelievable mother. After we had kids, my love for her just went to an even greater level.
WHO's SEXIEST: BTS with Megan Gale and Shaun Hampson
WHO's Sexiest 2019 is out now!