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How a text out of the blue turned into marriage and two kids: Inside Buddy and Jesinta Franklin’s love story

''I knew as soon as I met her.''
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Lance “Buddy” Franklin and wife Jesinta Franklin may be one of Australia’s golden couples, but their romance almost didn’t happen.

These days the pair are husband and wife with two beautiful children and they have recently marked five years of marriage, after tying the knot back in 2016.

Mr and Mrs Franklin spend most of their time enjoying life as new parents while they navigate the ins and outs of having two kids under two in their home.

But when Buddy first approached model Jesinta in 2012 hoping for a date, she wasn’t sold on the AFL star.

Thankfully, she changed her tune and the couple became an item, dating for almost four years before they made it official and tied the knot in 2016.

From the early days of their romance, to Jesinta supporting Buddy through his mental health struggles, and becoming parents, it’s been an amazing journey.

In honour of their wedding anniversary, we’re looking back on some of the best moments in the Franklin’s relationship over the years.

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The former Miss Universe Australia was known as Jesinta Campbell when Buddy Franklin got her number from a mutual friend in 2012. He texted her out of the blue and wasn’t too successful at first, Jesinta telling the Australian Rules star that she “wasn’t dating” at the time.

(Instagram)

Speaking to Beauticate in 2017, Jesinta confessed she now cringes about her initial response to Buddy’s messages. “I was like, ‘Um, I’m not dating at the moment. I’m dating my career’. Cringe! Oh my God, I can’t believe I said that,” she said.

(Instagram)

After a little more convincing from Buddy, Jesinta agreed to a first date at Sydney’s Crown Hotel bar. Though Jesinta has admitted she wasn’t sure if Buddy was looking for a serious relationship at first, the Sydney Swans legend was sure she was The One from day dot.

(Instagram)

“I knew as soon as I met her that I wanted to marry her,” he told Marie Claire in 2018. “As clichéd as that sounds, it was love at first sight for me.”

(Instagram)

In 2014 Jesinta and Buddy adopted puppy Axel together, the model calling the pooch part of her and Buddy’s “little family” in an Instagram post at the time. The pair were well and truly in love by the time they added Axel to their family, Jesinta saying in 2018 that she’s never doubted their relationship.

(Instagram)

“I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with you. There are no words to describe how happy we are #ENGAGED,” Jesinta, then 23, captioned this black and white snap on Instagram. Buddy, who was 27, presented her with a custom-designed 4.5 carat diamond ring worth an estimated $100,000 when he popped the question.

(Instagram)

In 2015, Buddy opened up about his mental health struggles and took a step back from his AFL career to seek support – and Jesinta stepped up to the plate. She was vocal in her support for her then-fiancé and urged other women to support the men in their lives who may be struggling with mental health issues.

“Look at what my fiancé’s going through at he moment. He’s going to be a better partner for me for being vulnerable, and standing up and saying that he’s struggling,” she said at an Australian Women’s Weekly event in September 2015.

(Instagram)

Buddy and Jesinta kept details of their wedding under wraps in the lead up to their intimate ceremony in November 2016. The pair became Mr and Mrs Franklin at Mount Wilson’s Wildenstein Gardens in the Blue Mountains, NSW, Jesinta wearing a custom-made Vera Wang gown for her big day.

(Instagram)

The newlyweds honeymooned on the Gold Coast and in Byron Bay after deciding against going on a lavish overseas honeymoon. They spent time with Jesinta’s parents on the Gold Coast, then joined up with friends in Byron Bay and “just had fun”.

Jesinta told Vogue in 2017: “For us, just being in each other’s company was all we needed. And it was bliss.”

(Instagram)

Buddy and Jesinta went from strength to strength after saying “I do”, sharing loved-up snaps online and gushing about their romance in interviews.”I did feel a shift in our relationship,” Jesinta told The West Australian after getting married. “I think it is a deepened love and support and respect for each other. It is the two of us now, it is Bud and I, we are a team.”

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Jesinta Franklin daughter

(Instagram)

They went on overseas holidays, attended star-studded events and became one of Australia’s golden couples – then, in 2019, Buddy and Jesinta announced their most exciting news yet…

(Instagram)

A new little Franklin was on the way! Jesinta shared the news that she and Buddy were expecting on her personal app in August 2019, taking to Instagram with several stunning bump pics in the following months.

However their road to parenthood didn’t come without its challenges with the 29-year-old revealing they struggled to conceive. “The journey to get here hasn’t been easy and this little life is the greatest gift and we feel truly blessed and grateful that we will have a little angel of our own,” she said.

Baby Tullulah Franklin was born in February 2020, a spokesperson for the couple saying the new parents were “absolutely besotted with her”, via the Daily Telegraph. The pair have chosen to keep their daughter’s face off social media, but Buddy shared this sweet father-daughter snap to Instagram in 2021.

(Instagram)

Just a few months after Tullulah was born, the star announced that she was pregnant again in October 2020. Sharing this and other radiant pregnancy snaps to Instagram, she confessed she was surprised she and Buddy were expecting again so soon as they struggled to conceive before she fell pregnant with their daughter.

“It was a very big surprise for us. “It was very hard to conceive the first time with Tullulah, and for this [pregnancy] to be such an unplanned surprise is a blessing,” she said.

(Instagram_

It’s a boy! Baby Rocky Franklin arrived in March 2021, just weeks after his big sister celebrated her first birthday. Buddy shared this adorable photo of him cradling his son to Instagram shortly after Rocky was born.

(Instagram)

Buddy and Jesinta are now making the most of their time with their two children, enjoying the rollercoaster of life with two kids under the age of two. Though they’re careful about keeping their children’s faces off the internet, sweet photos like these show just how much they’ve taken to life as parents with their little family of four.

(Instagram)

“We both try to limit their presence on social media, protecting their privacy is important to Jes and I. But each to their own, we don’t judge,” Buddy told Now To Love. He still finds ways to share tender moments with his kids on social media though, like this snap of ‘Lulu’ offering him some flowers.

(Instagram)

Meanwhile mum Jesinta shared this sweet snap of little Tullulah helping her put on a load of washing with what looks to be a new addition to the family: a puppy!

Instagram

5 year anniversary

Buddy and Jesinta celebrated five years of marriage by spending a weekend with their children at the Crown Hotel in Sydney.

The couple stayed in a room decked out with chocolates, champagne, flowers, and enjoyed a romantic dinner at Nobu restaurant.

(Getty)

The stunning couple enjoyed a night out in December 2021, heading to the Moët & Chandon event in Sydney in coordinated all-black ensembles. Making the most of their break from mum and dad duties, the pair shared a rare loved-up video from the night, which you can watch below.

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Jesinta and Buddy Franklin share a rare loved-up video together

(Image: Instagram)

Buddy Franklin

Jesinta lovingly spoiled Buddy for his 35th birthday by throwing him a quaint party at Rhyanna Park in Chatsbury, situated outside of Sydney.

The couple enjoyed gourmet cakes, baked goodies and hosted a delicious dinner with their children. When they weren’t celebrating, they went on walks with their babies and relaxed by the pool.

(Image: Instagram)

Jesinta Franklin

The couple posed to mark the occasion, but Buddy’s height and lack of enthusiasm for modelling resulted in his face getting covered by some greenery.

An amused Jesinta commented on the photo fail, “How my husband feels about pictures.”

(Image: Instagram)

Buddy Franklin

In celebration of the Chinese New Year, Jes and Buddy went on a date night at Crown Hotel, and the couple cutely twined in matching white garb.

Buddy commemorated the evening by posting a picture of himself sitting at their dinner table and one of their delicious food. He captioned the moment, “Lunar New Year,” and Jesinta commented, “😍😍.”

(Image: Instagram)

Jesinta Franklin

Jes showed off her stunning all-white getup in an elevated selfie taken before heading onto a ferry with Buddy, and she wrote, “Making the most of our night out.”

(Image: Instagram)

Buddy Franklin

During their evening, she posted an Instagram story featuring her husband checking up on their children.

She gushed, “Checking on the kids. Thanks Aunty Aleysha, we love you!”

(Image: Instagram)

Jesinta Franklin

The next day Jes revealed on her Instagram that the Crown has a special place in their hearts because it’s where they had their fateful first date.

Alongside this photo and an Instagram dump of their food, she penned, “10 years ago we met for the very first time on a date @crownmelbourne 🥰 It’s a place that is really special to us as it brings back so many memories, so it was so fun to head to @crownsydney last night for an impromptu mid-week date night.”

The model added that they wanted to make the most of their night by organising everything from their cocktails to their water taxi.

“There are so many beautiful offerings (hello cocktails) for Luna New Year so I really wanted to lock in a night out together. We caught a water taxi to make the most of the good weather and booked a table at our fav, @silksrestaurants for sunset ! It was the best.”

Finally, she celebrated their past ten years by writing, “How lucky we are @buddy_franklin23 🤍 Grateful for the last 10 years and excited for what’s to come. I love you.”

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