For Bruce "Hoppo Hopkins" of Bondi Rescue, true love eventually won out – despite being virtually left at the altar!
“I was absolutely shattered,” admits the Bondi Rescue lifesaver, who was a broken man after being virtually dumped at the altar in December 2013. “I’d never been that heartbroken before – I was devastated.”
The waterfront venue was ready for his stunning beach wedding and a water taxi booked to deliver his bride…but then disaster struck when Hoppo’s fiancée Stacey Woods called the whole thing off just as they prepared to walk down the aisle.
Stacey, 29, still feels terrible about her last-minute “freak-out”, which left Hoppo, 46, feeling humiliated on what should’ve been the best day of his life.
“I just wanted out and I ran away,” she says with tears in her eyes. “It was a horrible thing to do. I’m eternally sorry. I know I hurt a lot of people, and I hate thinking about it – it still makes me so upset.”
Fast-forward a year and a multitude of dates with other people and now the couple are planning to finish what they started. And runaway bride Stacey promises she will walk down the aisle this time, insisting, “It’ll be forever.”
Even though Stacey was the one who called it off, she insists she never stopped loving him and soon realised she wanted him back for good: “I wanted to try to make it work because the love was still there.
“I told Hoppo and he said, ‘If you’re serious about this, you’ve got to do three things. You have to quit your job (I was travelling a lot for work), put the engagement ring back on, and move in with me.’
“I did all three within 24 hours. I’m so certain this time around and want it to work 100 per cent.”
While it’s still early days, Hoppo already knows this time will be different, and hints that the pair might even reconsider tying the knot at some stage this year.
“I know I’ve found The One… and you never know, we might have a child of our own one day,” Hoppo says, smiling.
Read the full romantic tale about how Hoppo and Stacey first met, and how they’ve built their relationship up again only in Woman’s Day – on sale January 12th.