Robbie Streeting admits he had a secret crush on Madeline Stuart, Australia's famous model with Down syndrome, since they met at a Special Olympics event in 2011.
With the blessing of both sets of parents, the couple embarked on an old-fashioned relationship – enjoying their first date two years ago on Valentine’s Day, holding hands and slurping soft drinks at Queensland’s popular theme park Dreamworld.
This year, the couple headed back to where it all began.
“It’s a special place for us with wonderful memories of laughing and giggling – so I decided to surprise Maddy with a visit for our anniversary!” beams Robbie, 20, who has an intellectual disability.
“We were just friends until I finally said yes to a date after he chased me for three years,” says Maddy. “I always joke that the geek got his princess!”
Robbie admits he was worried when 19-year-old Maddy’s catwalk career went global at last year’s New York Fashion Week. But these days he has nothing to worry about.
“She’s still the Maddy I know and love – and completely independent. I love telling my friends my girlfriend is a world-famous supermodel!” he says.
“I’m so proud of her – she’s done so much already in raising awareness for those with disabilities – making the point we can lead normal lives.”
“I think she loves me because I am protective and attentive, but not possessive – when we go to discos I’m so happy if she dances with the other boys because the last dance is always saved for me!”
Right now, Maddy has kicked off another year on the catwalk with a second appearance at this year’s New York Fashion Week.
“I’m also going to South Africa and will see giraffes and zebras,” boasts Maddy. “Then to Uganda to show it’s OK to have a disability. Hopefully I will get to Milan and Tokyo fashion weeks, too!”
Meanwhile, Robbie has his sights set on saving up to buy his beloved the ring of her dreams.
“Maddy is the one and only girl for me – I’ll wait until she turns 25 and then I’ll propose.
“It might take a while to save for the ring but I’ll get there. Won’t be quite as big as Mariah Carey’s but it will be pretty impressive – my princess deserves the best!”
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