Jodie Rimmer: Engaged and Expecting - New Zealand Woman's Weekly - 2009 (October 13)
Jodie Rimmer: Engaged and Expecting
As an actress, Jodie Rimmer is used to trusting her instincts. But even she was taken aback when they kicked in on New Year’s Eve, urging her to ask the scariest question of her life. The actress and her entertainment lawyer boyfriend, Tim Riley, were holidaying in Northland when they decided to make the most of the beautiful weather and take a dinghy out to a tiny island off the coast.
“We looked on the chart and couldn’t believe it,” says Jodie (35). “It was called Rimariki Island. So we said, ‘Let’s make it Rimmer-Riley Island!’” Without much further thought, they took off with their fishing rods, picnic lunch and a couple of beers. “I had no idea I was about to propose,” says Jodie.
While that might sound rash, the couple were “incredibly close”, having met at a Christmas party the previous year. Since then, they’d casually discussed the prospect of marriage – Jodie once playfully asked Tim (44) what he’d do if a woman proposed. His coy yet favourable response was enough to convince her she wouldn’t “offend his masculinity” if she ever did get around to it. So when the thought popped into Jodie’s head on the last day of 2008, she was overcome by excitement and fear.
“It just felt really clear that I should do it,” she says. Tim adds, “We’d just taken a skinny dip in this rocky cove and we were in a really good space. Then, when we got out of the water, she had a serious look in her eye and I actually guessed.” Jodie continues, “I was talking to myself, going, ‘Are you really going to do this?’ I wanted to be sure it was the right thing to do and that I wasn’t just being impulsive. I felt so exhilarated and terrified.”
She paced around the tiny island until she found a shell ring. Then after a few heartfelt words, Jodie asked Tim to marry her. “He paused and there was such electricity between us, it was so intense. I didn’t know what he was going to say! Then our eyes welled up and he said, ‘Yes, absolutely, I would love that.’ I squealed and jumped on him. It was just amazing.”
After the shock of the proposal had worn off, the couple vowed to keep their big news to themselves. Their plans only lasted a few hours though – as the New Year’s festivities kicked in, Jodie couldn’t help but spill the beans to her family. The next day, Tim did the same. But it would be another eight months before they told their friends.
“We did that so it was ours to nurture,” says Tim, who works for Dominion Law. “I have four brothers who are married and I’ve been married in the past. I know that as soon as you tell people it can get away on you and we just wanted to treasure it.” Jodie also kept it in the family. Soon after the New Year, her grandmother passed away, so she decided to have her beloved Nana’s engagement ring resized as her own.
Although it will be the second time up the aisle for Tim, he says he had no trouble accepting Jodie’s proposal. “Falling in love is always risky,” he reasons. “You open yourself up to the possibility of being hurt. But I had no reservations.” The joy of their secret engagement was severely tested, however, when a few months later, Jodie suffered a miscarriage.
The committed couple had been trying for a baby. “Even though it’s early on, you still feel the loss. It was a really sad time,” says Jodie. “But we grieved and moved on, then tried again a few months later.” They were soon successful and the couple are thrilled to be expecting a healthy, “wriggly” new baby in March.
“Jodie doesn’t break news – she just knows!” laughs Tim. “When we had the miscarriage, she was sure she was pregnant before she’d even had a test. Her mum and I were saying, ‘Just wait and see!’ So when she knew immediately this time around, I trusted her that it was true.”
The pregnancy coincided with more excitement when Jodie won the lead role in the Circa Theatre play The Vertical Hour. The job has meant moving to Wellington for two months and although the actress is finding being away from her fiance difficult, she’s enjoying staying with Tim’s parents.
“I underestimated how big it was going to be, doing the play while pregnant!” Jodie laughs. “It’s pretty stressful. I’m having really big fatigue, hormone and memory issues. But it’s the biggest role of my career – it’s amazing.”
Tim was in the audience when she took to the stage and he’ll be there again on closing night. “He sees me for who I am,” Jodie says of her fiance, “and that’s such a simple, beautiful thing.”
- Rebecca Barry