• Anthony Callea and Tim Campbell in New Zealand for their wedding (Regina Karon)
Nearly 10 years after first meeting on the set of a reality TV show, Anthony Callea and Tim Campbell are happily married. Callea now tells SBS what it's really like to be wedded to your same-sex partner, two years after they tied the knot in New Zealand.
By
Ros Reines

9 Oct 2017 - 2:50 PM  UPDATED 9 Oct 2017 - 3:34 PM

Entertainer Tim Campbell and singer, Anthony Callea married three years ago in New Zealand and they’ve been on their ‘honeymoon’ ever since.

“I’m Yin to his Yang,” agrees Campbell, 42. 

But according to singer, Callea, 34, it wasn’t love at first sight.

“Our paths crossed many times professionally but I never knew that Tim was gay,” Callea tells SBS, with a laugh. “Well, so much for my gaydar. I didn’t have a clue.”

The couple actually met when Campbell, then a soapie star on Home And Away, was a contestant on Dancing With The Stars in February 2007.

Former Australian Idol runner up Callea, whose current album ARIA Number 1 Hits In Symphony, reached number one on the ARIA albums chart, was booked to sing on that show. But there wasn’t any sparks between the couple then.

A little while later they were booked to play room-mates in the rock musical Rent in Perth. 

“We had lunch two or three times and once I realised that he shared the same feelings as me,” says Callea, “it progressed from there.'

“When we started seeing each other, we were both very busy with work commitments, so we decided not to rush anything,” Campbell tells SBS.

“Well, that lasted for just two months and within six months we’d bought a house together.”

The decision to marry was just as spontaneous when they just started chatting about it idly one afternoon at home.  

“I remember clearly when the conversation came up,” Callea tells SBS, “Tim was sitting on one couch, nursing a glass of chardonnay and I was on the other with a tumbler of Scotch. Neither of us wanted to commit to wanting to get married in front of the other one.

Callea and Campbell at their wedding

“Tim asked whether I wanted to but I replied that I wasn’t sure and asked about his thoughts. It went back and forth. Both of us are stubborn, so there was certainly no getting down on bended knees to propose.”

Nevertheless, the date was set for November 16, 2014 and they chose Auckland, New Zealand because of its natural beauty plus it wasn’t too far to travel for their family and closest friends.

“We had a beautiful dinner the night before that included both of our sets of parents and two friends of ours. That was essentially the only people who were at our New Zealand ceremony,” says Callea, “we didn’t want to turn it into a media event”.

Callea admits to being a very nervous groom-to-be. “I woke up the next morning and I was pacing the corridors of the hotel, having a cheeky Scotch here and there. Tim was fine but by the time we got to the venue at Sky City, Auckland, it had switched and he was the one having conniptions.”

Luckily the ceremony went off without a hitch.

According to Campbell, it was important to both of them to get married exactly when they wanted to and not have to wait around until it became legal in Australia.

“A New Zealand marriage certificate is legal throughout the world except in Australia and we wanted to make it a real marriage in a beautiful place,” says Callea.

Tim Campbell and Anthony Callea celebrate their marriage

The couple believes their marriage has changed their relationship for the better.

“Getting married did make a difference to us,” Campbell explains, “it put that huge romantic icing on the cake and given us that extra piece of unity.”

On a practical level, it’s also helped with their many work trips to the USA especially when it comes to joint earnings and taxation.

“Beyond that, it’s a beautiful thing when we get off a plane in LA or when we go to Europe, we’re acknowledged as a married couple. But when we wake up in our own country, we’re just in a de facto relationship,” says Callea.

“We’re fortunate that we’ve got great parents,” he says. “But in Australia, if something happens to us medically, I can’t make any decisions for Tim by law and he can’t make any for me. I wouldn’t want to put my parents in the situation that they have to make the call because it’s not right,” he says.

When we get off a plane in LA or when we go to Europe, we’re acknowledged as a married couple. But when we wake up in our own country, we’re just in a de facto relationship.

Neither of the couple is interested in adding to their family with children.

“I don’t personally wants kids,” says Callea. “I think it takes people who aren’t selfish to have a child and if I have a child I want to give wholeheartedly. But at the moment I love our life and what we have together. If we should ever change our minds, we would consider adoption because there’s so many children out there who need a loving home and a support network.”

They are both fortunate to have loving families of their own who have always accepted their partners. This is especially true in Callea’s case with his strong Italian heritage.

“Anthony’s parents are quite young and progressive,” says Campbell and they have always welcomed me into their family. It’s the same with my parents.”

If same-sex marriage is legalised in Australia, they say that they won’t bother renewing their vows, having already celebrated their wedding with a big party in Melbourne, shortly after returning from New Zealand.

“We won’t do another wedding just because it’s legal because that’s already happened,’’ says Callea. “I feel that it would be insulting to say ‘let’s get married again’ as if it wasn’t real in the first place.”

“We married when we wanted to,” adds Campbell, “we feel empowered that we’re more in tune with our society than our own government".

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