Why Jesinta and Buddy Franklin’s rock-solid romance was destined from the start

“I knew as soon as I met her that I wanted to marry her.”
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There’s a reason clichés more often than not ring true.

And for sporting legend Buddy “Lance” Franklin, 33, and model wife Jesinta Franklin (née Campbell), 29, love, at first sight, was a reality for them – even if the beauty queen initially took a little convincing.

WATCH: Jesinta Franklin spills on her relationship with husband Buddy. Article continues after video. 

While their marriage is rock-solid now, Buddy almost missed his chance when he was trying to woo the former Miss Universe Australia after nabbing her number from a mutual friend in 2012.

After Buddy messaged her out of the blue, Jesinta nearly turned down his advances, insisting she wanted to stay single.

“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 told Beauticate in 2017.

Jesinta Campbell Buddy Franklin
Jesinta Franklin almost turned down now-husband Buddy’s advances, insisting she wanted to stay single. (Credit: Getty)

How did Jesinta and Buddy Franklin first meet?

As fate would have it, the Dior ambassador did end up saying yes to a date with the genetically-blessed Australian Rules player, and the pair met up at Sydney’s Crown Hotel bar.

“I was thinking, I really need a drink, and the waiter came over to take our order and Bud was like ‘a green tea’,” Jesinta previously revealed. “I was like, sh*t! ‘Okay, I’ll have a green tea too, thank you’.”

Sparks flew between them instantly, and even though Jesinta thought Buddy was “just after a bit of fun”, a relationship naturally flowed on from there.

Jesinta and Buddy Franklin
The couple’s first date took place at Sydney’s Crown Hotel bar and they ordered green tea. (Credit: Instagram)

Despite Jesinta’s reservations about his intentions, Buddy later admitted he was convinced she was ‘The One’ from day dot.

“I knew as soon as I met her that I wanted to marry her,” the Sydney Swans star told our sister publication Marie Claire in 2018.

“As clichéd as that sounds, it was love at first sight for me.”

In the same interview, Jesinta admitted the strong feelings were mutual, telling the magazine:  “There has never been a single moment that I’ve ever doubted our relationship.”

Buddy and Jesinta Franklin
“There has never been a single moment that I’ve ever doubted our relationship,” Jesinta previously admitted, while Buddy said: “As clichéd as that sounds, it was love at first sight for me.” (Credit: Instagram)

How did Buddy propose to Jesinta?

Head over heels in love, Buddy proposed to Jesinta with a custom-designed 4.5 carat diamond ring by Nader Jewellers in December 2014. The sparkler was estimated to be worth around $100,000.

Alongside a photo of Buddy and Jesinta gazing into each other’s eyes, Jesinta, then 23, shared the happy news with her Instagram followers.

“I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with you. There are no words to describe how happy we are,” she wrote, adding the hashtag “#ENGAGED.”

Buddy and Jesinta Franklin
Buddy popped the question in December 2014 with a ring estimated to be worth around $100,000. (Credit: Instagram)

When and where did Jesinta and Buddy get married?

Keeping their special day a top-secret affair, Jesinta and Buddy tied the knot at Mount Wilson’s Wildenstein Gardens in the Blue Mountains, NSW.

The very intimate ceremony, which took place in November 2016, was attended by a handful of guests consisting of the couple’s immediate family and close friends.

“It wasn’t a stuffy wedding. She [Jesinta] is known for being laid back and easy going and that’s exactly what she was as a bride. They danced all night long and were surrounded by people who love and respect them,” a guest told the Sydney Morning Herald at the time.

The guests watched on as Jesinta said “I do” in a stunning custom-made Vera Wang gown, while the sports star looked dapper in a Hugo Boss suit.

Jesinta Buddy Franklin wedding
Jesinta and Buddy tied the knot at Mount Wilson’s Wildenstein Gardens in the Blue Mountains, NSW, surrounded by close friends and family. (Credit: Instagram)

After the nuptials, Jesinta told The West Australian that their relationship had changed for the better now that they were husband and wife.

“I had no expectation of anything changing, but it really does,” Jesinta explained.

“Obviously we are already so close, but getting married creates an extra special bond between you and your partner.

“I did feel a shift in our relationship. 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.”

Jesinta Buddy Franklin
“I did feel a shift in our relationship. 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,” Jesinta said after getting married. (Credit: Getty)

Where did Jesinta and Buddy celebrate their honeymoon?

While Jesinta and Buddy originally planned a jet-setting international holiday to celebrate their first few weeks together as a married couple, their honeymoon plans quickly became decidedly more low-key.

“We went to Nelson Bay for four days after the wedding and I thought during that time we’d choose somewhere in the world, book plane tickets and go for three weeks,” Jesinta told Vogue in 2017.

“We slept for the first two days and then just the thought of getting on a plane was too much because I’d been flying so much. So we booked this huge house on the Gold Coast instead and had Mum and Dad over most nights for dinner.

“There was a pool, a jetty that we went down to every time the sun was setting; we swam every morning, drank cocktails by the pool, and indulged. The second weekend we invited all of our friends over and went to Byron Bay and just had fun. For us, just being in each other’s company was all we needed. And it was bliss.”

Jesinta Buddy
A pillar of support, Jesinta has helped Buddy through his mental health battles. (Credit: Instagram)

Have they faced any relationship hurdles?

As most couples know, relationships aren’t sunshine and rainbows all of the time. Even for a golden couple like Jesinta and Buddy, there are still tough times to face.

One of the pair’s more public struggles has been Buddy’s battle with mental health, which drove him to temporarily step away from his beloved AFL in 2015 to seek help.

There by his side, every step of the way as Buddy’s rock was his wife Jesinta.

“It’s certainly been a struggle,” Jesinta told a crowd of influential women at an Australian Women’s Weekly event in September 2015.

“I try to find the best in every day and I’m just taking each day as it comes, and right now it’s important for me to be a pillar of strength for my fiancé.”

Jesinta Buddy
The Miss Universe Australia said she’d “fallen even more in love” with Buddy as he faced his demons. (Credit: Getty)

However, she added that she had “fallen even more in love” with her man as he faced his demons head on.

Jesinta also urged other women to support young men with their mental health battles and said Buddy will become a better person due to his struggle.

“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 with something. He’s going to be a better father to our children,” she said.

Jesinta Campell Buddy Franklin
In 2019, the loved-up couple announced they were expecting their first child. (Credit: Getty)

Do Jesinta and Buddy have any kids?

It was the exciting relationship update fans were waiting for when Jesinta took to her personal app in August 2019 to announce she and Buddy were expecting their first child.

“My husband and I are so incredibly excited and overjoyed to announce that we have a baby on the way,” Jesinta wrote, adding that the process of falling pregnant was not a simple one.

And in February of the following year, their little bundle of joy finally arrived, with a spokesperson confirming the birth of a daughter named Tallulah to the Daily Telegraph.

“Jesinta and Lance are thrilled to announce the arrival of their beautiful baby daughter, Tallulah Franklin,” a spokeswoman told the publication.

“They are both absolutely besotted with her.”

Jesinta Franklin pregnant
After giving birth to daughter Tallulah in February 2020, Jesinta revealed she was pregnant with the couple’s second child just months later. (Credit: Instagram)

Just four months later, new dad Buddy revealed that following his daughter’s birth he had a newfound respect for the women in his life.

“I appreciate my mother and all women, but the appreciation of seeing exactly what mothers do, day in day out … my appreciation for them is just through the roof, and especially my wife,” he wrote on the Sydney Swans website in June 2020.

That same year in October, the couple confirmed the news that they were expecting their second child 

“Nearly halfway through…Tullulah will be getting a sibling at the end of March next year, so she will have just turned one,” she said during an Instagram live interview with Vida Glow founder Anna Lahey.

Buddy is every bit the doting dad. (Credit: Instagram)

In March 2021, the lovebirds welcome a bouncing baby boy into their brood – Rocky Franklin. 

Jesinta revealed that her second pregnancy came as a total surprise to the pair, who had previously struggled to conceive before falling pregnant with daughter Tullulah.

“I think I was six weeks along (when I found out about the second),” she said.

Speaking with Stellar Magazine at the tail end of 2021 about how their relationship dynamic had changed after having kids, Jesinta was frank. 

“A lot of people don’t talk about how hard it is on your marriage having children,” she said. 

“We could definitely do it better. We really haven’t had the time just use two without the kids, but we’re a very tight-knit family. It’s definitely not perfect, but we try to focus on being a team and facing the challenges together.”

These two have been together for almost a decade. (Credit: Instagram)

In a follow-up interview, Jesinta also spoke candidly about her fertility struggle. 

“When you’re in [the fertility struggle]. It eats up your entire world; it’s the only thing you can think of when you wake up; it’s the last thing you think of before you go to sleep.”

“That was two years of my life. Now, being on the other side of it, when you’ve been through all of that, the pain starts to fade away and it seems like a distant memory. I still think about it a lot.” 

“The end of an era 🤍.” (Credit: Instagram)

Buddy’s retirement from AFL

In July 2023, Buddy revealed he would be retiring from AFL with the full support of his family. 

“The end of an era 🤍 It’s been an extremely emotional 24 hours. So proud of my husband for what has been an incredible career,” proud wife Jesinta penned on her Instagram when the news became public. 

“For 12 years (19 for Bud) footy has been such a huge part of our lives and has come with lots of highs and lows. It’s been an honour to be a part of the journey with you @buddy_franklin23. A fairytale career.”

“The kids and I love you so, so much. Thankyou to everyone who has supported us, we have made memories that we will cherish forever. Here’s to a new and very exciting chapter of our lives together 🤍.”

The Franklin family made a rare public appearance all together (Credit: Getty)

One month on from the announcement, Buddy took his last lap of the Sydney Cricket Ground as a Sydney Swans player. 

“It’s been an honour and privilege to play for you guys ❤️,” the retiring sportsman penned on his Instagram account. 

“Love always to the @sydneyswans & hawthornfc fans. thanks to all who came today.”

To support him for his final game, he was joined for a lap of honour around the field with his two children and loving wife. 

The Franklin family did a lap around the bathroom to celebrate Buddy’s final AFL match (Credit: Getty)

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