Sparks flew immediately, with Sam admitting she was struck by Richard’s eyes as she confessed to Who, “there was a [immediate] connection."
The feeling was mutual. Richard recalled in the same interview that “she had a sparkle in her eye.”
He added: “She has a quick wit, a terrific sense of humour.”
Intensely private Sam first went public with their relationship in a photoshoot and interview with Who for Who’s Sexiest People feature and revealed that her big attraction to Richard was the fact that he had "no idea" who she was when they first met.
However, a few weeks into their blossoming romance the blonde beauty decided enough was enough and asked Lavender, "Can you watch this show once so you know what I actually do for a living?"
Sam also shared that Richard is completely comfortable in his own skin, a trait that appeals to her.
“He doesn’t care what people think of him, which I admire greatly. He’s very decent, very honest. I love that he’s so modest,” she said.
Equestrian businessman Richard and TV host Sam divide their time between Sydney and the Southern Highlands, where Richard owns a 40-hectare property.
Nearby lies Sam’s $2.2 million five-bedroom country retreat, which she bought back in 2017.
As their love continued to blossom, Sam was snapped meeting Richard’s adult daughters Grace and Sasha in September 2019 after celebrating Richard’s 60th birthday with an intimate family lunch in Sydney.
"[The girls] don't mind Sam," a source told Woman's Day. "But they don't spend a lot of time with their father these days."
Their romance stepped up a notch and Sam solidified her place in the family when Richard popped the question and the smitten couple announced their engagement in June this year.
Appearing on Sunrise for the first time after the news broke, Sam shared all the gorgeous details of the proposal live on-air.
The journalist explained the proposal was a very thoughtful albeit understated affair on her Southern Highlands property in NSW.
"We just had a little bonfire on the weekend in the paddock, it was all very low-key. Like Rich and I, very low-key," she said.
Sam later added: “We’d been picking weeds in the paddock and he said, ‘Darling, do you want to marry me?’
“It was very sweet, very romantic. He’s just a very charming, lovely fellow.”
Sam’s long-time co-host David "Kochie" Koch also made sure the bride-to-be gave viewers an up-close and personal look of her engagement ring.
Holding up her perfectly-manicured hand to the camera, Sam flashed her new bling - which features an oversized diamond set on a classic white-gold band.
"Woah, Beyonce!" Kochie proclaimed of the ring, which is reportedly worth around $80,000, before joking, "Geez, I should have brought my sunglasses."
Despite COVID-19 restrictions throwing a spanner in the works of the planning of her big day, Sam finally walked down the aisle in a stunning Carla Zampatti dress on New Year's Eve 2020 in a secret ceremony in the Southern Highlands.
In January 2021, Sam returned to work and on Sunrise, the newlywed shared new details of the wedding - revealing it was all a bit of a last-minute scramble.
"Three days before we decided we'd do it for New Year's Eve," Sam explained to her co-hosts.
"We did it, we got it done, it was a little bit stressful for me but Rich was very relaxed.
"It was Dad, my dad, we were all sitting around, at Christmas time as you do, having a few drinks and Dad said because of COVID and everyone's in lockdown… Dad said 'just do it!'"
Since the wedding Sam had been hinting there may come a time to step away from the small screen and swap Sydney for their Southern Highlands base.
“I don’t think any of us want to do the same thing forever. There’s a lot about television that’s all about you and that’s an awful way to live your life. TV isn’t a place that’s necessarily very healthy,” she told Stellar recently.
“It’s full of sociopaths and narcissists – it can be a dangerous environment, let me tell you.”
And, on March 3, 2021, it appeared Sam had had enough and sensationally quit her longtime role on the breakfast show.
"I have always been brave and fearless in my career and this decision is no different."
She added: “I want to take a break and find some peace and calm. I go out of this job at a time of my own choosing and on top of the ratings, which not many people on television can say they do."
Since stepping away from her high-profile gig, Sam seems happier than ever with hubby Richard as they live a quieter life.
Just over a week after leaving Sunrise, the podcast host took to Instagram to share a photo of the happy couple beaming from ear to ear while posing inside a car.
"'Edit your life frequently & ruthlessly. It’s your masterpiece after all.' My mum." Sam captioned the image.
"And I did. And this is what the next chapter looks like.."
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