Throwing herself into six months of intensive chemotherapy treatment, Tessa was left barely able to walk after her sessions, something her doting husband Nate says was ‘frightening’.
But with her husband of three years by her side – as well as her doting, tight-knit family – Tessa, now 25, dug deep and kept fighting.
‘I got through it because I had to get through it,’ she explains. ‘What was the other option? To sit and feel sorry for myself? I think I had to hit that low point, to be in so much pain and so upset and so traumatised, to then have that sense of empowerment again: I can get through this.’
And get through it she has. The actress’s recovery has been nothing short of inspirational, and, more than 12 months since her last treatment, she’s going from strength to strength.
That strength is just one of the things Nate fell in love with when he first met the petite star he now proudly calls his wife in 2009.
Opening up to Daily Life, the Manly Sea Eagles NRL star player admits it was also Tessa’ ‘piercing’ blue eyes that reeled him in.
‘She had long blonde hair and her eyes stood out like t*** on a bull. They just stood out,’ he laughs. ‘I thought I didn’t have a chance.’