How did you meet?
Neale: We met in Sydney at a charity cabaret for Fashion Targets Breast Cancer. David was backstage doing hair and I was performing. I’m no Michael Buble but I can hold a tune! I was singing ‘Stop In the Name of Love’ with two industry colleagues, Brooke Tabberer and Susan Skelly. David asked if he could give me big hair (the theme was ‘70s Soul Train’) – I think it was a bad attempt at flirting. Anyway, it worked. We hooked up later that night and we’ve stayed hooked for 16 years.
Neale, what was it that drew you to David?
Neale: His honesty and vulnerability. David wears his heart, his soul and his emotions on his sleeve. I had never met anyone so raw and so complex.
David, when did you know Neale was ‘the one’?
David: I fell in love with his beautiful pale blue eyes. I looked deep into his soul and we connected. I knew he was the one for me. Simple.
You are both such exceptional men, yet vastly different. Do you believe opposites attract or how do these differences impact your relationship and life journey together?
Neale: I do believe that opposites attract, but I also believe that similarities are what really bond. I think you can over-think why people are attracted to each other. At the end of the day, we just were. Like most people, David and I don’t live a perfect, Instagram life. We disagree often but fundamentally there’s respect, understanding and love. We both know who each other is, and what we’re looking for in life. We often know what the other is thinking before we say it. We sometimes take different paths but the destination is always the same.
David: At the end of the day, it’s all about love. I love Neale with all my heart.
What do you think contributes to a strong, lasting relationship?
Neale: Trust, honesty, respect, patience, humour, kindness, empathy – and shared values. Dogs, laughter and chardonnay. Accepting that like anything worthwhile in life, relationships have to be worked at. There are easy bits and difficult bits and bits that make no sense at all. There is no script to a relationship and no handbook. It’s all intuitive.
David: I can be hot-headed at times and I call a spade a spade. I tell it like it is. But when it comes to my relationship with Neale I really do wear my heart on my sleeve. It’s all about honesty. I’m 57 years old and I know who I am.
The images from our Love Story shoot are incredibly powerful. They are so tender and you can feel the life journey you have been on together. What did being part of the shoot mean to you both and how did you feel when you saw the images?
Neale: We were very flattered to be invited to participate in the shoot for several reasons, not least of which is the fact that we’re both in our 50s! Last year’s recognition of same-sex marriage in Australia was a massively important milestone for the gay community, and especially poignant for people of David’s and my generation. I don’t think we ever believed we would see it in our lifetime. To be given the opportunity to stand up so publicly for who we are – and show a younger generation of gay people that it’s a life to be proud of - is a wonderful gift.
Is there anything special you want to tell us?
Neale: David and I celebrated our civil union under British law in 2008. What we haven’t done yet is register that union in Australia, but you could argue that we’re married already. We certainly carry on like an old married couple! We’re just about to embark on a move to the south coast, which is the next stage in our journey. There may be a wedding at some stage – watch this space.
David: Of course there’ll be a wedding! I’m thinking 2020 and I’m wearing white. It will be a garden wedding at our home on the south coast and of course The Wedding Series will be there! Champagne for everyone!
Neale: See what I mean? Same same but different …
Couple – Co-Host, Love It or List It Australia; Judge on The Block, Stellar Magazine columnist Neale Whitaker and Style Ambassador David Novak-Piper
Concept, Creative Direction – Kate O’Shea, The Wedding Series Agency
Styling Jeff Lack – Jeff Lack
Photographer – Jimmy Raper
Location – The Old Clare Hotel
Grooming– Ciara from Detail
Look One (image 1 – 4)
David wears shoes 124 shoes, Hugo Boss Trousers, Hugo Boss Sweater, Prada Coat
Neale wears Ferragamo shoes, Giorgio Armani Suit, Harrolds Shirt
Louis Vuitton 'Bisten 55' - $7,700
Louis Vuitton 'Alzer 65' - $10,800
Stockist: 1300 582 827 / www.louisvuitton.com
Look Two (image 5 – 10)
David wears head to toe Ferragamo, Neale wears head to toe Giorgio Armani
Look Three (images 11 – 12)