For those who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Ben and Naomi in person, they are storybook-cute. Opposites clearly attract: Ben is larger than life, speaks off the cuff and punctuates sentences with gestures and laughter. But if Ben is the storm, then Naomi is the calm. She holds your gaze when you talk, takes a few seconds to think before she answers. She’s mindful and deliberate.
When they come together, his tone steadies, her face lights. He reaches for her hand; she cups his chin. They sing snatches of songs, and when they break into dance, it’s clear that they’ve done this many times before.
“I wish there was something more dramatic about our relationship to tell you, so it would make for a more interesting story,” Ben laughs ruefully when we sit down to talk. It’s somewhat true: even the roller coaster of 2020 didn’t seem to faze them. There were definitely changes, like Naomi temporarily moving into Ben’s home during Circuit Breaker to use his home studio for work, having to delay their home renovation plans, and scaling their wedding plans down to a small, intimate ROM ceremony come February 2021. With all the stress and worry about plans being upended – still no drama?
None, apparently. Instead, Naomi won the future in-laws over, Ben discovered a love for cleaning, and the pair are very much looking forward to moving into their new home. Although, they’re quick to clarify that it’s not that they don’t have arguments, it’s just that for them, there’s nothing that an honest conversation can’t overcome.
“In my young adulthood, I was looking for a love that was more excitable, but I didn’t think about how unstable that love would be,” Ben says. “I tend to overdramatise everything, but Naomi has a way of looking at things that pulls me down to earth.”
Naomi agrees. “For me, our love isn’t an explosive feeling – it’s a quiet peace.”
Call it kismet, but when the pair met for the first time to film a snippet for drama series Dead Lucky in 2018, they played husband and wife. Neither admitted to sparks flying: Ben remembers her to be pleasant, and Naomi describes him as professional. It was only when they worked together in The Intruders (2019) that a closer friendship blossomed.
Cotton sleeveless T-shirt, Dolce&Gabbana. GG Running gold and diamond earrings, Grip 35mm gold watch, and GG Running gold ring, Gucci
“He really saw me as an equal, and that’s something that I will always admire,” Naomi says. “He tried to get to know me, my likes and dislikes, and was a good listener.”
Over multiple McDonald’s suppers, the conversations went from being casual to “universe-type stuff”, where they discussed spirituality, family and purpose.
Cotton T-shirt, canvas GG pants, Icon thin gold ring, GG Running gold and diamond X ring, Ouroboros gold ring, Icon gold and synthetic corundum ring, and canvas GG sneakers, Gucci
“She wasn’t afraid to have those conversations,” Ben remembers. “By nature, Naomi is very deliberate and meticulous, and you know when she says something, it’s very sincere and not lip service.”
Silk dress, Ouroboros gold ring, GG Running gold ring, and Gucci Flora gold and diamond bracelet, Gucci
When it came to declaring his feelings, he was uncharacteristically nervous and stumbled over his words. But he was pipped at the post by Naomi, who asked, in all seriousness, “Am I your soul mate? Because I think you’re mine.” After that, he laughs, it was all systems go.
The words “soul mate” and “best friends” come up often in the conversation. “Sometimes, it can be difficult to talk about issues in the context of being lovers, because you might see the other person through rose-tinted glasses,” Naomi explains. “But when you’re in love with your best friend, you already see them for who they are. I know that if one of us lashes out, we can come back together and talk about it.”
Cotton shirt, wool jumper, GG gold necklace, Snake ring pendant on chain, Ouroboros gold ring, Icon gold and synthetic corundum ring, Icon thin gold ring, and GG Running gold and diamond X ring, Gucci. Earrings (worn throughout), Ben’s own
“I do get defensive, which can make it hard to work with me,” she confesses. “Ben will say, ‘I need to talk to you about something, and I need you to be open about it.’ He helps me in the way he opens the conversation and through the way he treats others.”
Silk twill blouse, wool twill pants, GG Running gold necklace, Lion Head gold necklace, Grip 35mm gold watch, Ouroboros gold ring, GG Running gold ring, GG Running gold and diamond X ring, Ouroboros gold and gemstone ring, and GG Running gold ring, Gucci
The couple went “Instagram official” after six months of dating, in a move that Ben describes as coming to him while brushing his teeth: “I realised that social media was about authenticity these days, and my Instagram was about my life. But there was someone so important who I wasn’t sharing about, and I wanted to pay tribute to her.”
A year after they first started dating, Ben bent the knee in New Zealand, a country that Naomi spent five months in for mission school in 2015, and describes as one of her favourite places. The proposal came as a surprise, but Naomi says that emotionally, she was already there. “When we started dating, I told my friends that this is the guy I would want to marry. Even if he didn’t propose, I would have!”
On him: Velvet jacket; cotton t-shirt; GG Canvas pants; leather loafers; Snake ring pendant on chain, Ouroboros gold ring, Icon gold and synthetic corundum ring, Icon thin gold ring, and GG Running gold and diamond X ring, Gucci
On her: Velvet jacket; silk twill blouse, wool twill pants, GG Running gold necklace, Lion Head gold necklace, GG Running gold and diamond X ring, Ouroboros gold and gemstone ring, and GG Running gold ring, Gucci
The pandemic brought their wedding date forward and their moving in date back. There were plans for a traditional wedding in the second half of 2021, but with circumstances in such flux, they decided to move ahead with a small ceremony. When it is safe to do so, a party with live music would be in order.
Ben has moved into their new home, and Naomi will make the move after they get hitched. Renovation was delayed by several months, but when they finally saw the space last October, it was an emotional moment. In the empty rooms, they christened their new home by dancing to Nothing by Bruno Major.
It is these little moments, Naomi says, that she cherishes. She remembers going on walks with Ben’s dog during Circuit Breaker and “having meals together, in the house with no furniture. Just us watching Gordon Ramsay yell at people on Hell’s Kitchen.”
Why these moments?
“They’re quiet; there’s nothing exciting. But these are the things you will remember when you get older.”
This article first appeared in the February 2021 issue of Her World.