When 47-year-old Jessica Rowe first met Peter Overton, 52, she was wearing a pair of denim overalls. Aged just 19 at the time, she was an eager university student doing work experience at Channel 9. While most of the journalists overlooked her, the young sports reporter took her out on stories, encouraged her to write, made her feel part of the newsroom. Grateful for the experience, she went off to grow as a professional.
About a decade later, when both were working as established journalists, he recognised her at the Logies.
Fast forward to 2018, and they’ve been married for 14 years and have two beautiful daughters. But as the former Studio 10 host told Mia Freedman on Mamamia‘s No Filter podcast, it took several years (and a little nudge from a friend) before Overton looked her way.
Here’s a snippet from their chat…
JESSICA: A number of years later, many years later, I was working at Channel 10 reading the news, and I went to the Logies. At the time I was dating this knob of a guy, and I don’t know where he was, he was off doing something. I’d managed to sneak my way into the Channel Nine party and Petey came up and said, ‘Oh, would you like a champagne?’
MIA: He remembered you?
JESSICA: Yes, he did. I don’t know if he was pretending to remember me but he was being lovely, and as we were talking I was thinking, ‘Why can’t I meet a nice man like this? Why am I not attracting really good decent people like this beautiful man?’ It was a lovely night, you know. We were just chatting, and off I went and off he went.
And then, not surprisingly, the relationship I was in came to an end. I was despairing because I was 32, and everyone around me was either in long-term partnerships, married, pregnant, about to have babies… I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve, probably too much when it would come to relationships; I’d just get myself hurt, time and time again. So here I was again, single, thinking, ‘What’s going on? What’s happening to me?’
One of my lovely friends who was a rugby league reporter – Tony Peters is his name – he also worked at Channel 10 and we’d have a coffee most days. He called me ‘Bombshell’, and he had this quite high-pitched voice. ‘Oh Bombshell, what’s going on. Surely there’s someone?’
‘No, there’s no one. But you know who does seem really nice, Peter Overton.’ And Tony went, ‘Oh, I know him, I’ll ring him.’ I said ‘No you won’t.’ He said, ‘Yeah, leave it to me. I’ll ring him.’
So after we’d had our coffee we went back into the newsroom and I look across was a big open plan newsroom and there’s Tony on the phone. He’d rung Peter. Unbeknownst to me, Tony had to convince Peter to take me out.
MIA: Oh no!
JESSICA: Yes, I didn’t know this though – thank God – at the time.