For all the ways his life has changed in the last 12 to 18 months – finding love, fame and a new, automatic family – you get the sense that when it comes to big changes, Sam Wood’s last week trumps them all.
Willow Wendy Wood – the 36-year-old’s first child with fiancee Snezana Markoski – came into the world on Sunday, sliding straight into a family who loved her before she even came in.
“She was born on Sunday night, so we had some really close family time. I disappeared off the radar a bit, so it’s been a bit of a weird week,” he tells Mamamia.
“I’m a bit tired, but it’s been the best week of my life.”
Keeping the news to themselves for four days was a conscious decision, he says, in a realm where privacy is rarely afforded to those who live their lives and their work in the eye of the public.
“For me, keeping it to ourselves was all for Snez. This morning we had paparazzi out the front of our house, which we knew would inevitably happen. That was the last thing we wanted in the first few days after she has given birth and done this amazing, wonderful thing.
“Because you do expect it, you can put contingencies in place. When [The Bachelor] all first happened, the paparazzi was a massive shock to the system. I didn’t even know what a paparazzo was, let alone had an encounter with one. I am just protective – I don’t mind it as much, I think they’re a bit of a pain – but I am just protecting Snez and making sure she’s okay and not tired or with anything extra to worry about.
“We had a buffer, so everyone was happy and well and rested.”
Wood’s experience as a first time father, while it’s Markoski’s second as a mother, is unique, but not altogether unlikely. It’s something he tells Mamamia that has inevitably meant Markoski has been able to help him through the process, even just a little.
“It has been a help, but it also feels half like we are going through something together for the first time, because it’s the first time for us. And Eve was born 12 years ago, so it has been a long time since she’s done it.
“It’s great that she’s gone through it, because as a first time mum you wouldn’t know what to expect, so she probably does have a little bit of an edge. The relationship that I have with Eve, watching her hold her little sister for the first time, we feel like the perfect happy family.”
Listen: The Bachelor’s Snez on family and fame.
As a step-father, it’s a relationship, and Wood said he was conscious of the subsequent changes to the family dynamic. Acutely so.
“Eve loves it. Snez and I had spoken lots, that we need to be really conscious about how the dynamic is affected. It’s a lot to take on as a 12-year-old moving states and her mum meeting me the way she did, but she has done a brilliant job just taking a lot in her stride. She is a really beautiful optimist,” he says.
He won’t, he says, be racing back to working full-time at his post at the head of 28 by Sam Wood.
“I don’t take for granted how flexible I can be, being my own boss. You think you need to go back to work, but after the baby comes along, all your priorities are re-evaluated a little bit. Your mindset changes completely.”