Chelsea and Wayde Dunley had been shortlisted for Channel 7’s House Rules when the unthinkable happened.
In June of last year, the NSW couple had just sent off their final audition tape for the renovation show when Wayde tragically died in a rock-fishing accident a day later.
Now, in an interview with New Idea, the 29-year-old widow has spoken of her grief.
She and Wayde first met when they were in kindergarten, started dating when they were 13 and got married in 2012. Their daughter, Koa, was just seven months old when her father passed away.
“We had just sent off our final audition tape the night before he died,” she said.
“He was the other half of me.”
Watch the sneak peak for the heartbreaking House Rules episode here.
After finding out about the the couple’s devastating story, House Rules organised a heartwarming surprise for the widow.
Gifting her with a renovation of their two-bedroom cottage in the coastal town of Woonona, their plans was kept strictly under wraps, known only to a select few.
Speaking to the final three contestants on this year’s House Rules, host Johanna Griggs shared Chelsea’s remarkable story.
“The story that you’re about to hear is quite extraordinary,” she says in the episode’s tear-jerking promo. “When we found out about it, it absolutely broke our heart.”
On the morning before the House Rules crew appeared, Chelsea was supposed to go to breakfast with her in-laws, but things weren't going to plan.
"They were running really late and I wondered what was going on," she told New Idea. "Turns out, they were in on it."
Speaking to New Idea, the single mum only had good things to say about her House Rules experience.
"I can’t imagine a more perfect home to raise Koa in," she said. "This experience has absolutely changed my life."
The home's final transformation is something she and Wayde had dreamed of pulling off together for a long time - and her one regret is that he isn't there to see it.
"Every time I turn a corner, I notice new little touches that Wayde wanted for our home," Chelsea said.
"He would have absolutely loved it."
The House Rules Give Back Challenge will be aired over two nights on July 22 and 23. You can watch it on Channel 7.