"Been missing you..." The beginning of Zoë Foster Blake and Hamish Blake's love story.

Zoë Foster Blake was in the beauty cupboard at Cosmopolitan when a book fell on her head. 

Like something lifted from the script of an early 2000s rom-com, the swan-diving book was a self-help title filled with precisely the guidance she needed at that moment in her life. 

It was called The Rules: Time-Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right. 

"It's a bit of a hideous book, I suppose," Foster Blake told Mamamia's No Filter podcast. 

Video via Mamamia

"Basically, it's this idea of 'let them chase you. Think of yourself as a prize, and then everyone wins because someone feels like they won you and you feel like [you get to be with] someone that really wants you.'

"It helped me with my self-worth and self-esteem at a time when it was really low. So I think, sometimes, you just look for validation anywhere. And that for me was that [book]; it gave me the strength I needed at that point."

She was Zoë Foster then; a young beauty editor in the heady 2000s heyday of glossy magazines; a woman who spent the first decade of her adult life dating NRL star Craig Wing.

They'd met at 18 in a nightclub where she was working as a cigarette promo girl, broken up at age 23 for a little over a year, then were back together until 29.

Particularly in the first phase, Foster Blake imagined marrying Wing: "I was just assuming that that would be the way it would roll. Even though I think in my heart, I knew that I probably wouldn't be that happy."

The man who would ultimately make her so was already in her life. 

"There was nothing romantic about it."

Radio presenter Hamish Blake became the man who would be alongside her as she went from columnist and blogger to founder of the Go-To beauty empire, who'd become her husband and the father of her two children, and with whom she would pen her own set of relationship rules: Textbook Romance.

"We met at a beauty function when I was 23 and he was 21," she said. "He and Andy [Lee] were hosting. And I just thought it was very funny straight up.

"I was very happily single and not at all interested, but we became very firm friends... There was nothing romantic about it."


The friendship continued throughout her relationship with Wing and Blake's with lawyer and actor Anna Jennings-Edquist. Then things shifted.

"I'd been single and gloriously wild and free for a year, and he had broken up with his partner. And I think I just realised that when he left Sydney, after we'd go out for dinner and have drinks, I was very sad. 

"[I'd think] 'That's a weird feeling. I don't usually feel like that when I've had dinner with another friend; I didn't think about them or the next day.' So it was a slow unfurling and figuring it out."

A few awkward conversations followed as they began to gently reshape their relationship.

"Someone would put a little foot forward and say, 'been missing you' or 'thinking about you', or something like that. And that would open the space for a bit more. 

"But we wanted to take it slow, because we didn't want to get it wrong. And quite frankly, at that point, the idea of kissing him was just weird. And I didn't know if it would work. Because I mean, he'd been my mate, for a long time. I'd clearly compartmentalised him in that in that world."

Eighteen months after they started dating, they were engaged. Another 11 and they were married.

"You know what? I really rate having a strong friendship and respect and admiration for each other before the physical develops, because it's all in place," she said. "Then you just have to figure out if you like kissing them."

For more from Zoë's chat with Mia Freedman, listen to No Filter.

Feature image: Getty/Mamamia.