Anna Heinrich: ‘It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions’
A teary Anna Heinrich apologises for letting her emotions get the better of her as she speaks with Stellar about her pregnancy.
The Sydney lawyer has good reason for the waterworks: she is just days away from reuniting with her husband Tim Robards, following a six-week-long separation due to the strict lockdown measures in Melbourne, where he has been working.
The genetically blessed couple have been Australia's sweethearts since they met on Network 10's first season of The Bachelor in 2013, and went on to marry in June 2018.
Shortly after, Robards landed a role on the long-running Melbourne-based soap Neighbours, which resulted in their living in separate states and Robards flying home each weekend to be with his wife.
The couple announced they were expecting their first baby in May, when the world was already well within the grips of the pandemic. And faced with the possibility that he could miss the birth of his first child, Robards has made the decision to leave Neighbours and move home to Sydney.
As her husband serves out his final days in quarantine, Heinrich talks to Stellar about how her mum and sisters have been her support network, the challenges of maintaining a long-distance relationship during lockdown and why family will always come first.
What do you think the Anna who applied for The Bachelor seven years ago would think if she could see you now?
She would be in complete shock. I just could never have believed it would turn out this well. And she would be so happy to see that I'm in such a loving relationship. I always thought that the beginning was the best and most exciting part, but I now know it gets better. And here we are all these years later, and despite how nervous, scared and anxious I am, we're both ready to have a child.
Yes, congratulations are in order. As you say, you're ready to become parents.
We've been together now for seven years and we've spoken about it pretty much our entire relationship. We're both on the same page when it came to having children, and we both wanted them. For me, more so than Tim, it was about timing... because I'm the pregnant one! [Laughs]
I had a really good year work-wise last year and that was one of my fears. I love working and was always scared if I became pregnant, I wasn't going to be able to work anymore. I now know that is not true at all, but I did have that fear so I wanted to work for as long as I possibly could before I was ready to have a baby.
Tim was ready a few years ago, but he was waiting for me to come around. Tim and I both knew this would be the year.
When you found out you were pregnant, how did you share that news with Tim?
Well, when I thought I was pregnant, I took a test and it came back negative, so I told Tim I wasn't. Then he went back to Melbourne to film and during that time I took another test and it came back positive.
It's one of those things you want to tell someone in person, so I had to wait a full week until I saw him... and would you believe his flight was delayed? When he was in the shower, I opened up the calendar on his phone and on our due date I typed "our baby is due", and that's how I told him.
I asked him to check that particular date to see if he was available to go away then and when he saw it, he was quite surprised because the last he had heard I'd had a negative test.
Australia has had a vested interest in your relationship for years. No doubt your baby news was well received by the public?
Everyone was extremely positive. And I think when it comes to pregnancy announcements and babies, that is one thing everyone unanimously loves. It was quite overwhelming. And it's nice to know there are so many mothers out there who offered support and who are willing to share and talk through it, because I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing.
I'm only pregnant, so I can't imagine what it's going to be like when I have a baby. I'll need a lot of help, that's for sure. But I know I've got my family. I've got my friends and my oldest sister who has a little boy. Our babies will be around a year apart, and I know that they will be the best of friends.
You and Tim are very close to your extended families. Were they overjoyed when you shared your news?
Everyone was so excited. It was just ahead of the first lockdowns and we really wanted to tell them face-to-face so we made sure we did before we couldn't. Then we wanted to do a gender-reveal party with our families, and we waited until the restrictions eased so we could share that moment.
It was touch and go because Tim was in Melbourne but coming back on weekends and it was hard to plan anything because the rules kept changing. We were really lucky we were able to have that party in the end. It was me who pushed to know the gender and I talked Tim around.
You're a planner, you like to know all the facts.
Yes, exactly. I like to feel like I'm in control, I've always been like that. It wasn't so much wanting to know so I could decorate the nursery, it was more about mentally preparing.
And you are having...
A girl! Deep down that's what I thought, and most of my family and close friends also predicted a girl. I have three sisters and went to an all-girls school, so all my life I imagined having a daughter.
But since my sister had a little boy and I've spent so much time with him, I went into my own pregnancy with a really open mind and knew whether it was a boy or a girl, I would be really happy.
Here at Stellar we have a policy where during interviews we do not ask people when they plan on starting a family. This is surely a question you have faced many times?
Yes, I have been asked that question a lot and it started when Tim and I met. But I don't think it's unique to people in the public eye. Every woman gets that question, from whatever time people around them believe having a baby should be their next step. I've always been OK with it, but I understand why women wouldn't want to be asked that question. Everybody's situation is completely different and it's personal.
As the situation in Melbourne became more critical in July, you and Tim were unable to see each other for close to seven weeks.
It's been really hard. It was hard enough being apart during the weeks when Tim could fly back on weekends; we've really been having a long-distance relationship for two years now. We knew that was the situation when we became pregnant and we were both willing to work through that together.
The past six weeks have been really stressful, it's been one curveball after another and when hotel quarantine came in, we realised it meant that if there was an emergency Tim would not be able to get back to me. That is not a risk he is willing to take.
I guess after everything we've gone through, I feel so lucky knowing Tim will always be there for me, no matter what. I'm so sorry, I keep crying. It's been a roller-coaster of emotions and I'm pregnant, so I'm already emotional. I know he's going to be such a great father. We're lucky to have him.
During this time, thanks to modern technology we can video chat, but you still feel the distance, don't you?
Yes, we talk four or five times, sometimes more, every day. FaceTime is the way we currently get to see each other. I used to always look so forward to the weekend but now... [cries].
It's certainly not a time in your life you want to be separated from your partner. So, this all led to Tim's decision to end his time on Neighbours and return to Sydney?
Yes, Tim has been on the show now for two years and he was finishing up at the end of this year, but he's had to cut it short. It was a really hard decision for him to make. He wanted this role and was so happy when he got it.
It's a big thing for him to walk away from it and not see it through to the end. It's been so stressful for him. For both of us. We're both really struggling with the decision. I know how hard he's worked [cries].
Take your time.
I feel bad complaining or worrying about the situation I face because I know that there are so many other people worse off than us. But I think everyone's got to remember that we're all dealing with something. Everyone has had disappointments this year and it's important to acknowledge the way we feel. I don't know anyone who's not dealing with challenges at the moment.
By the time this issue of Stellar is out, the two of you will have reunited. The countdown is on...
Yes. So, when this comes out, we'll be able to read it together. He is currently isolating up at his parents' place in Newcastle. I'm extremely excited and so happy that we'll be together for my third trimester, which is probably the most important part.
Yes, he's back in time for lots of foot massages and to sort out dinners.
Exactly. He can help out in the kitchen every night [laughs]. It's funny to think that I've been through six months of my pregnancy and hardly seen him.
While you have been apart, who has been your support?
My whole family, but definitely my mum. She's been coming to all the obstetrician appointments. And any time I have felt like I need her, she's right there.
Normally, I'm a pretty strong, independent woman who can go to anything on my own, but it's been really nice to have someone I love there with me. It's been special to share those moments with someone, especially the ultrasounds and seeing the baby up on the screen. My mum has experience and can talk me through everything. She's loved it as well.
You shared with your followers on social media a funny series of videos about spending every moment of the weekend with your parents.
[Laughs] Yes, I did. But it's actually been a few weeks since I've seen them as well. They're up in Queensland. They went before the borders shut. My sister and I were meant to go this coming weekend but now we can't. I feel like everyone is away right now, but I'll have them back at the end of August.
Looking ahead to the end of this year and Christmas, could there be a better way to celebrate and look forward to the future than a new baby?
It's going to be incredible. It makes me realise that with everything that has been hard and everything that's gone on, this year has also been pretty amazing at the same time. It's allowed me to kind of sit back and take time out during my pregnancy without the usual hundred things that are going on at once.
We'll have our little girl before Christmas and that family time is going to be priceless. To have a new addition to the family... there will be so much joy in our life.