This pro surfer turned national hero and his gorgeous model fiancé don't just make sexy pictures - they're also a serious contender for Australia's most in love couple - here's why
Can one heroic act in the water sum up a guy? If you ask surfer Mick Fanning - you know, the pro surfer who was famously attacked by a shark during a South African contest in July this year - it totally can. "As a friend and as a person, you always think about those situations and you never know exactly what you're going to do," he says. "For [Julian], he didn't think, he just acted. I was telling him to go in and he just kept swimming for me. It just goes to show what kind of man he is."
You don't have to remind Julian's fiancé Ashley Osborne of this fact this either - you can see it in the pictures above and the way she talks about the Queensland-bred surfing superstar. In an exclusive Buro 24/7 shoot for Emporio Armani at their picturesque shared home on the Sunshine Coast, we grilled them about domestic habits, relationship secrets and that Paris proposal...
How did you two meet? Who approached whom?
Ashley: We met a few times, once on the Gold Coast at a party. Jules approached me with a huge smile and a drink, I was pretty smitten but wasn't too sure about it all as I was moving overseas.
Julian: I approached Ash to buy her a drink at the bar. Ash then proceeded to ask for one more for her friend and then once I got the drinks, Ashley and her friend disappeared into the night.
Ashley: We then ran into each other in LA randomly, but it wasn't until the end of 2011 for New Year's in Byron Bay that we actually started to hang out. We've been together ever since!
How long have you been together?
Ashley: Going on four years this New Year's.
What are your most annoying habits?
Ashley: Mine? I have none, of course! Jules says I'm terrible at doing two things at a time. Whether texting or talking. He also thinks I'm a wuss on the road. But I'm not - I'm quite a bad ass, actually!
Julian: Leaving clothes everywhere.
Who does the cooking and cleaning?
Ashley: I usually do, but I try and get Jules on the BBQ as often as I can. We're away so much that cooking at home is a bit of novelty.
Julian: Ash mostly cooks and I clean.
Who decorates the house? And who has the final say?
Ashley: I decorate the house, but I give Jules the final say. I want him to feel comfortable there.
Julian: Ashley and Ashley... haha
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Do you share your work lives with each other? Do you look to each other for help?
Ashley: I usually don't with my modelling, that's always been pretty separate. I don't really bring much home after a job, unless there's something that's upset me, but that's not often. With Julian's surfing, it's a bit different, since I go away with Julian so much to support him I've found it's become a really big part of my life, too. When we're away it's our main focus, so I do help him a lot with advice, you need someone to talk to in an environment like that.
Julian: We share everything together - I think Ash wishes she had a set of earplugs when I'm competing and rambling on about what's happening during the contest. Ash always has really good advice and knows me better than anyone.
You guys come from different worlds - do you ever find it hard to understand each other's industries?
Ashley: Yeah for sure. I used to find the fans pretty intense at times, but Jules and I are a lot closer now and those things don't bother me anymore. Jules's career requires a bit more involvement - there's a lot of support that goes into it, whereas my job is pretty independent. The hardest thing has been sacrificing my work for the sake of being there to support Jules. It was hard at first - I was a bit of a workaholic, but finding a balance has helped a lot.
Does it help or hinder your relationship having different day jobs?
Ashley: It helps. They actually go pretty hand in hand, to be honest. We both need to keep fit and healthy, and my job is pretty flexible thanks to my amazing agency who has always understood our situation. It's a pretty perfect combo!
Julian: It can be difficult at times, but I'm proud of Ash and love seeing her happy. Sometimes it means more time apart, but it works.
Do you influence each other's style?
Ashley: Um, yeah for sure. If Jules really loves something I'll definitely buy it over something else, he has really good taste. If only he didn't mind me dragging him around the shops more often!
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What was it that attracted you to each other?
Julian: I couldn't believe how beautiful Ash was when I first saw her. It was her humble nature and kind heart that had me in a spin.
Ashley: I loved that he wasn't afraid to smile and acknowledge me when we first met, he was confident and made me pretty weak at the knees. But after getting to know each other I really valued his focus and belief in himself, but also really strong values. He's just a good person at heart!
What do you love about each other? List 5 qualities.
Ashley: Jules is a leader not a follower; he has a huge heart; strong morals and values; he loves life; and he's as dedicated to surfing as he is to family and myself... he's a keeper!
Julian: Her smile, personality, heart, strength and humility.
What's your most ridiculous/funniest memory as a couple?
Julian: We've had some pretty hilarious surfing lessons. Ash loves doing the opposite [to what I say] and sometimes gets us into altercations with other surfers. She also likes to quit several times during a session. It makes for a lot of laughs.
Julian, what's your favourite outfit or look on her?
I think it'll be the wedding dress :)
Ashley, what's your favourite outfit on him?
That's hard. Jules looks great in anything! I'd say when he goes skating - that's my favourite for daytime. Otherwise, a suit is always sexy - I love his look in this photoshoot!
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Ashley, I'm guessing that a lot of your relationship is spent at the beach! Do you ever get sick of the ocean?
No I don't, I love it! The tour is so different every location that we go, from beaches in Australia to Rio or Jefferys Bay - it's always a new experience.
Julian, you had a major scare this year when Mick Fanning was attacked by a shark - how did you find it getting back into the water?
I took a week off, rode my mountain bike, spent time with mine and Ashley's family and then I had my first surf back on the Sunshine Coast. It hasn't changed my mindset on surfing and going to the beach every day.
Can you share your proposal story?
Julian: It was in Paris. We sat on a little park bench across the river from the Notre Dame. I waited for a pause in the foot traffic and said to Ashley, "Babe I've got a really good idea, maybe the best idea I've ever had," and as she was trying predict my idea I got down on one knee and asked the girl of my dreams to marry me. She said yes with tears streaming down her face.
Do you have any wedding plans you can share?
Ashley: Not really at this stage... but we're planning to be wed in the next two years.
Photography: Michael Naumoff, Vivien's Creative
Styling: Rebecca Caratti, Buro 24/7 Editor
Hair & make-up: Annabel Barton, Vivien's Creative (using Make Up Forever and Percy & Reed from Sephora)