Broadcaster Wilhelmina Shrimpton has gone public with her new beau, rugby referee Ben O’Keeffe.
Three months ago, Spy revealed that Shrimpton and her husband, insurance broker Mike Sanders, had separated after 5 years of marriage.
“Mike and I have indeed chosen to go our separate ways, but it’s been really positive, amicable and we remain friends,” Shrimpton told Spy. Sanders also told Spy the separation was mutual.
Shrimpton, 33, was fresh off a fill-in role for the NZ Herald Focus bulletin when she headed to Paris two weeks ago for a holiday amid the closing rounds of the Rugby World Cup.
After showing her Instagram followers the sights and sounds of the city, she posted a loved-up photo with O’Keeffe at dinner with cryptic lightning bolt and puzzle piece emojis. O’Keeffe posted exactly the same.
Friends and work associates of Shrimpton were quick to congratulate her, albeit some in cryptic ways.
Shrimpton’s best friend, PR practitioner Tess Woolcock, commented: “We’ve hard launched and I’m here for it.”
Other friends of the broadcaster were pleased Shrimpton had gone public.
Spy reached out to Shrimpton for comment and asked how long the pair had been dating, but no answer was received.
O’Keeffe, 34, was in Paris as part of the Rugby World Cup referee squad. He became a professional referee for the New Zealand Rugby Union in 2013, having started officiating in 2008 at the age of 19.
In June, O’Keeffe spoke out about the abuse he received following the Crusaders’ victory over the Chiefs in the Super Rugby Pacific final.
O’Keeffe was at the centre of several controversial calls during the final and revealed the torrent of online abuse from fans following the game in an Instagram slide
O’Keeffe and his officials were also loudly booed by fans during the post-match trophy presentation.
In a lengthy post on Instagram, he said that abuse in any form is never okay and that it’s a sad reality that it doesn’t affect him anymore - but that didn’t mean it was okay.
Outside her separation, Shrimpton has also had upheaval on the work front. The former Newshub reporter was enjoying working with her former colleague Lloyd Burr at Mediaworks’ newly launched radio station Today FM, co-hosting the drive show.
Just weeks ago, in a tell-all interview in a women’s magazine about her split with Sanders, Shrimpton confessed the couple decided to separate weeks after Today’s closure.
While Shrimpton has been living it up in Paris, Sanders has been enjoying time with friends in the jungle of Laos.