Magistrate in 60s to marry 23yo clerk
A Melbourne couple with more than a 40-year-age gap have officially taken their whirlwind romance to the next level - getting engaged during a romantic Fiji getaway.
Victorian magistrate Rodney Higgins, who is reportedly in his late 60s, popped the question to his 23-year-old girlfriend Ashleigh Petrie during a luxury jaunt at the five-star Warwick resort.
"It started with a crush and now I have a ring on my finger. The love of my life asked me to marry him and I said YESSSS," Ms Petrie wrote on her public Facebook account.
While the pair might seem like an unlikely match because of their four-decade age difference, the pair hit things off after meeting at work where Ms Petrie is a court clerk, according to a report by The Herald Sun.
Despite the potential controversy around their less-than-conventional workplace romance, the pair are very much public with their relationship, with Ms Petrie sharing personal details online since she and Mr Higgins got together back in March.
"What an amazing 10 days it has been here in Fiji! Firstly, I arrived as Rod's girlfriend and I leave as Rod's fiancee! I cannot wait to become Mrs Higgins!" she posted at the end of their holiday, along with multiple loved-up snaps of their time away.
It's not clear how Mr Higgins popped the question on September 20, but photos show Ms Petrie was given a ring encrusted with diamonds and a large oval sparkler that is finished with even more bling.
They celebrated their happy news with sparkling wine in large glasses. They also marked the occasion with some action-packed adventures, such as water rafting, zip-lining and karaoke sessions.
Friends and family congratulated the couple online, declaring the ring and their relationship "stunning".
While no one commented on their huge age gap, Ms Petrie has joked about it on her social channels.
"We are actually the funniest couple in the world! We spend all day everyday laughing and being silly, having fun! I don't know how I got so lucky to find such a sweet and caring man with the same sense of humour, this amazing man is the love of my life!" Ms Petrie captioned a photo of the magistrate holding up his senior citizen's card back on September 5.
"Dating a senior citizen … my community work is done," was also written over the photo.
Mr Higgins is a dad to three daughters and also a grandfather. He was appointed to the bench in 2017, The Herald Sun reported.
The jetsetting pair have previously enjoyed a luxury holiday to Bali, and Ms Petrie also expressed her excitement about a trip to Thailand in the next few months.