A year after walking out on their marriage, star athlete Jana Rawlinson renewed her vows to husband Chris. Rose Fydler reports.
Swathed in red silk, Jana Rawlinson brightened the grey English sky as she gave her heart to husband Chris for the second time in their four-year marriage.
Renewing their vows on March 31, their wedding anniversary, in a 14th century stone church in the tiny village of Long Whatton, the couple braved the UK’s chilly weather, warmed by their own sizzling chemistry and a close circle of family and friends.
“It’s the most special day - this is my chance to tell the world how much I love Chris, to declare it in front of God. So much happened to us in just four years, we needed to start afresh,” says an emotional Jana, 27.
Their roller-coaster relationship almost ended last year when Australia’s star 400m hurdler and her husband - who is also her coach and a former British Olympic hurdler - split for eight months.
“Our marriage got off to a great start but then things went downhill and we made plenty of mistakes,” agrees Chris, 37.
“Last year when we were apart we broke just about all of our wedding vows, so we wanted to put that heartache behind us and recommit to the meaning of those words.”
As a blushing bride the second time around, a tall, slim Jana looked mesmerising in her beautiful full-skirted gown with jewelled bodice and bolero – “a full meringue!” according to Chris, who helped choose his wife’s gorgeous dress.
“I feel like Snow White,” smiles Jana, who also wore a custom-made necklace by Megan Castran and carried a bouquet of cream roses for the candlelit ceremony, witnessed by 20 guests – “people who never judged us when we separated but tried to push us back together”.
Jana and her childhood friend, Tamara Schiess, had made a pact at the age of nine to be bridesmaids for each other but had lost touch by the time the Rawlinsons married.
When they linked up again through Facebook and rediscovered their closeness, Tamara was delighted to fulfil her promise to her friend and, as the only attendant, walked hand-in-hand down the aisle with Cornelis, Chris and Jana’s three-year-old son, adorable in a suit and tie.
For the story see this week's Woman's Day, on sale April 12, 2010.