He’s young and handsome, with a successful career as a TV star, so it wouldn’t be any surprise
if Shortland Street heart-throb Ido Drent played the field.
But as he lies on a sofa, happy in the arms of his gorgeous fiancée, makeup artist Mandy Hodges, the 24-year-old reveals why he can’t wait to make the ultimate commitment.
“Being Christian, marriage isn’t just a legal, tick-the-box thing for us,” explains Ido, who met Mandy five years ago through Life church. “It’s something more significant, more blessed than that. I don’t believe we’re meant to be alone. I think we’re created to be an intimate partnership.”
Though he and Mandy have been dating for only seven months, and haven’t yet lived together, the couple are certain that this is the right step forward for them. “To get the fullest out of this relationship, we need to be married,” says Ido who plays bad boy Daniel Potts on the hit soap. “There will be a whole new level of intimacy when we’re married. Mandy will see my dark side!” jokes the star.
Mandy (23) laughs at the idea her beau might be hiding something behind his sweet exterior. “I love the way Ido lives his life,” she says, looking into his eyes. “He could get away with so much in his position, but he chooses to do what’s good and what’s right. The best part is I love the way we work together.”
Knowing that their loved ones are supportive of this big decision has also been crucial for Ido and Mandy. “our families are very involved in the way we live our lives, so we wanted them to feel happy with what we’re doing,” says the star, whose boyish looks belie his maturity. “It would be horrendous if they didn’t get along, so it’s a huge blessing.”
In fact, they were even on board with Ido’s highly orchestrated proposal. Having already asked permission from Mandy’s parents, Ido got his friends to help him arrange every last detail for a perfect day out on Waiheke Island near Auckland, culminating in a romantic dinghy ride during which he popped the question.
“It took us a while to get going because I was at the wrong end to be rowing,” laughs Ido, who had organised for his pals to be watching from the shore and for members of Mandy’s family to be looking on from a launch in the harbour.
For his next trick, Ido pulled out a box in which he had collected keepsakes and mementos from each of their dates.
“I started unpacking this box and I told her, ‘This is just the start and I want to fill many more of these boxes. I want to keep writing the story with you,’” recalls Ido. “Finally I produced a new piece – a small box with a ring in it. While I was talking I had water streaming out of my eyes and then Mandy starts crying, so I popped the champagne. our families saw us and started honking the horn on the launch, and I took my shirt off and swung it in the air.”
Now the couple are busy preparing for a December wedding, tossing up between a “folkie kitsch” theme or “1920s carnival style”. “In the end, the most important thing will be creating community through the day and bringing people together to celebrate,” says Ido.
Beyond that there are plans for Mandy to open her own business and for them both to embark on some overseas travel. “We will explore the world and have adventures. We want to survey the options and not be afraid to take the risky ones,” the actor says.
“We don’t want to just settle into married life and start nesting,” adds Mandy. “We want to make bold decisions. I’ve always lived in Auckland and I still live at home, so I want to take the opportunity to go out and do stuff.”
Though it’s still relatively early days in their romance, the pair are already clear on what makes their partnership work.
“Being best friends is the secret to our relationship,” says Mandy.
“We try to keep it simple and have fun but we’re also very open and honest,” adds Ido. “We know that things won’t stay the same as they are today, but we’ll grow together regardless of challenges, circumstances and trials.
“We like talking about everything, and whatever happens we’ll just thrash things out and work it out together. Ultimately, Mandy is just an incredible partner in crime.”