NZ Woman's Weekly

Mike Edward and Eve Gordon: ‘Our unconventional romance’

He has found fame as the evil Zac from Shortland Street, and she is an eccentric goddess from The Almighty Johnsons.

While they’ve been playing deeply flawed characters, Mike Edward and Eve Gordon’s own relationship is as unconventional as their on-screen roles.

Although they’ve known each other for more than a decade, circumstances meant the pair couldn’t be together until their inevitable attraction finally won out last year.

They met 12 years ago at drama school, but only realised they had feelings for each other when both started training in physical theatre a few years ago.

Mike and Eve

Through their company, The Dust Palace, Mike and Eve perform acrobatic, aerial, cabaret, theatrical and circus acts. Intensely physical, the performances require great skill and peak fitness.

“I was way cooler than Eve at drama school,” Mike [39] teases. “I was third year, and she was just a first year.”

“To be fair, I didn’t really notice him,” Eve [30] fires back. “Whatever,” he laughs. “When we started training together, there was instant attraction, but it was a slow process,” explains Mike.

“Life isn’t that simple, we were both in relationships at the time, so initially it was just an attraction. But because we were working so closely, there was no escaping it. It was inevitable.”

“I went overseas for a month, and when I got back, it was like, ‘Oh my God,’ I could just feel it all there,” Eve smiles.

Now they’ve officially been together for nine months, life couldn’t be any better for the couple, who live in the studio they’ve created for their physical theatre company, The Dust Palace.

“Our relationship isn’t normal,” grins a mischievous Mike, as Eve nods in agreement. “We are as unconventional and as boundary-pushing as possible, I think.”

Mike Edward and Eve Gordon

The pair met at drama school 12 years ago but have only recently become a hot item.

“Home is work. We live in our studio now, so there’s no escape,” says Eve. “Oddly enough, Mike used to tease me about having no work-life balance, and now we’ve completely merged the two.”

“Everything is intertwined,” Mike adds. “This is everything I ever wanted and dreamed of, and to share it with the person you love is incredible.”

Deeply in love, the couple admits that, despite their incredibly honest relationship, working and living together presents its challenges.

“We had a massive fight this morning,” Mike says freely. “Sometimes our work rubs off into our relationship. When you work with someone, you treat them as an equal, but you’ll fight for things to work, and when you’re trying to make a move work that fails 100 times over, it’s frustrating and there’s a tension that spills over into the relationship.

“But we sorted it, and that’s the wonderful thing about us. Every second we’re together is by choice. There’s no feeling of obligation to be together because we made some sort of vow, or promise. We’re choosing it, and it’s amazing.”

Mike Edward and Eve Gordon

Mutual respect for each other’s skill and athleticism helps them get through the hurdles that come with spending so much time together, as well as the understanding that if their deep connection ever dulled, the relationship would be over.

“We both know there’s absolutely no point in being together if it’s not awesome,” Eve says firmly. “If it went away, or it wasn’t what we both wanted, it would be over in an instant, just because that seems like the only way to be.”

Which is why the couple lives every single day to the absolute extreme. Whether that’s on the set of a TV show or hanging upside down metres above the ground when they’re performing their circus routines, they’ve made sure their high-octane life is a family affair, involving Mike’s two children, Ella (12) and Ali (3), every step of the way.

“When we’re not training together, we’re doing the family thing,” Mike says. “We’ve got two beautiful kids who come from various places in my life, and we try to do as much with them as we can. We don’t segregate our lives, so they love performing. Ella is Eve’s best friend.”

“She loves it,” smiles Eve. “She wanted to live in a warehouse long before I thought we ever would, and she loves coming over and training on the silks.“

“Ali’s the same, he’ll come and try handstands and things,” Mike adds. “It’s amazing.”

Mike on the set of Shortland Street

In his Shortie Street days, Mike’s character, Zac, had a notorious wandering eye.

With his days on the soap finally behind him, after playing the abusive Zac Smith for more than a year, Mike is happy to say goodbye to the character who provoked so much hate among Shortland Street fans.

“I’ve been waiting to be attacked with a handbag,” he laughs. “Johnny Barker, who played Joey, got hit with one, so I thought it might happen to me too, but not yet.”

Portraying the man who kidnapped and attacked nurse Roimata Samuels, played by Shavaughn Ruakere, has meant he’s copped his fair share of abuse from the public, but Mike’s just glad his third stint on the soap ended definitively.

“I’m happy to move on. The last few times Zac has left the show, his parting lines have been ‘I’m just going to sit on the beach and get my head together,’ so at least now it is done.”

About Kelly Bertrand

“I started at the Weekly after a two-week internship in 2011, which was part of my journalism studies. Basically, I hung around and annoyed people long enough to land a job as a staff writer, and I’ve been here ever since. I’m lucky enough to get to write stories ranging from the Kardashians through to the Queen, but my real passion is telling the stories of New Zealand’s sporting stars. Sometimes I can’t quite believe it’s my job to hang out with All Blacks and Silver Ferns! I absolutely love working at the Weekly, and feel really privileged to be part of this 83-year-old Kiwi institution. I’m also fond of Instagram, coffee and animals dressed as humans!”

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