After Kristian's passing, Rachel finds love once more

Rachel and Kristian Anderson with Oprah.
Rachel and Kristian Anderson with Oprah.  Photo: Supplied

It's like a plot straight from a heartbreaking-yet-romantic film.

But this is in fact the real-life story of one Auckland woman, a tale so touching it caught Oprah's attention - twice. 

Rachel and Kristian Anderson's love story captured the world in 2010 when he posted a video thanking her for her support throughout his battle with cancer. It also had star power, featuring Hugh Jackman and NZ prime minister John Key. 

Rachel Anderson-Evans and her sons Cody and Jakob on her wedding day.
Rachel Anderson-Evans and her sons Cody and Jakob on her wedding day.  Photo: Supplied

Sadly, Kristian passed away in 2012 at just 36, tearing his wife's heart apart.

But there is some happiness in this story: Rachel has since found love again. A stranger named Richard Evans was so touched by her story that he wrote her a hand-written letter, then flew the length of New Zealand just to take her to dinner.

Now, 18 months after the letter arrived, they're happily married, living on a dairy farm together.

Rachel's story

Trained as a teacher, Rachel's love story starts in 2001, when she moved from NZ to Sydney to study music and singing.

Through mutual friends she met film editor Kristian Anderson, and one year later the pair were married. They later became parents to Cody, now 7, and Jakob, now 6.

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But when Jakob was just 13 months old, Kristian was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer.

While sick, Kristian made a beautiful video letter for his wife's birthday and posted it to YouTube in 2010. In the video, he holds up placards with words of love and support for her.

Soon after the video was posted, an Oprah producer contacted the pair while the show was being filmed in Australia. They asked if they would appear in a segment about YouTube sensations.

But it was a set-up, and on live television Oprah Winfrey surprised the pair with a cheque for $250,000 to allow them to spend time together as a family.

Rachel says the money was used for many things, including a family trip to America and Disney World.

In January 2012, two years and three months after his diagnosis, Kristian lost his battle with cancer at the age of 36. Their children were just three and five.

"It was like living in a black hole," she later said. "I remember waking up the first morning after he died ... seeing his wardrobe open and his clothes all there. Just realising that was it. That was all that we had left. He was gone."

Rachel published a book from Kristian's blog, called Days Like These. She flew to New Zealand to promote it.

Invercargill dairy farmer Richard Evans watched the show and his heart went out to the widow. He wrote her a letter and sent it to her church in Australia, and it was then forwarded on to her.

The next time she came to New Zealand before moving there permanently, Richard told her he was flying to Auckland to take her out for dinner. And that's exactly what he did.

This week, Rachel again appeared on television, this time on Oprah: Where Are They Now?. She spoke about her life since she last appeared on Oprah - heartbreak, joy, new marriage and all.  

"He turned out to be the most incredible man," Rachel said. "In January of this year, we got married. He has a daughter that's in between the ages of my children, so between us, we have a five-year-old, a six-year-old and a seven-year-old."

But Kristian will never be forgotten by any of his family. "I work very hard to make sure that he's part of our day, still," she says.

"I honestly do think that Kristian is watching over us. I honestly do think he gets these windows into our lives and gets to see what's happening. [He's] taking care of us."

Watch the Oprah: Where Are They Now? clip below. 

 

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