Labor of love: Albo debuts new romance
It was always going to be one of Anthony Albanese's three great passions - his son Nathan, politics or the mighty South Sydney Rabbitohs rugby league team - that was going to set the federal ALP leader on the path back to love.
Yesterday sources close to "Albo" confirmed it was his beloved Bunnies that helped the Labor politician break the ice with new partner Jodie Haydon.
Addressing 250 people at a Melbourne conference in late 2019, the Opposition Leader asked if there happened to be a "random Souths guy" in the room.
The 41-year-old superannuation manager was the only person to put up her hand.
When Albanese, a South Sydney life member, worked the room afterwards, he introduced himself to the finance expert who, he happily discovered, happened to be from Sydney and was also a Souths member.
As good fortune would have it, she also lives in his inner-west Marrickville electorate.
Last week the couple were photographed together for the first time enjoying dinner - and a kiss - at China Doll restaurant on Sydney's Woolloomooloo Wharf.
The dinner date follows the easing of COVID-19 social-distancing restrictions, something sources yesterday said had given the usually time-poor politician a couple of quiet months off the road, during which he has had time to get to know Haydon and lay down the foundations for a relationship.
When approached by The Sunday Telegraph yesterday for comment, the Labor leader declined.
Insiders say it is still early days for the couple, who have been working hard to keep their romance a secret.
It is Albanese's first relationship since the breakdown of his marriage to former NSW deputy premier Carmel Tebbutt in January 2019.
The ALP boss has previously said he did not instigate his divorce from Tebbutt: "It wasn't something I expected. It wasn't something that I was prepared for. I'm an emotional person and I found it very difficult."
Albanese and Tebbutt have a son together, Nathan, 19, who lives with his father in Sydney's south.
Ms Haydon, who grew up on the Central Coast, has never been married and has no children, describes herself on professional networking site LinkedIn as a strategic partnership manager who works to "empower unions, associations and their members to make the right superannuation choices for their future''.
"I'm passionate about education, innovation and fairer retirement outcomes for working Australians," she states in her profile.
Originally published as Labor of love: Albo debuts new romance