Occy is having a baby. Well, not technically, but you get the idea. The miracle of life, though, isn’t anything new to him. Between him and his partner, there are more than half a dozen children running around, five on her side and two on his. “We’ve got seven children between us,” he told the Gold Coast Bulletin. “They’re just super excited to have another brother or sister. The kids just love holding Jess’s tummy and talking to the baby.”
Mark Occhilupo and his fiance Jesse Crawford only just recently announced the news, and Occy’s only worried about one thing. “I don’t know if I’m ever going to get a hold of the baby,” he said. “Jess has got a pretend baby doll that gets wrapped up in a blankie and the kids have been fighting over holding that, so I can only imagine what they’ll be like when the real thing comes.”
Oddly enough, it all started when Occhilupo split up with his wife, Mae, four years ago. After a couple of rough years, Mark had put on a lot of weight and sunk into a deep depression. A long-term back injury made things more difficult and his outlook was bleak. Then things turned around. “Billabong has been so good to me for so long and they hooked me up with Nam Baldwin, who is Mick Fanning and Stephanie Gilmore’s trainer,” he told Gold Coast Bulletin. “He’s just amazing and does mental stuff as well as physical. I lost most of my weight, got really healthy and fit … and when you’re in a good place, I think things just happen.”
There is one thing in particular that happened that changed Occy’s life: a rainy day and a phone call from his ex. “Mae was with Jess and a few of the girls trying to cook a barbecue across from my place,” he remembered, “and because it was raining, she phoned to ask if they could cook it in my kitchen. They all came up and the surf was good so I said ‘I’m out of here’ and Jess said she was keen to come for a surf too.”
From that surf session, the beginnings of a relationship were formed. Now, after a marriage proposal and the blessing of seven kids, the couple is going to introduce a new life to the world. “Life really does take twists and turns,” Occhilupo said. “I’ve had a fair bit thrown at me, even in recent times … and having Jess by my side has helped so much.”
Congratulations, Mark and Jess!