Entertainment EXCLUSIVE: Australia's sweetheart is in love! Sophie Delezio reveals her boyfriend of one year
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Sophie Delezio laughs giddily as she snuggles up to her boyfriend Joseph Salerno on the couch, introducing him to Woman's Day – and Australia – for the first time on their one-year anniversary.
"Everyone's dream is to fall in love with their best friend. It's something you often only see in the movies," says Sophie.
"But we've been best friends since we were 14 so it's just very natural and I'm so happy. He's so good for me.''
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Joseph adds, "It does feel very natural, doesn't it?"
Sophie Delezio's boyfriend: School sweethearts
Sophie, 20, and Joseph, 21, firstwhen they were on the same swim team.
"I used to swim by her and I was always pretty fascinated with her," he says.
But it wasn't until eight years later that they had their proper meet-cute.
"I moved to a new school, Oxford Falls Grammar, and everyone kept saying, 'Wait until you meet Joseph.' My friend even showed me a photo of him and I thought he was pretty cute," she laughs.
After he returned from a holiday in Italy, the pair met in drama class and hit it off instantly.
"I introduced her to a card game called scopa and we played that all day the first day we met, every break we got," says Joseph.
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Adds Sophie, "I had a crush on him, but we became best friends pretty much instantly.''
From that day, their friendship blossomed, and whilewould be put on hold while Sophie moved to London to study after graduating high school, their feelings for each other intensified when she returned home a year later.
"It was around two weeks after she had come home, we were hanging out a lot and I remember it was one night I was cooking her pasta and I thought to myself, 'Hang on, I think I feel something here'," says Joseph.
"So a few weeks later, we went out for dinner and I told her, 'Hey, I have something to tell you. I kind of have feelings for this person,' and she said, 'Oh really, who?' and I got out my phone and got up a photo of her and showed it to her. I had never seen her laugh like that, I thought she was laughing at me!" he says.
Sophie recalls, "I awkward laugh a lot when I don't know what to say or do. I was so shocked, I had no clue. But I knew I had felt something for him and I've always wanted him in my life. He's my best friend."
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But while Sophie was surprised,– who had also grown close over the years – were not.
"I woke up the next morning and everyone was jumping all over me. My grandma was even crying on the phone saying, 'I knew it!'" Joseph laughs.
Sophie adds, "My dad cried too – he was so happy."
While the pair's love story isn't out of the ordinary, Sophie's life has been – and dating someone as high profile as her would be daunting for the average Joe.
But for Joseph, it was nothing.
"It's definitely new to me, people come up to her all the time, they obviously love her very much. But I knew what I was in for," he says.
Sophie acknowledges, "I know a lot of people would be scared of that. So that's why I wanted to leave it up to him to announce it, because while I've accepted that my life has been in the media, it's new to him, and I didn't want to make him uncomfortable.
"But that's what makes it so beautiful about us being best friends and what made me feel so confident about getting in a relationship," Sophie points out. "Because he knew what to expect.
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"Joseph is very patient, especially with my disability – he's been so accepting and caring. He's probably better at monitoring my health than I am!"
When Joseph is asked what he likes about Sophie, he lights up, saying it's her love for life that inspires him.
"She's always joyful – just like her name, Sophie Joy," he says.
"There's also an elegance about her. She knows how to show her love and is so reliable. She's my type of girl."
The young couple have big plans, with Sophie keen to take Joseph over to New Zealand to meet her grandparents and maybe even move in together in their own apartment.
But for now, they're happy just living the quiet life. "We play scopa, watch a lot of movies. We love going away for long weekends and we love cooking – although Joseph never lets me do anything in the kitchen," Sophie laughs.
Joseph, who now works as a chef at Stella Blu Kitchen and Pizzeria in Sydney's Belrose, says, "I like it to be a surprise. It has to be perfect."
And while she's the first to admit her life has been far from perfect, Sophie's over the moon with what she calls her "beautiful restart".
"I found a way to create a life I've always wanted. I have a great job, I live out of home with my best friends and now have a pretty great boyfriend," she says.
"It's pretty beautiful."
Sofia Richie and boyfriend Elliot Grainge walk hand-in-hand to lunch .
Sofia Richie, 22, and her new man Elliot Grainge, 27, stepped out in the sunshine in Malibu, California on Saturday to enjoy lunch at Taverna Tony's.And Sofia Richie and her new man Elliot Grainge stepped out in the sunshine in Malibu, California on Saturday to enjoy lunch at Taverna Tony's.