Real Housewives' other halves

Holly Ryan,
Spy News,
Publish Date
Sunday, 4 September 2016, 11:19AM

The other halves of the Real Housewives of Auckland have kept to short cameos in the hit television series, but "Cuddly Bear" and "Dixie Normous" as they're affectionately known to the wives, are high profile in their own right.

Investment banker, analyst, business owners, property mogul - while trying to avoid the limelight, the husbands behind the housewives have become friends.

"I hadn't really met them before but given the fact that we've been thrown together for the last four months we are becoming friends," said Louise's husband Scott Wallace.

"Every time we get together the housewives go off and look after themselves and the men go and we compare our own notes and just enjoy a drink together and a laugh," he said.

"We're almost sideline observers to this social phenomenon which is the Real Housewives."

Anne Batley-Burton's husband Richard said he didn't want his name up in lights but was happy for Anne.

As the show continues, viewers may get a better insight to the men behind the Real Housewives.

Richard Burton (Anne Batley-Burton) Richard Burton, aka "Cuddly Bear" has more than 26 years experience in the finance industry and has spent the last 15 as an analyst at Forsyth Barr. A member of the Ice Angels, Burton has invested in startups and says he enjoys putting money back into young businesses to help them grow - "something I do aside from golfing, fishing, skiing and all those things guys do". As well as their 1.5-hectare family-run olive grove in west Auckland, the couple also own a house in France where they spend time every year. Burton is bemused as to why people would want to know about the other half of the housewives. "Anne was asked to be on it and I said well if you think you can promote your animal charity and your business - because she imports french wine and champagne - then that's great," Burton said. "I just don't see why it changes anything - it doesn't change me or what I am, so I just carry on doing things the way I've normally done them."

Ann Batley-Burton and Richard Burton. Photo / Norrie Montgomery

Michael Lorimer (Julia Sloane) Affectionately known by his wife as "Dixie Normous" Michael Lorimer is Julia Sloane's recent husband. Lorimer is an investment banker at Grant Samuel and the founding director of the New Zealand office which he set up in 1991. With more than 20 years experience in investment banking across a wide range of industries, Lorimer's work has included advising several of New Zealand's largest companies. He also owns the Coxhead Creek vineyard in Matakana and has made several of the more interesting comments on the show. Sloane was previously married to auctioneer Dunbar Sloane and the pair remain friends.

Michael Lorimer and Julia Sloane. Photo / Norrie Montgomery

James Kirkpatrick (Gilda Kirkpatrick) Property tycoon and Richlister James Kirkpatrick married Iranian Gilda - more than 40 years his junior - when she moved to New Zealand. The two separated in 2013. The octogenarian comes in at number 86 on the National Business Review 2016 Rich List, worth an estimated $170 million. Kirkpatrick has built an industrial and commercial property empire over the last 50 or so years, and his son James now does much of the day-to-day running of the business. Notably media-shy, Kirkpatrick has stayed out of the television show limelight - although he is certainly talked about a lot.

Kirk Hope (Angela Stone) Prominent business personality Kirk Hope is the former partner of housewife Angela Stone. Wellington-based, Hope was previously chief executive of the New Zealand Bankers Association, and is the current chief executive of BusinessNZ. His extensive history in the finance industry also includes roles with the Financial Services Federation, and Westpac. Adding to his extensive CV, he is also a barrister and solicitor, holds a Master's degree in law and a bachelor and post graduate honours degree in political science. Not bad.

Business NZ chief executive Kirk Hope, the former partner of Angela Stone. Photo / Mark Mitchell

David Blanchard (Michelle Blanchard) Dave Blanchard made his money in Good Health, a vitamin business started by his father John which he later ran with his brother Brian. Blanchard is still involved in the business but stepped down from running it after 25 years. He has spent the last year renovating the couples lavish Coatesville mansion. The pair met in New Zealand when Michelle was on a family holiday, and have been married for 16 years.

Michelle and David Blanchard Photo / Norrie Montgomery

Scott Wallace (Louise Wallace) The managing partner of DDB NZ, Scott Wallace has been married to Louise for 33 years and as with the other husbands, isn't overly keen to be a major part of the show - although he says it has been great for Louise. "I can't say I was that thrilled to be on TV but it's been great for Lou's profile and based on the first three weeks I think the show has delivered everything she wanted it to," Wallace said. "I think it's a great blend of drama and comedy." Wallace has been with DDB for 16 years and has more than 30 years experience in the communications industry in New Zealand and Australia. An Auckland Grammar school boy and AUT graduate, Wallace's other roles have included work with the likes of Ogilvy & Mather, Grey Advertising and Meares Taine.

Louise and Scott Wallace. Photo / Norrie Montgomery