Moment former Olympian Lisa Curry met ironman Grant Kenny

They were Australia’s golden couple – and it turns out Lisa Curry and Grant Kenny’s fate was sealed the moment they laid eyes on each other.

Lisa Curry and Grant Kenny were Australia’s golden couple and according to Curry, the couple was fated from day one.

In her new book, Lisa: A memoir – 60 years of life, love & lossCurry has revealed new details about how the sporty pair first crossed paths before their relationship blossomed.

They first met at the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane in 1982, and by then, Kenny was a household name thanks to his success as an ironman and his endorsement deal with Kellogg’s.

Curry’s first impression of her future husband was simple, but telling – “he’s cute”, she mused to herself after they were introduced briefly.

But soon after, she found herself on an unorthodox first date with Kenny, after running into him again on the Gold Coast during a mock lifesaving competition.

Kenny, who had managed to get his pilot’s license at age 16, before he was able to drive a car, invited Curry and her friend and fellow swimmer Georgie Parkes for a joy flight in his light plane.

“When we landed, he kissed me on the cheek to say goodbye, and I thought, That was nice, he must like me. Then he kissed Georgie on the cheek. Georgie and I looked at each other and I whispered to her, ‘I bet he kisses all the girls!’ We laughed and thought nothing more of it, ”Curry writes.

“Grant was the pin-up boy of our time. His face was everywhere and, of course, he was on TV every night promoting Nutri-Grain. There were always girls hanging around him; I’d felt special when he invited us up for a fly but now, I wondered if I was just another girl to him. “

But it was during a night of drinking just before the closing ceremony that Curry realized she had met her future husband.

While Kenny was completely sober, Curry had downed more than a few gins, and in her words, was a “babbling mess” – but still, the pair ended up chatting from 2am to 5am, and Curry was smitten, telling a friend she was “Going to marry that guy” as he left the event.

“I just knew,” she explains in the book.

A few weeks later, they ran into each other again, when Curry “randomly bumped into Grant in the street” in Brisbane, with the pair planning to meet the following week at a boxer’s retirement party on the Sunshine Coast.

When they met at the party, “instantly we were stuck together like glue”, and two hours later, they were “kissing in the moonlight”, with their position as Australia’s golden couple cemented that night, November 27, 1982.

“I was smitten. Aside from being handsome, Grant was amusing, up-beat, polite – he always opened the car door for me, which I liked – not to mention highly intelligent and analytical, ”she writes.

“We became a couple pretty much straightaway.

“He was fast becoming an important part of my life and the time we spent together was really meaningful. I had a feeling he just might be the one. ”

Throughout 1983, they had a largely long-distance relationship, with Curry remaining in Canberra with the AIS and Kenny in Queensland.

Then, in 1985, the relationship moved to the next level.

“We were sitting on Grant’s bed at his parents’ house on the Sunshine Coast when he asked me to marry him – not a particularly romantic proposal, but that was okay, ”Curry recalls.

At the time, Curry was 22 and Kenny 21, and while Kenny’s mother believed they were too young and tried to “dissuade” them, the tragic loss of a friend’s father spurred the decision to tie the knot, reminding the couple that “we don ‘t know how long we’re here for’.

There was another motivation for formalizing the relationship – they desperately wanted to start a family.

“We weren’t together just because we were elite athletes. We were together because we loved each other’s company and enjoyed doing things together. We had such a lot in common, the same interests. We were two chatterboxes who got on extremely well, ”Curry writes.

“We were very young. But I was in a hurry. I wanted to have children and, back then, it was still frowned upon if you had children before being married; it wasn’t considered the right way around.

“We had done so much already, achieved so much, traveled the world. We were ready. ”

The date was set – April 19, 1986 – and the announcement caused a sensation in the media and among the adoring Australian public.

The big day drew a “massive crowd” to the Mooloolaba Uniting Church where the wedding took place, with “heaps of photographers and people trying to get photos” of Curry in her gown.

Not long after their wedding, Curry fell pregnant, and she described the moment she found out as the “happiest day of my life”.

Their daughter Jaimi – who tragically died in 2020 at the age of 33 – was born at 9.03am on June 25, 1987, followed by second daughter Morgan in November 1990 and son Jett in November 1994.

But by 2007, the fairytale had started to fall apart, with the couple separating in August that year.

“My marriage to Grant was very important to me. I wanted to be married: I wanted to live my life with someone and I loved being married to Grant. But there came a time when our

common interests started to divide, ”Curry explains of that difficult time.

“I was increasingly feeling like I was doing everything on my own and I could feel our relationship, as strong as it was, unravelling.

“In August 2007, Grant and I sat down together and had a really good talk. There were a lot of tears and it was very sad, but we decided amicably that we would probably be happier if we weren’t together.

“That was a hard decision to make. I felt that I just couldn’t keep doing what I was doing; I wasn’t living my life. ”

To this day, Curry and Kenny remain friends and share a commitment to their children and grandchildren – and as Curry explains, “I still love him and always will”.

Lisa: A memoir – 60 Years Of Life, Love & Loss by Lisa Curry with Ellen Whinnett (HarperCollins, $ 39.99) is out Monday.


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