Australian Story on ABC – When broadcaster and comedian Sami Shah met academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert through a dating app, he had no idea who she was and wondered why the joke he’d made about her being a spy had fallen so flat.

It was a week later that he saw her photo in a newspaper and realised she was the Australian academic recently released after 804 days in an Iranian prison.  ​

When Shah and Moore-Gilbert met, they were both piecing their lives back together. He was recovering from losing his job as ABC Melbourne radio host and the collapse of his second marriage, just months after the wedding. She was still coming to terms with her prison ordeal and the discovery that her husband had left her for one of her colleagues while she was behind bars. ​

After just a few dates, Shah and Moore-Gilbert were thrown together by Melbourne’s long Covid lockdown.

“I had spent so much time alone in prison I didn’t want to be alone again,” Moore-Gilbert tells Australian Story. “And in a way we healed each other.” ​

Both had to learn to trust again and they also needed to win the trust of Shah’s 14-year-old daughter Anya, who had lost faith in her father’s ability to judge women.  ​

But love blossomed and they recently celebrated the birth of a baby girl. For twice-divorced Shah, it is the second child he always wanted. And for Moore-Gilbert it is the child she thought she’d never have, following her 10-year prison sentence. ​

“For a long time, Kylie Moore-Gilbert was this academic who goes to Iran, ends up in jail for two years, comes back and then ends up lonely, which is a tragic story,” Shah tells Australian Story.  “Except I know the other story, which is that she and I went on a date and she’s my Kylie. And that’s a very different experience.”   ​

Producers: Greg Hassall and Belinda Hawkins 

Australian Story on ABC and ABC iview – Monday 16 October, 2023 at 8:00pm

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Australian Story on ABC
Australian Story on ABC