'RHODubai' Stars Caroline Stanbury & Sergio Carrallo Reveal What Makes Their Marriage Work: "We Never Get Bored!"

Plus, the couple looks back on their favorite memories from their wedding day.
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
Entertainment & Celebrity Editor
  • Sarah is the Entertainment & Celebrity Editor for The Knot, with special focuses on pop culture and celebrity wedding news.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Sarah was a contributing writer for Bravo at NBC Universal.
  • Sarah has a degree in journalism and resides in New York City.
Updated Jun 21, 2024

It's been over two years since Caroline Stanbury and her husband Sergio Carrallo swapped vows in a lavish, multi-day Dubai wedding—and these days, the Bravo personalities are doing better than ever. The Real Housewives of Dubai star, 48, and former Real Madrid soccer player, 29, made headlines when they began dating in 2020, largely due to their age gap. Their relationship was featured on the first season of RHODubai, which marked Carrallo's introduction to the world of reality TV. (Stanbury previously made a name for herself as a fan favorite on the network's 2014 series Ladies of London.)

Although the show earned a reputation as one of Bravo's most dramatic Housewives franchises, well, ever, we're happy to report that Caroline Stanbury and her husband are thriving as they approach their third year of marriage. Amid the premiere of RHODubai season two, we caught up with the couple to look back on their wedding day, and chat about what makes their marriage work in the spotlight. Plus, they reveal where they stand on their fertility journey, which will play out this season.

In this article:

Inside Caroline Stanbury and Sergio Carrallo's Wedding Day

We couldn't sit down with Caroline Stanbury and Sergio Carrallo without talking about their wedding day. The lavish nuptials took place on December 18, 2021, at the Palm Resort in Dubai. A handful of Stanbury's former Ladies of London castmates attended the star-studded affair, which included live entertainment, a cake-cutting ceremony with a sword, and a raucous after-party.

While Caroline Stanbury's wedding did appear on RHODubai, cameras didn't capture everything. While you might recall the groom's emotional speech to his wife, which left everyone in tears, Carrallo says that moment was actually one of the most stressful throughout the entire weekend. "I lost my speech," he tells The Knot. "I put it in my jacket, and I left it somewhere. [That moment] went by so fast, and I felt like couldn't express myself." Luckily, the paper turned up later, so Carallo was able to read the original version to his wife on their anniversary.

The bride wore three wedding dresses by Greek designer Celia Kritharioti throughout the evening, which she paired with shoes from her own label. Though she jokingly calls Carrallo the "bridezilla" of the relationship, she says her favorite memory was seeing her husband's reaction at the beginning of the ceremony. "I loved going down the aisle and seeing how happy he was," she says. "You can only wish for a husband to look at you that way."

The Secret to Caroline Stanbury and Sergio Carrallo's Marriage

While navigating the first year of marriage can be challenging for any couple, Caroline Stanbury and her husband did so while they were building a new house, prepping for their move, pursuing joint career opportunities, and undergoing IVF twice, all while filming season one of RHODubai. "How I got through that season, I'll never know," Stanbury says. "The whole experience brought us closer. It showed me how much he can handle."

For Carrallo, a first-time "househusband," learning to navigate married life in front of cameras provided a unique challenge. "I suffered a lot, because I love her so much and I always try to protect her [from the cast]," Carrallo explains. "Now, I understand that at the end of the day, it's part of the show, so I need to let the girls do their thing, and be there for her when she needs me."

It's this maturity, Stanbury says, that originally attracted her to him. (Before they met, Stanbury was previously married to her ex-husband Cem Habib for 15 years, with whom she shares three children.) "I always try to get my head around the fact that, at 24 years old when I met him, he knew this was his life's path," Stanbury reflects. "It's one thing to start dating an older woman with kids, but to marry her is quite a different thing. It's a lovely story."

While Carrallo says that assuming the role of a step-father to three in his 20s "wasn't easy" at first, he's since developed a bond with his wife's children. "I was very clear that I was going to be there for them if they need anything," Carrallo explains. "Now, we really enjoy each other's company…I've always wanted a big family, and it's amazing how I got it this early in life."

Stanbury echoes his sentiment: "It makes my heart melt. Now they ask if they can hang out with Sergio." She also adds that they have a healthy dynamic with her ex-husband too. "We're talking [to Cem] about spending Christmas with him in America with his new girlfriend," she shares. "I'm extremely proud of what we've achieved to keep our family together."

The subject of their family dynamic is shaping up to be one of the biggest plots in their storyline on this season of RHODubai. While Carrallo has been open about wanting a child of his own, Stanbury expressed hesitancy given her age—but after going through IVF twice, they've set forth an action plan. "We're currently looking for a surrogate," Stanbury confirms. (When Carrallo smiles and says, "I'm surprised with how on board she seems," Stanbury adds: "Look at his face. He has to have [a baby], doesn't he?")

With their journey to expand their family slated to air on the show, the spouses are prepared to field thoughts, opinions, and commentary from their castmates and fans alike. "Because of Sergio's age, I think everyone expected this to be a disaster," Stanbury explains. "They thought I was in a midlife crisis. Now, five years on, people are coming around and respecting my journey."

While they're letting their fertility path play out naturally, the two are busier than ever. "Because we work together, every day is so different," she says. "We never run out of topics of conversation. It can be business, it can be family, it can be travel, it can be anything."

After all, she says, that's the secret ingredient to making their marriage work in the public eye. "We talk about everything," she muses. "I don't think I've ever had a relationship that's been this grown-up." Adds Carrallo: "We can never get bored…and we're just getting started."

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