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How We Met: Their Friend’s Party

Sportscaster Leigh Diffey met his future wife Michaela dressed as Barney Rubble



It was Barney Rubble who caught Michaela Diffey’s eye when he showed up at her best friend’s house on New Years Day 2005. The scruffy, fair-haired guy was dressed for a caveman-style theme party and when he and his best friend (dressed as Fred Flintstone) rolled in the next morning, they both looked a little worse for wear. 

Michaela, a Canadian resident from the age of three, had been in her native Australia for 15 years, first for college and then for her job as a travel planner. On this particular weekend, she was looking forward to a quiet way to ring in the New Year with a group of friends invited for a long weekend.

A few weeks earlier, Leigh Diffey had returned to his native Australia after living in the UK and the US for many years where he was fast becoming one of the most prominent announcers in international motor racing. He simultaneously broadcasted for Australia’s Network Ten and was back for a stint in Sydney just in time to dress as Barney for the party.  

As it turned out, Michaela’s best friend was married to Leigh’s Fred Flintstone buddy. Leigh, who was immediately taken with Michaela quickly retreated to shower, shave, and shed his caveman clothes so he could meet this attractive woman on more common ground. She, on the other hand, was amused by the guy with a good sense of humor dressed as Barney Rubble.

On a day-long boat ride to a remote island with their friends, Michaela and Leigh couldn’t stop talking. They were surprised to find they had never met before or that their mutual best friends had never tried to introduce them. “She was so easy to talk to and I couldn’t stop looking at her,” says Leigh. “We spent two full days together surrounded by friends. You can get a lot of talking done in two full days.”

“I knew I was destined to spend my life with Barney Rubble,” says Michaela. “He has a genuine sense of humor and is such a quality person.”

Among their many common interests, they also had similar last names—she was Duffey, he was Diffey. They began a long distance relationship with Michaela on the Gold Coast and Leigh in Sydney or traveling for his flourishing career.  Finally, less than two years after first meeting, the two were married on the same remote island where they first spent the day together. 

After several moves, Leigh transferred to Stamford where he continues to work for NBC Sports, then announcing Formula One along with covering a large variety of other sports events including the Olympics. When the Diffeys drove down Main Street, Ridgefield, they felt like they had stepped into a Hallmark movie. Since arriving two years ago, they have embraced everything about their new home especially family happenings they can share with their sons ages nine and six.

Leigh’s extensive career continues to cover a variety of sports from motorsports to golf and this year he will announce play-by-play of bobsled, luge, and skeleton events in PyeongChang. Coincidentally, Diffey covered Ridgefield’s Tucker West, who competed in the men’s luge in mid February.

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February 2018

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