Courageous two-time car crash survivor Sophie Delezio has revealed she first fell in love with her childhood sweetheart not long after her horrific second accident.
Sophie, whose bravery inspired Australia after she suffered third degree burns, bleeding on the brain and the loss of an ear in two separate accidents as a young girl, revealed this week she’s in love with her best friend, chef Joseph Salerno.
Sophie, now 20, and Joseph, 21, confirmed they have been in a relationship for a year, after first meeting as children 15 years ago.
Miracle double car crash survivor Sophie Delezio, 20, has revealed she’s been in love with Joseph Salerno, 21, since they met during swimming lessons as six year olds. The couple are pictured together above
Sophie Delezio says of her new boyfriend Joseph Salerno: ‘Everyone’s dream is to fall in love with their best friend’
She told The Morning Show on Wednesday: ‘I’m so happy to have this out there’ and ‘be able to tell the truth’.
The pair first met during swimming lessons when they were six – around a year after she was mowed down on a pedestrian crossing on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
They became best friends as teenagers, after doing drama class together at Oxford Falls Grammar.
Sophie Delezio is working two jobs and says her health is as good as it has been since her horrific second car accidents when she was 5. She hopes 2021 will be the first time in 18 years she won’t need a surgery
The then-two-year-old was left fighting for her life at the age of two after she was trapped beneath a burning car, which crashed into her daycare centre in 2003 (pictured leaving hospital after recovering from the horrific crash in 2004)
Sophie said she knew how she felt about Joseph the first day they met.
‘I had a crush on him from when we first met, and then it became best friends,’ she said.
Asked to open up about what she loves about Joseph, Sophie said he has ‘the kindest soul’.
‘Everything he says and does is done through kindness and love and admiration for his friends and family and has the most beautiful soul.’
Sophie Delezio (pictured right), 20, who famously survived two horror car crashes as a child, has opened up on finding love. She is dating childhood friend Joseph Salerno, 21, and the couple said they happy to live a quiet life these days
Sophie Delezio, who was lucky to make it past 5 years of age after two horrific car accidents, has called her life at 20 a ‘beautiful restart’, as she revealed she is in love
Sophie said Joseph is ‘100 per cent’ better at monitoring her health than she is.
‘She tells me she is going to the gym and she puts on her legs and is in pain, and I say, you are not going anywhere,’ Joseph said. ‘I can’t stand to see her in pain, I’m very honest with her.’
He admitted he still finds it ‘traumatic’ seeing images of her around the time of her accidents.
Sophie said her health is as good as it has been for years – and she hopes that 2021 will be the first time in an incredible 18 years that she hasn’t needed a surgery.
She also revealed that she’s working two jobs – one as a part-time companion carer under the National Insurance Disability Scheme and the other writing a monthly column.
She also plans to begin doing public speaking.
Sophie and Joseph want to move in together, after a trip to meet his grandparents in New Zealand, and admit they enjoy a ‘quiet life’ together, playing cards, cooking, watching movies and going away for long weekends.
Sophie has lived in the spotlight since she was a child, after surviving two devastating car accidents.
Sophie Delezio and Joseph Salerno tell their story in the current issue of Woman’s Day
Earlier this week, Sophie told Woman’s Day this latest chapter in her life ‘a beautiful restart’.
‘I knew I had felt something for him and I’ve always wanted him in my life.’
Falling for your best friend is something only seen ‘in the movies’, she said.
Joseph said he is inspired by Sophie’s ‘love for life’ and he really fell for her one night in 2020 while cooking pasta for them both after she returned from studying in London.
Sophie has been the poster girl for the Day of Difference Foundation since 2004, which raised over $14million for child accident victims.
Sophie Delezio (pictured right in both photos) has been close friends with her now-boyfriend Joseph Salerno (left in both) for many years
Last year her remarkable survival story, which shocked the nation back in the early 2000s, featured again on national TV, drawing over 600,000 viewers on Ahn’s Brush With Fame.
Sophie feels lucky all the media attention hasn’t been a barrier for Joseph.
‘I know a lot of people would be scared of that. So that’s why I wanted to leave it up to him to announce it, because while I’ve accepted that my life has been in the media, it’s new to him, and I didn’t want to make him uncomfortable.’
She has been the focal point for road safety media coverage and campaigns for many years – but Joseph is used to it since the couple were close friends since high school.
He said people are drawn to Sophie because she is ‘a joyful’ person.
Sophie Delezio (pictured at front, far right) with teenage friends. Her boyfriend Joseph Salerno is pictured back row, top left
At the age of two, Sophie was was left fighting for her life when she was two after she was trapped beneath a burning car, which crashed into her daycare centre in 2003.
The toddler suffered third degree burns to 85 per cent of her body.
She lost an ear, the fingers on her right hand and both feet as she was placed in a coma for three months.
But after a remarkable recovery, disaster struck again in 2006 when Sophie was thrown 18 metres from her wheelchair as she crossed a road.
Sophie Delezio (pictured at 19) appeared on the ABC program Anh’s brush with fame to discuss her life
She suffered a bleeding on the brain, a heart attack and severe injuries, including a broken jaw, fractured shoulder, and a tear to her lung. She also lost a sense of smell.
She went on to get her driver’s license before moving to London to study sociology and international relations at SOAS University.
In February she celebrated Valentines Day sharing a photo of herself holding a rose from an admirer in Instagram.