John Wood has revealed he has secretly separated from his wife Leslie, but the former couple still live together as friends – united by their love of their grandchildren.
The Blue Heelers legend, 71, opened up on the difficulty of moving on from his heartbreaking separation five years ago in an exclusive chat with Starts at 60, and said while it’s difficult, they have managed to make their unusual set up work.
The former couple, who married in 1970, share two daughters and three grandchildren together, who they see regularly, and John – who is now starring alongside an all-star cast in hit play Senior Moments – credited their mutual love for their grandkids for “lighting up their lives”.
“My wife and I separated about five years ago, it happens. I didn’t make a big fuss of it at the time,” he said. “We’re living back in the same house now. We’re friendly enemies I suppose! No, look I don’t know, I don’t suppose you could say it’s working out all that well but we’re battling on.
“We have three grandchildren who are the light of our lives. It’s wonderful, and nice for them to see us together.”
John praised his grandkids for being “great levellers” for them, and added: “I never realised how big an impact they would have on our lives. The love is absolutely the same as your own children, but there’s something almost bigger and grander about it.
“It’s really interesting how it differs, it’s sensational. It’s something I never expected. Two of them live very close and the other comes for the weekend every second or third week, so we see quite a bit of them.”
He added: “The great thing is you get to see a lot of them growing up, much of which I missed with my own kids because I was away working so much. In this industry in particular, it’s a funny business.”
Asked if he spoke about his split from his wife openly with his kids, John added: “To be honest it wasn’t a big family discussion, but my wife had just had enough. It doesn’t get any easier, it’s weird. I had no idea my life would turn out the way it has, you can’t predict it.
“Whatever you think personally, you don’t know what’s going on in the other person’s head, it’s extraordinary, we’re all totally unique and different.”
He went on: ‘The fact we can still talk to each other and live together is good. It’s not easy.”
John stars alongside Benita Collings, Max Gillies and more in comedy play Senior Moments. It follows the lives of a group of older people on stage as they struggle to deal with the younger people alongside them, and their differing views. It tackles a series of social issues and puts a funny spin on people’s everyday lives – appealing to all demographics in the audience.
The actor praised the play for being a distraction, and said: “Just working is good.”
Senior Moments has proved such a success, it’s tour has been extended to cover Brisbane too from July 11 at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre. Visit the official website to book tickets.