Kerri-Anne Kennerley broke down in tears as she made her emotional return to Studio 10 on Thursday after her husband John’s death, admitting his passing came as a complete shock to her.
John passed away at the age of 78 last month after several health challenges following a fall from a balcony in March 2016 that left him partially paralysed. He sustained spinal cord damage following the freak fall, when he slipped off a balcony at a golf course in Coffs Harbour.
He was placed into an induced coma and taken to Sydney where he had emergency surgery on his spine, but the incident left him paralysed and he had to relearn how to speak.
Now, his devoted wife — who became his carer in his final years — has returned to the Channel 10 show to share her immense grief, and struggled to contain her emotions as she shared a moving moment with co-star Angela Bishop, who lost her own husband to cancer in 2017.
Speaking directly to Angela, Kerri-Anne struggled to speak through her tears as she said: “The hole it leaves in your life… it’s so painful. For you to have to go through it, and have a beautiful daughter.”
An emotional Angela replied: “It’s the worst thing you can ever, ever go through,” before saying her daughter has given her strength through her own pain.
Kerri-Anne said she’s enjoyed a break from the show to collect herself, but admitted she was happy to be back alongside her friends and colleagues on the show — describing them as a “good bunch of people” and praised their “genuineness”.
Asked how she’s been following John’s death, she said: “It was a shock, because I thought I would really have John for many, many, many years to come. And a lot of things happened very quickly so it was a terrible shock.
“But because after the accident there was always a next — get breathing, get eating, the next stage which wheelchair do you get, rehab… there was always a next. Even in the last few weeks there was a next, okay what treatment, and all of a sudden there’s no next.
It's with a heavy heart and awful sadness that I let you know that my beautiful husband John passed away last night. As you all know, John has faced some tremendous challenges over the past few years and with each he has been extraordinarily brave and determined to overcome those hurdles and live a normal life. I want to thank everyone at St Vincent's Hospital for the beautiful care they have provided to John in his last days. John passed away peacefully with his son Simon and I by his side. John, you were the love of my life. Xxx
“I liken it to sort of being sucked into that Universe black hole where everything is so dense, you’re in this black hole that’s so dense, not even light can get out.”
She added: “But that said, John and I have been a team for too many years, so many years, and we were always together, we were thought of as two and now there’s only one. It hurts, but I still think how he would expect me to act, to be, there’s a lot of decisions being made.”
At this she broke down in tears, before adding: “My primary thought process is how would John react, what would John want me to do, how does this work. And that’s not fair, but, life happens. I don’t know who plans it.”
Kerri-Anne then showed off an anchor necklace which her husband made for her as a good luck charm, which she said helps her remember he’s still close to her — as well as still thinking of them as a pair, which she admitted remains her biggest comfort.
“I’m very happy to continue thinking as two,” she explained. “I have to think and let him guide me as to the right thing to do – because he always did.”
While Kerri-Anne said her husband was never involved in her showbiz career, she added that he taught her so much about compartmentalising her life and added: “We never argued, I’m not saying there were no terse moments and disagreements, but we never, ever fought.”
It comes after Kerri-Anne was pictured breaking down at John’s funeral just weeks ago, as she said a final farewell to the love of her life.
The Studio 10 presenter was seen greeting guests outside, holding back tears as she spoke to each individually. However, she struggled to contain her emotions as she sat at the front of the church and was seen sobbing in front of her husband’s casket.
As guests gathered to support her, the TV star also stood in front of the hearse and planted a single rose on top of John’s coffin in a lovely moment – before John’s son Simon delivered an emotional eulogy to praise his father’s incredible strength.