She’s one of Australia’s most renowned journalists and interviewers, but Leigh Sales has now swapped places and opened up about her own traumatic past in a deeply honest TV chat.
Appearing on The Project on Sunday night, the 45-year-old ABC 7.30 host admitted she was left feeling like “the universe was conspiring against” her after a traumatic birth which brought both her and her child dangerously close to death, a shock divorce, her father’s death and more tragic events which piled up in a matter of years.
The star revealed the difficult experiences have now inspired her new book, Any Ordinary Day.
“Every night when I’m hosting 7.30, there’s always someone who has got out of bed, brushed their teeth, had their breakfast, gone about their everyday business having an ordinary day and then suddenly, out of the blue, something happens and their whole life gets transformed forever. It’s such a common thing in the news,” she explained when asked what made her want to share her own experiences.
“It sort of unsettled me, it’s uncomfortable to think about it.”
She added: “But then in 2014, I had series of bad things that I write about in the book that happened to me, beginning with the birth of my second child, which had a complication that’s normally fatal for both the mother and the child, and we were just sort of lucky that I was at the hospital at the time. And that really rattled me as well and made me have a sense of my own mortality.”
She had suffered a uterine rupture at the time, which often proves fatal for both mother and child.
Host Lisa Wilkinson noted that just two years later, Leigh and her husband of 20 years, Phil Willis, announced their shock divorce. Meanwhile, the TV star’s heartache continued this year as she had to take a month off from 7.30 as her oldest son Daniel had an operation.
“A week after that [the operation], my father died,” Leigh added. “I went home to Queensland but then I had to fly back to Sydney to take my son to his post-operative appointment and on the way to the hospital, I got a flat tyre!”
As Lisa asked what was running through her mind at that point, she responded: “I thought, ‘Are you joking?’ That my father just died and I’ve got a flat tyre? It just felt like the universe was conspiring against me.”
A week ago today, my father died suddenly.I never met anyone remotely like him and I'm certain I never will again.He was the hardest working man I ever saw, a magical grandfather and a teller (and source) of hilarious stories.He was an awesome powerhouse of a person. pic.twitter.com/6sM9rp5LUw
— Leigh Sales (@leighsales) July 15, 2018
Leigh posted a moving tribute to her father Dale after he passed away earlier this year, sharing a photo of a letter from Australia’s Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove and a pair of her dad’s old work boots.
In the letter, Cosgrove recalled his experiences in the army with Dale, where they became good friends.
Leigh wrote on Twitter at the time: “A week ago today, my father died suddenly. I never met anyone remotely like him and I’m certain I never will again. He was the hardest working man I ever saw, a magical grandfather and a teller (and source) of hilarious stories. He was an awesome powerhouse of a person.”