The Sunday Project host Lisa Wilkinson sat down with Blanche d’Alpuget over the weekend for an in-depth interview about her life with former Australian prime minister Bob Hawke.
But, much like the couple’s 25-year marriage, it was not without controversy.
The chat took an awkward turn when Wilkinson broached the subject of how their relationship began.
Mr Hawke, who died in May at the age of 89, started dating Ms d’Alpuget while still married to the mother of his four children, Hazel Masterson.
The pair had an “instantaneous” attraction when they met in Jakarta in 1970 and continued their relationship for 20 years until finally marrying in 1995 – just four years after he was ousted from the top role.
Wilkinson asked Ms d’Alpuget, a writer, if their respective marriages to other people were a “problem”.
“What do you think?” Ms d’Alpuget shot back while raising her eyebrows.
“Do you think Bob had a problem with the fact that this relationship had begun?” Wilkinson continued.
“Are you kidding?” a shocked Ms d’Alpuget retorted before brief laughter.
“Serious question. Did he ever suffer guilt?” Wilkinson questioned.
“He was perpetually unfaithful,” Ms d’Alpuget said.
“He loved Hazel and he was perpetually unfaithful.”
Wilkinson continued to push the subject, asking if Ms d’Alpuget felt guilty about Hazel standing by her husband in the public eye despite their decades-long affair.
“Look, it wasn’t an issue because Bob was not a faithful husband so I didn’t feel I was doing anything bad,” Ms d’Alpuget said.
Six months after Mr Hawke’s death, Ms d’Alpuget said she is still struggling to cope but has “come good” within the last week.
“Up until then I was pretty much a wreck,” she said as she described crying in a supermarket after strangers offered their condolences.
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