‘We don’t have a hallmark card relationship’: Peter FitzSimons speaks candidly about marriage to Lisa Wilksinon
Peter FitzSimons lives for the details. The prolific storyteller gleefully brandishes morsel after revealing morsel to throw his subjects into sharp focus.
Even when that subject is FitzSimons himself and his marriage to Today Show host Lisa Wilkinson.
“We have 50 blissful days. 300 pretty good days. And 15 shockers,” FitzSimons said of his 25-year partnership with Today Show host Lisa Wilkinson.
“But as we’ve got older … 15 shockers are now down to three shockers [a year],” FitzSimons told Mia Freedman during an interview for her podcast No Filter.
“This is probably too much information,” the 54-year-old said several times during the candid chat between the long-time friends.
“Again without going too hard into it, but I would say we don’t have a hallmark greeting card relationship. We’ve got a bloody good relationship, though and we enjoy each other,” he said.
FitzSimons’ recounted the advice his older brother had once given him about romance.
“[He said] a good relationship has to be like peeling an onion. You never want to get to the centre of the onion and understand this person … I still don’t understand this person,” he said, with a laugh.
Set up by 60 Minutes reporter Liz Hayes, the high-profile couple were engaged three months later.
They couple were married six months later and had a baby on the way within three months of their wedding day; the first of three children.
“We didn’t muck around and it just felt right. It didn’t feel hard,” FitzSimons said.
FitzSimons candour would have come as no surprise to Wilkinson or his readers familiar with his predilection for “fine detail”.
One of the author’s favourite anecdotes concerns another marital union: Robert Falcon Scott, the famous explorer found emaciated and frozen in antarctica, cheated death long enough to cross out the word ‘wife’ in his final journal entry and replace it with “widow”.
“I’d kill for a detail like that. A detail like that brings it alive,” he said.
FitzSimons spoke of giving up the 2UE morning radio job he loved for the sake of his family so that Wilkinson could pursue her Today show duties.
“We have discovered that a family can cope with having two parents out of bed at 3.30[am] but it cannot flourish,” he recalled writing in his resignation letter.
The choice was obvious, he said: “she had the opportunity of a lifetime,” marvelling at Wilkinson’s mastery and dedication to her job.
When asked how the busy father and husband managed to “fit it all in”, FitzSimons said “Only just”.
“A lot of it is put together with bandaids and fencing wire,” he said.