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“It’s like you can't breathe, you can’t speak”: Angela Bishop on life after her husband’s death.

Entertainment reporter and TV host Angela Bishop is one of the most recognisable faces on television thanks to an impressive 30-year career (so far) at Channel 10.

She’s been on every red carpet at every awards ceremony you could think of.  In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a celebrity she hasn’t interviewed.

But what many people don’t realise is that behind the glittering interviews Angela conducts, she’s also had an awful couple of years.

Angela Bishop never thought she would be a single mum. Post continues after video…

On Wednesday 22 November 2017, Angela’s world imploded. She lost her soulmate, Peter Baikie, to a rare form of cancer. Pete was just 54. Angela was left as a single mum to their 10-year-old daughter, Amelia.

Angela told Mamamia’s No Filter podcast that meeting her future husband felt “like a bolt of lightning came through to me and said ‘this is the person you’re meant to be with’”. She sat down with Mia Freedman to discuss how she and Amelia are coping with life after Pete’s death.

Listen to Angela’s full chat with Mia. Post continues after audio.

“I’m OK some days. Some days I am toast, and the really hard part is that I cannot predict for the life of me which is which,” she explained.

“I can predict that Father’s Day is going to suck, and it did. I can predict that certain anniversaries aren’t going to be great. But that makes sense. Because it was the anniversary and I’d expect to be sad on that day.

“But other days, it’ll be something so random. It’ll be a song that comes on the radio or it’ll be a smell. I was in London waiting for the royal baby and I went to see All About Eve in the West End.

“When I walked out of the theatre, I found myself in St Martin’s Lane where Peter and I took out first overseas trip together and we stayed in St Martin’s Lane Hotel. I walked out of the theatre and saw the pub where we had drinks and had all these magic times, and I just burst into tears in the middle of the street where there were all these people coming out of the theatre. I lost it. I couldn’t stop crying.

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“And I literally had to walk back into that hotel because it was the only place I could think of going to clean myself up. So it’s just these unexpected moments where you’re utterly… It’s like you can’t breathe, you can’t speak, even this far on. It’s so hard. It’s just so hard to cope with.”

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Angela and Pete in 2007. Source: Getty.

Sadly, Angela wasn’t given much time to prepare for life without her husband but says they tried to prepare their daughter as best they could.

“We were given 22 months,” she said. “The cancer he had is three cases in a million and nobody who’s had it has lived more than 24 months. And he fought so hard. He really did.

“Any questions that she [Amelia] asked, we answered. We didn’t offer more information than she asked. We answered her questions. And I will always do that. You know, we just spent as much time together and we did ridiculously fun things when we were able to.”

Ultimately, Angela says she wasn’t prepared. “Because all the time I didn’t believe it was going to happen. Because that would’ve seemed defeatist, assuming that we couldn’t beat this and I really believed we could. I thought if anyone could, he could.

“We had a holiday planned that Pete was going to come on. We were going to go to Uluru together because he’d always wanted to ride a motorbike around Uluru. And things took a very sudden turn and we couldn't go.

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“Afterwards, Amelia and I sat down and decided we should still go.  It was so spiritual and healing to be in that part of Australia. It’s the most special part of our country and watching sunsets, watching sunrises, just being in a place of complete silence and respect was the best place for us to start planning for the new normal, whatever that would be. It just felt like exactly the right thing to do.”

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Angela, Pete and Amelia in 2015. Source: Getty

Adjusting to life as a single mum isn’t something Angela ever expected to be doing, but she says between the help of her friends and her mother, former speaker Bronwyn Bishop, they manage.

“The hard thing on a day-to-day basis is that I’ve got to be good cop and bad cop. My mum, the Hon Bron, as we call her has been incredible. But she still works, of course, she’s on Sky News so I have a couple of great girls who also help out. So between all of that, we make it work.”

And she has her Studio Ten family to lean on too.

“In 30 years at Ten, they’ve seen me come straight from uni, meet my husband, have a child and then lose that husband. All in the time I’ve worked there. So they are an extension of my family.”

While Angela says she’s “not there yet” in terms of looking to the future, getting Amelia ready for high school is her biggest priority.

Amelia, who clearly adores her mum, has even promised she'll be a "good teenager". As Angela herself jokes, knowing teenage girls, she should probably get Amelia to sign a statutory declaration.

 

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