Kathy Lette is a whirlwind. Of colour, of enthusiasm, of lipstick and most notably, of words. Puns, double entendres, florid descriptions and biting gags. Ever since she co-wrote her first book, Puberty Blues at age 17, Kathy has used her words to tell stories about her life.
As she got older and married and moved to London and became a mother, she continued to write about her life as it changed. Being an outsider in a posh city that viewed Australians as crass peasants, being a wife, being pregnant, having little babies, then older ones. She had a lot of material to draw from and her characters were always wilder, louder, more OTT versions of her – if that were even possible.
Kathy with her son Jules, via Getty.
But you never quite got the sense of who was behind the razzle-dazzle. I always felt she worked very hard to distract the world from the quieter parts of her life. It wasn't necessarily that she was hiding something - although it turns out she was - more that she wasn't prepared to let the world see her private moments.
It wasn't until her book, The Boy Who Fell To Earth that everything made sense.
Listen to Kathy talk about finding out her son was on the spectrum:
I've met Kathy Lette a few times, we have some friends in common, and she's always a delight. A massive supporter of women in public and in private - she's reached out to me on more than one occasion when I was being fried in the media to offer her love and support. Not many people do that. But I was always wary of interviewing her. I didn't have confidence in my skills as a journalist to get past Media Kathy who was a consummate performer.
And for my podcast, No Filter, to work, there has to be light and shade.
Well, after reading The Boy Who Fell To Earth, I realised there was light and shade in Kathy's life and there would be in our conversation about it. She delivered - and then some.
Including the part where she told me that when George and Amal Clooney come for dinner at her house (Amal works with Kathy's husband Geoffrey), George "gets up from the table and unstacks the dishwasher."
As for Amal, Kathy says: "You'd like to hate her because she's so wonderful. But she couldn't be more lovely. "