The simple question from Andrew Denton that brought Magda Szubanski to tears.

Magda Szubanski says last year was the toughest of her life.

When the 57-year-old actress and comedian sat down with Andrew Denton for Tuesday night’s episode of Interview, his very first question brought her to tears.

“You have had an enormous 12 months, your mum passing away, the same-sex marriage campaign, how are you feeling?” Denton asked.

“It’s been… the toughest year of my life without question… Mostly because of mum. But the marriage equality stuff was something I was proud to do. I just felt so nervous the whole time because if I put a foot wrong, I could be blowing it for everyone. I haven’t had a proper break since that.”

In September, Szubanski’s 92-year-old mother died just two months before Australia voted to legalise same-sex marriage.

“I wish she had been here to see the vote,” Szubanski said.

“I don’t know what she would’ve said, but she didn’t understand it – she would often say to me, when families would turn on their gay kids, ‘I don’t understand how people turn on their own like that’. She had this real sense of injustice and that was beautiful. She was beautiful.

Watch Magda on Interview. Post continues after video…

Video by Channel 7

“The depth of her compassion was extraordinary… she had sort of an ocean of compassion in her, mum, and I think it would have made her really happy, not just for me, for all of my friends, as well, but also for what it meant for this country.”

She added watching her mother die was “brutal”.

“Seven days, mum took to die. It was brutal, and we don’t talk about that a lot and it’s f*cking traumatic watching someone die and I think we should reintroduce black armbands because you’re not normal after someone you love has died,” she says.


In the interview, Szubanski also touched on how lowly she felt in 2011 when prying paparazzi shot her on Bondi beach in her bathers.

“Nobody gives you the protocol on how to deal with a bunch of paparazzi, who descend on you like flies on s**t, and they’re so well organised,” she told Denton.

“When those pictures were taken on the beach I wanted to cry.

“Even though I’m not an especially vain woman, I don’t think many women feel comfortable being photographed at the beach in clingy wet bathers.

“Then thought f**k them, I’m just going to go down there with all the models and just be fat on Bondi Beach and they can get f**ked.

“It actually became really liberating because when you do go out there and be fat on Bondi Beach nothing terrible happens … except you have a terrific swim with your friends.”