Ali Daddo on 28 years of marriage: “Loving Cam way more than myself was a disaster.”

I was 20 years old when I met Cam. We were engaged after two and a half months and married one year later. This year we will have been married for 27 years.

I feel a mix of exhausted and exhilarated when I think about that. Having our relationship somewhat played out in the media as the “Golden Couple”, I expect people must think itʼs been all rainbows, love hearts and cupids singing us to sleep at night.

While there have been many moments of those experiences, itʼs also been, up to our waist in mud, sweating, back breaking, shovelling with blistered hands kind of work.

Weʼve come so incredibly close to splitting. I have hated, loved, hated Cam more times than I can count. Each time we nearly separated, we dug back into the “shit” and grew. We learned a little more about ourselves and each other and what love really looks and feels like. What commitment means.

There is a dance that we do. Sometimes we dance together, sometimes apart, and my least favourite, the dance where our toes have been smashed by the other and we lie bleeding on the dance floor. Those times can take a while to heal and usually need a bunch of kind-hearted women to carry you off the dance floor and bandage you up.

Iʼm a child of fairy tales and magic, I love “LOVE”. While that may be a beautiful thing, the fairy tale thing had me in a trap. I didnʼt realise how much I needed to smash that ideology into pieces.


Cam was Australia’s Prince Charming and I saw myself not as a Princess, but more like the ugly stepsister who was lucky enough that the shoe did fit. A tricky beginning to any long term relationship.

Once I was down in the trenches, getting real, I learned this kind of inequality of love canʼt survive. Loving Cam way more than myself was a disaster.

And so when faced with nearly losing myself and him, we grew, we battled, screamed and dug deeper.

There is something really beautiful about being with someone from such a young age.


We have been there for each other for so many life changing experiences. So much history resides in our marriage. There is scars sure, there are patterns that still need tending to or else we find ourselves repeating behaviour that is just plain destructive.

Do I recommend it for my children? Probably not.

If my kids came home after two and a half months and said they were engaged Iʼd be concerned. Very.

But then again sometimes you do know, you know who you love and if itʼs really unconditional then you can traverse all sorts of mountains and rivers. Longevity in a marriage takes work, work to be devoted to yourself and your partner.


We have a lot of years left.

I know that eventually we will be grandparents together, we will be awesome grandparents of that I have no doubt. Iʼm grateful to have met Cam in the age before mobile phones and social media. Itʼs an added pressure that a new relationship does not need. The phones are the third wheel in the mix.

Between documenting the date, what food is being eaten and what clothes are being worn – it’s all a bit much. Not to mention the adorably cute couple selfie. Everyone “looks” like they are so in love and having the time of their lives. Too much pressure! Too much comparison.

Basically I have no idea if anyone should or shouldnʼt marry young. What works for one wonʼt work for another. It comes down to simply how much you both want to make the marriage work.

I do know this.

Cameron Daddo and wife Ali in 2014. Image source: Getty.

One basking in the sunshine sipping margaritas unaware while the other is tunnelling down into the depths of self change and awareness does not work, no matter how much you love the fact he/she is getting a tan and promising to make you a margarita when you are done digging.

Marriages fall apart for all sorts of reasons, and some really need to end. I feel fortunate to love someone so deeply and have that returned and that we were both willing to ride that roller coaster together.

I hate roller coasters by the way, I prefer the carousel, but thatʼs relationships for you.

Mia Freedman also spoke to Cameron Daddy about being married in the public eye and going from a rolled gold Aussie icon and heartthrob to a door to door salesman…..and back again.