Melissa George fought back tears after reading out an abusive text sent to her by ex-partner Jean-David Blanc. In the text, he demanded she stop breastfeeding their 15-month-old son, Solal, to make it easier on him when their two children were with him.
The text read:
As I told you and tried to explain to you, you must stop breastfeeding my son Solal otherwise you will destroy him. He wakes up in the middle of the night asking for breastmilk and not for milk. What do you want me to do? Unless you put your boobs in a bag, I don’t see any other solution.
Of her current situation, George says she doesn’t care about anything except her children and would prefer for Solal to wean (stop wanting breastmilk) naturally.
The estranged couple are sharing custody, as is standard in custody cases in their current place of residence, France. She explained she is unable to work in France as she’s not a French citizen meaning she can’t even financially support her children.
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The Australian-born actress said she feels his demand is cruel.
She told Kyle & Jackie O, “You can take my country, you can take my career, your can take whatever you want but to take a breastfeeding child from it’s mother…and you make fun of the mother, and you send a message like that knowing that I have to pump my milk when I don’t have my babies for the week, because I want him to be the one to decide if he wants to give up or not.”
Despite the fact they have split, George describes her ex-partner’s continued attempts to control her, such as the demand she stop breastfeeding and even failing to return the children on time.
She said when Solal was 10-months-old she went to the police station because 58-year-old Blanc hadn’t returned her children and she needed to breastfeed him. The police officer asked her how old the baby was and then said, ‘Oh, he’s a bit old, don’t you think?’
Of her life since the airing of her controversial interview on with Melissa Doyle on Sunday Night, the former Home & Away actress says, “things couldn’t be worse.”
It was during the interview that George first spoke out about the physical abuse she'd suffered at the hands of Blanc, saying he attacked her in their home leaving her with no choice but to fight back. She says she was left beaten and bloodied and was rescued by an Uber driver.
While a judge found both parties guilty of assault, both George and Blanc are appealing the ruling.
In the TV interview, George said she was begging for help from Australia to help her to return home. Since it aired, the 40-year-old has been on the receiving end of a lot of backlash with many claiming she renounced her right to request help from the country of her birth since she became a U.S. citizen in 2008. She has also made disparaging comments about Australia versus France.
Further to this, her reaction to being asked about her time on Home and Away on Sunrise, with producers claiming George was offended by that line of questioning, demanding to be asked only about her work since leaving the show, was met with anger by viewers.
At the heart of much of the hate is George's perceived rejection of her homeland Australia, with journalist Christine Sams quoting George in an interview five years ago as saying, "I'd rather be having a croissant and a little espresso in Paris or walking my French bulldog in New York City."
Sams has since apologised for using the quote and the subsequent backlash against George, claiming she egged the actress on before she made the now-infamous comment.
The journalist wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald, "If I'm honest, at the time, her reaction felt comical. In many ways, as journalists are trained to do, I egged her on with further questions, not quite believing the unedited verbal spray she was having at the other end. As someone who has interviewed countless local and international celebrities over the years – most of them media-trained to within an inch of their life – it is very rare to hear a high-profile actor going off script."
However George has gone one step further, denying having said it in the first place.
"I never said that at all and I let it go...we were laughing and I never said anything negative about my country. It was all swapped around and put in the wrong context and if people know me I find light in sad situations, and that's what happened.
"I think it's know that I'd much rather have a chardonnay in Perth or eating a Vegemite sandwich than having a croissant in Paris."
Still, George says she accepts the bad with the good, explaining she'd also received "overwhelming support" from friends since opening up about her abusive relationship with her ex and subsequent custody battle over their two sons, Raphael, 3 and Solal, 15-months.
"There are two children at stake," she said.
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The couple had no pre-nup, although George says she was served a contact during her first pregnancy that she refused to sign, which said in case of a dispute they must "fight in France".
"So he was already plotting and planning."
George says all she wants now is for what's fair. "Just be fair. Just stop hurting me and just be fair. I'm unable to live in France, I'm not a French citizen, I have two kids that lived 276 days overseas last year, not in France."
She says her boys spent time in a pre-school in Queensland while she filmed The Butterfly Tree last year and that their father has only been interested in the children since the split. Of the physical abuse she suffered at the hands of her ex, George says it was the hospital that leaked the details and she would have preferred to handle it privately.
George says she hasn't heard from her Blanc in reference to her TV interview, saying despite everything she doesn't regret the interview because her voice is all she has left.
"I've got nothing else. He's got everything else."
Of Blanc's claims in court George has a mental illness, the actress says she told the judge, "It seems everyone with a uterus has a mental illness."
Listen to the full interview with Melissa George on the Kyle & Jackie O Show here.