Michelle Bridges’ inner mettle is evident. You can hear it in her voice when she yells at her trainees in the ‘Biggest Loser’. You can see it in the way she exercises… that determined look in her eyes as she performs lunge after lunge. And you can feel it when she talks about going back to work after giving birth to her son, Axel.
Now we know where she gets it from. Her mother.
“So hard to believe that a little girl from a very ordinary background… and nothing.. not one thing handed to her.”
Maureen Partridge – Bridges’ mother told Australian Story, which aired tonight, that their upbringing was lean.
After divorcing her husband when Michelle was around 4 years old, money became scarce and childcare difficult.
“I was cleaning houses to get some extra income but it was tricky when I had the girls sick and your boss would say you had to turn up regardless of what was going on at home,” Partridge said.
The celebrity trainer says watching her parents interact formed much of her no-nonsense attitude.
Partridge recalled an argument she had with her ex-husband.
"He upset me so much I started to cry. Michelle was in the bedroom and heard it. She got out of bed and snapped the phone off my hand and said 'Listen dad, piss off,'" she said.
Their meager resources meant that Michelle had to be innovative. She only had one school uniform. "It was a case of wash it each night, hang it on a little inside line, get up in the morning and iron it, so she had a clean uniform each day."
"I remember having my school bag completely and utterly ripped to shreds at the quadrangle, and everybody found it great sport," Bridges said.
Despite this, and constant bullying from other children who made fun of her single parent background, Michelle managed to make it as class captain at her new school.