EXCLUSIVE: The interview Rob Mills was desperate to cancel with us.

My name is Robert Mills. I'm an actor, singer, host, writer and am currently finishing up an 18-month run of shows of & Juliet the musical. 

I wrote a book a few years ago called, Putting On A Show, a deep dive into what it is to be a modern Aussie man. I spoke with an array of people, including psychologists, sexologists, comedians, mental health professionals, even an ex-military sniper turned TV host. 

There were plenty of take aways for me from the book and most I've tried to implement in my daily life. One of the biggest aims was to normalise men talking about their mental health, about their feelings, their hopes, their wants, their goals, their frustrations and joys. And help people to start a conversation.

But that journey isn't linear.

I was recently on But Are You Happy, and the week of the record, I distinctively remember calling my agent and saying, "You need to postpone this, because I really am not happy."

Listen to Rob Mills speak on But Are You Happy. Post continues after audio.

I, like many Australians this year, had caught some sort of viral infection that had kept me away from the theatre for a few weeks. Now I hate missing work, for a few reasons… I get a strong sense of self from my work, I really like singing to 2000 people and telling stories, I love entertaining! I like being a part of a team. As a kid who dreamed of playing AFL, it's the closest thing I have, except we win every night in the theatre, so there's an added bonus. But also, no work means no pay. No pay means, financial stress and worry. And along comes the shame spiral of doom. Who am I, why is this happening to me, why isn't Georgie my partner here?… existential crisis!


So, with the podcast rescheduled… It gave me time to settle and refocus on all the things I wanted to say about men and mental health, and my impending spiral of doom of life after a being a part of a long-running musical. 

One of the things I found writing the book and even now is, generally speaking, we're not that great at having a chat. Oh, banter and negging and having a laugh — we are supreme at this. But real, vulnerable, 'I'm feeling a bit unsure and scared' kind of chat? No, blokes aren't so good at this.

But we are getting better. And this is excellent. We are learning that being vulnerable and sharing problems not only connects us deeper with each other, but also with ourselves. And this type of behaviour should only be encouraged by everyone. 

There's one thing that really grinds my gears on this topic. It's the following sentiment: "Blokes are sh*t at talking! Why can't men communicate better?"

This is most often coming from women. Ok then, help. We know that women (generally speaking) are better at communication and sharing their feelings with friends. If this is the case… help us get better. Stop calling it out and call us in. A term that I heard on the weekend. 

No one likes to be admonished. And it's clearly not working. So, call them in. Have a quiet word. Have a tough conversation with a mate, husband, family member about their behaviour or patterns. But do it from a place of kindness and curiosity. 

The other thing is, we're not good at putting our hand up when we do need help. So, here's me putting my hand up, in the hope that others may do the same.


We were given the opportunity to have a debrief of sorts with other cast members over the weekend between shows. A brilliant initiative by our resident director. We were asked a few questions, like, 'What was a moment from the tour that made you most proud?' 'What does this show mean to you?' And, 'Would you change anything at all about your time on the show?'

It was the question about what does the show mean to me that had me welling up with tears almost immediately. I love this show! I love the messages and themes throughout about love, second chances, diversity, equality and empowerment. Honestly, it's the best thing I've ever done in my life.

Full transparency, I am a crier. It's the release of the pressure valve for me. I will mostly do it in a psych session or with my partner. But over the weekend I couldn't hold it back with my theatre family. I am proud of myself and the company and of the show and I am going to miss it all, but I think because I'm just exhausted. 


I have jokingly said in a number of interviews, "I bet there will be some interesting conversations on the way home after this show." Because I truly believe that there should be conversations between couples, like the one in this play. Saying the things that are of utmost importance to each other and working them out. I mean hopefully you don't have to reach boiling point, but they are a necessary part of every relationship. Without saying the things, without compromise, resentment only grows. 

It really is art imitating life at times. How do I get what I want? How did I just do living apart from my partner for nearly a year? What does our life look like when I move back into our place? What is our common promise? If I'm not working in a show eight times a week, what brings me happiness? How do we navigate the coming months of re-coupling?

Luckily for me, Georgie and I are quite good at having these chats… okay, so maybe it takes me a bit longer to open up and stop being a petulant child but before any of that happens, there's a check list that I now have before we can even begin to open up.

  • Have I had enough sleep? — I cannot express to you how important this is. And finding a way to wind down after a show is paramount. I can recommend a good book after a hot shower for the most effective way to wind down. 
  • Have I exercised? — Doing the show isn’t enough for me. I need the routine and the serotonin boost from my workouts. 
  • Have I eaten? — Being hangry is a real thing, I need to find a good routine with my eating. Meal prep has been a game changer in a long running show, or ready made meals for one have definitely made life easier for me.
  • Have I had enough water? — The science is in. Hydrate. It's a non-negotiable for a happy, healthy mindset.
  • Am I settled? — Meaning, am I feeling displaced? Am I living out of a suitcase? Is the house clean? All these things have made an enormous impact on my well being. When I am set up with a good routine and a clean home, I am a much better version of myself.
  • Have I checked in on my mates? — When I'm away on tour and working six out of seven nights a week, it's really hard to connect with your friends and family. I have found phone calls in the car or on the scooter have been life changing for me this last year. Making time to check in on your friends or family, your community is a must for everyone. Especially if you have a partner. They can't be the only one that helps fill your cup, you move into dangerous co-dependency territory.
  • Have I been sick? — If I have, give myself time to recover. And be kind to myself. 
  • And lastly, what's my purpose? — What do I want to do with my day/week/month? Work that out and put a deadline on it.

Watch: Rob Mills opens up on You Can't Ask That. Post continues below.

Video via ABC.

I have realised on this show, that despite living in a world of cancel culture, that everyone deserves a second chance. And that means, even you do. Cut yourself a bit of slack. Taking a day when you really need it is okay. 

But it is a balance. You need to push through sometimes. We need to champion resilience and a strong work ethic. But also be aware of when you’re struggling a bit. Put your hand up. OR if you see someone struggling, offer them a safe space to share their situation. 

I saw something on Instagram that stuck with me. It was a gentle reminder from a therapist, they said: the state of of our mental health isn't always obvious to others. Anxiety doesn't have a look. Depression doesn't have a look. Struggling doesn't have a look. Effects from trauma doesn't have a look. Fall out from dysfunctional families/failed relationships doesn't have a look either.

But kindness in our society does have a look. Kindness radiates. Kindness helps healing. Kindness helps build hope.

For more from Rob Mills, you can order his book here, and follow him on Instagram

Feature Image: Instagram.

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