Most relationships have an emotional 'junk drawer'. In 2020, Silvia Colloca opened hers.

Most households will have a junk drawer. It's probably the third drawer down in the kitchen. Or perhaps the laundry. 

A receptacle littered with spare batteries, charger cords, sticky tape and a sleeve of dried-up Blu Tack. A place for the things you just can't quite bring yourself to toss. Just in case.

Silvia Colloca believes these drawers exist in relationships, too. They're a figurative place where people put issues they know are important but aren't yet ready to confront.

This year, she opened hers.

Watch: Silvia Colloca want to talk to you about food.

Video via Mamamia

The Italian-born cook, actor, opera singer, television presenter and host of Mamamia's foodie podcast, What I Eat When, is married to actor Richard Roxburgh (Rake, The Crown, Moulin Rouge).

The pair met in 2003 on the set of Hollywood horror movie, Van Helsing. And as Colloca put it during an interview on Mamamia's No Filter podcast, "Our first date lasted a few months. We never left each other."

Yet at no point in their 17-year relationship has the couple spent more time together than they have in 2020. With filming on pause for an upcoming project, Roxburgh was grounded from early in the year until September, and Colloca was working from home.

Silvia Colloca and Richard Roxburgh met in 2013. Image: Getty/Mamamia  


They decided to take the opportunity to talk about their relatioship. With dynamic careers and three children aged between three and 13, that kind of dialogue is not something they've always had time for — or known how to do effectively.

"[We have] very different personalities, different upbringings. We met at a time where we were at different places in our lives. And so we never really fine-tuned the art of communicating well and expressing ourselves without feeling judged or attacked," Colloca said. "And we just stopped that.

"We opened that [drawer] and got all the junk out, and we sorted, it one by one." 

Listen to Mia Freedman's full chat with Silvia Colloca on No Filter. Post continues after audio. 

They proceeded carefully. Mostly.

"You have to learn skills of saying things, so that, 'Okay, I really want to talk about this thing that happened three years ago that we never talked about. But how do I bring it up so that it doesn't break us now?'

"So, what's happening these days is we kind of have this unspoken rule... If there's something that we're feeling, we just deal with it straight away."

They haven't finished sorting. With years, careers and parenting, there's a lot in the drawer to get through. Difficult things.

But, she argued, it's worth it.

"There have been moments where we look at each other going, 'What have we done? Can we just stuff everything back in? Honestly, it was better when we didn't know all this stuff.' 

"But it wasn't. Because it was clutter in our souls, in our minds and our brains. It was part of the mental load that was not just afflicting me, it afflicted him as well."

Feature image: Getty/Mamamia.

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