Rebecca Gibney has revealed how she overcame a traumatic childhood to become Australian television royalty.
In a candid interview with the founding editor of marie claire and now General Manager, Jackie Frank, Gibney spoke about growing up with a violent alcoholic father.
“I remember Mum driving us around the block and us sleeping in the car until Dad calmed down,” she says. “Alcoholism is a disease and he was unable to control it.”
Now aged 52, Gibney says she only dealt with her childhood anxiety as an adult. “I had a kind of nervous breakdown when I was 32,” she says. “I was in the darkest pit and I thought, ‘I’m never going to get out of this. I don’t know how to get out.’”
She did get out of the dark pit – and came to forgive her father – with therapy. “I had an incredible psychologist. We talked a lot about my father. She helped me recognise that he was flawed, as we all are. It’s only when you become a parent that you realise we’re all just muddling our way through,” she explains.
Looking back, Gibney says she feels sorry for her 14-year-old self. “I didn’t understand what anxiety was [then]. I would find myself in situations where I’d get panicky and have to run away. Any emotional stuff we’re not dealing with manifests itself in sickness, panic attacks or breakdowns.”
By dealing with her emotional stuff, Gibney says life is so much better: “You can move forward.”
Read the full interview between Rebecca Gibney and Jackie Frank in the August issue of marie claire, on sale now, and watch the video interview above.