NOT CHILD’S PLAY

DRESSED IN THEIR OF­FI­CIAL COLOURS, WIG­GLES POWER COUPLE EMMA WATKINS AND LACH­LAN GILLESPIE GIVE STEL­LAR A GLIMPSE INTO THEIR DO­MES­TIC BLISS

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - Pho­tog­ra­phy HAROLD DAVID Styling GEMMA KEIL Words AL­LEY PASCOE

How The Wig­gles’ Emma Watkins and Lach­lan Gillespie jug­gle marriage with work­ing to­gether.

The Stel­lar pho­tog­ra­pher is de­mand­ing Emma Watkins’s full at­ten­tion. Turn­ing her back to her hus­band, Lach­lan Gillespie, she hap­pily obliges. “I’m not re­ally in­ter­ested in Lach­lan any­more any­way,” she dead­pans.

Since don­ning the yel­low (her) and pur­ple (him) skivvies for The Wig­gles five years ago, Watkins and Gillespie haven’t spent a day apart. So, does Watkins re­ally get sick of spend­ing ev­ery wak­ing – and sleep­ing – mo­ment with her hus­band?

“No, I’m not good with­out him,” the 27-year-old replies. “We get to be with each other ev­ery sin­gle day of the year, ex­cept for Christ­mas Day, which I spend in Syd­ney and Lachy spends in Bris­bane with his fam­ily. Some peo­ple won­der if we like work­ing to­gether and be­ing to­gether, but we’re not re­ally great apart. We feed off each other a lot and the great thing is that we both know what we’ve been through and what our work is like. It makes it a lot eas­ier.”

Although the pair be­gan dat­ing in 2013, they only went pub­lic with their re­la­tion­ship two years later, shortly be­fore Gillespie, 31, proposed.

And now, hav­ing tied the knot in April last year, the big­gest chal­lenge is be­ing alone – with­out Dorothy the Di­nosaur in tow. When they’re not on the road tour­ing, they’re film­ing at

home in Syd­ney. “The hard­est part of mar­ried life is get­ting the time for our­selves,” Gillespie tells Stel­lar.

Work­ing to­gether as well as liv­ing to­gether has its ben­e­fits and chal­lenges, says fam­ily psy­chol­o­gist Jo Lam­ble. “The pros are that you see a lot of each other and you re­ally un­der­stand what your part­ner’s work in­volves. The cons are you see a lot of each other! It can be hard to sep­a­rate work and home life – you may talk a lot about work when at home, and you might bring home is­sues into the work­place,” she ex­plains.

The se­cret to Gillespie and Watkins’s happy marriage? They don’t fight over the wash­ing up, since Gillespie does most of the clean­ing. “Emma doesn’t have time for that, which is to­tally fine. It’s a good bal­ance,” he says.

“Lachy is ob­sessed with clean­ing. He loves vac­u­um­ing. I want to help, I’m quite good with the wash­ing up, but no, he wants to do it him­self,” adds Watkins.

DE­SPITE GILLESPIE AD­MIT­TING his first im­pres­sion of his fel­low Wig­gles re­cruit was “hoo­ley doo­ley”, the re­la­tion­ship be­gan slowly. “I was prob­a­bly a bit hes­i­tant to get in too deep, purely to try to be pro­fes­sional in the com­pany,” ad­mits Gillespie.

But there was no need to be anx­ious when it came to break­ing the news to their boss, found­ing mem­ber and Blue Wig­gle, An­thony Field. “They didn’t have to tell us – we knew any­way,” he says. “I think it’s great they didn’t go shout­ing it around, but be­cause I’m very close to them, I knew they were very happy to­gether.

“It was a real fairy­tale for the kids when they got mar­ried; they sent con­grat­u­la­tions cards and said Emma and Lachy were a prince and princess.”

Watkins and Gillespie in­sist their marriage hasn’t changed the dy­namic of the group, which also in­cludes Red Wig­gle Si­mon Pryce. “We do feel like a fam­ily and that hasn’t re­ally changed since we got mar­ried,” says Watkins.

“An­thony might put a joke or two in the live show – the par­ents love that,” says Gillespie.

BUT THINGS HAVEN’T al­ways been so rosy for Aus­tralia’s most suc­cess­ful chil­dren’s en­ter­tain­ers. Watkins, Gillespie and Pryce re­plac­ing three of the orig­i­nal Wig­gles in 2012 came in the wake of the most con­tro­ver­sial pe­riod in the band’s his­tory. The group had faced in­tense back­lash from fans and the me­dia when the Yel­low Wig­gle of five years, Sam Mo­ran, was ousted in favour of orig­i­nal mem­ber Greg Page, with commentary at the time con­clud­ing that Mo­ran’s rapid and seem­ingly un­sym­pa­thetic evic­tion se­verely tar­nished the once squeaky clean act’s good name. “Have The Wig­gles killed their brand?” mused one such head­line in the Aus­tralian Fi­nan­cial Re­view.

Field has a dif­fer­ent ac­count of that time. “The [me­dia cov­er­age] made us look like we were mean-spir­ited, but it didn’t have any truth,” he in­sists. “Even though they painted a pic­ture like that, ev­ery­one close to us knows the real truth, so I don’t re­ally comment about it, I just move on.”

Nonethe­less, fast-for­ward five years and there’s no deny­ing the ad­di­tion of Watkins, Gillespie and Pryce has done won­ders for the band. Hav­ing signed a deal with Net­flix in 2016, their show airs in 190 coun­tries world­wide. Last year’s tour was the big­gest sell­ing since the orig­i­nal Wig­gles re­tire­ment tour, with more than 115,000 kids com­ing to see them. While Field doesn’t solely credit the fresh blood for the band’s re­newed suc­cess, there’s no deny­ing their pop­u­lar­ity. At a live show with 5000 ex­citable chil­dren, 90 per cent of the kids are dressed in yel­low and black, like Watkins.

As the first fe­male Wig­gle, Watkins has done more than re­fresh the brand; she’s in­spired a new gen­er­a­tion of young girls. It was Field’s idea to in­tro­duce a fe­male Wig­gle and he’s cham­pi­oned Watkins from the be­gin­ning. “Emma is more than just the fe­male Wig­gle, she’s Emma. She’s in­cred­i­ble,” he says. “So many chil­dren are there just for her.”

Par­ent­ing ex­pert Dr Justin Coul­son, who is also the fa­ther of six daugh­ters, agrees that Watkins’s ap­peal as the first

“A lot of peo­ple had as­sumed that we were go­ing to have a baby [straight away]”

fe­male Wig­gle is a pow­er­ful one. “Role mod­els are es­sen­tial for kids. Young girls need to see other women do­ing things to in­spire them, to stand on those shoul­ders and do even more,” he says.

As for Watkins and Gillespie’s own fu­ture, they’re gear­ing up for a big 2017. They’ve just started The Emma and Lachy Tour, while the group will re­lease a new CD, The Wig­gles Nurs­ery Rhymes Al­bum, later this month and will be tour­ing around Aus­tralia again in March.

None of this leaves much time for ba­bies – a sub­ject that, like many new­ly­weds, the couple is con­stantly asked about. “I wasn’t aware that it was a dis­cus­sion for the gen­eral pub­lic,” notes Watkins, as she re­veals how fans at their shows of­ten ask her when she is due. The pair con­firm they love chil­dren and very much want their own – but when they are ready. “A lot of peo­ple had as­sumed that we were go­ing to have a baby [straight away],” says Watkins. “I think peo­ple are too ex­cited, and that’s just a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion [after get­ting mar­ried].”

Not sur­pris­ingly, Field is also look­ing for­ward to ex­pand­ing the Wig­gles brood. “[Their baby] will be a part of the Wig­gle fam­ily,” he pre­dicts. “I have no doubt both of them will still be tour­ing. Emma is so com­pe­tent and al­ways does a mil­lion things at once – she’ll be breast­feed­ing on­stage.” The Wig­gles’ Wig­gling Around Aus­tralia tour be­gins in March; thewig­gles.com.

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EMMA WEARS Rachel Mills jacket, rachelmills.co.nz; Kate Sylvester gown, kate­sylvester.com; Sa­rina Suri­ano neck­lace and bracelet, sari­na­suri­ano.com; Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo shoes, fer­rag­amo.com; her own ring (worn through­out) LACH­LAN WEARS Ted Baker jacket, shirt, pants and shoes, ted­baker.com/au

(op­po­site, below right) EMMA WEARS Lu­cilla Gray top, lu­cil­lagray.com; Mat­icevski skirt, ton­i­mat­icevski.com; Bally neck­lace, 1800 781 851; Bo­den shoes, bo­den­cloth­ing.com.au LACH­LAN WEARS COS jacket and pants, (02) 9231 3944; Fallen Bro­ken Street knit, fal­l­en­bro­ken­street.com

EMMA WEARS Mat­icevski gown, ton­i­mat­icevski.com; Max Mara sun­glasses, (02) 9540 0500; Lu­cilla Gray ear­rings, lu­cil­lagray.com; Bo­den shoes, bo­den­cloth­ing.com.au LACH­LAN WEARS Bally jacket, 1800 781 851; COS top, (02) 9231 3944; Ted Baker pants and shoes, ted­baker.com/au

EMMA WEARS KITX gown, kitx.com.au; JYJEWELS neck­lace, jyjewels.com; Bo­den shoes, bo­den­cloth­ing.com.au; bow on neck­lace stylist’s own. LACH­LAN WEARS Ted Baker jacket, knit and shirt, ted­baker.com/au; Bot­tega Veneta pants, (02) 9239 0188; 1300 348 885

(op­po­site, below left) EMMA WEARS IRO jacket, (02) 9362 1165; Lonely dress, lone­ly­la­bel.com; Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo bag, fer­rag­amo.com LACH­LAN WEARS COS jacket, top and pants, (02) 9231 3944; Fallen Bro­ken Street hat, fal­l­en­bro­ken­street.com

HAIR An­thony Nader us­ing David Mal­lett MAKE-UP Filom­ena Na­toli

READY, STEADY, WIG­GLE (from left) An­thony Field, Emma Watkins, Lach­lan Gillespie and Si­mon Pryce at last year’s Aria Awards.

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