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
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.
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.