The Sweet spot
Being a real-life house husband is no longer a mystery, Gary Sweet tells COLIN VICKERY
GARY Sweet wants the world to know he is a 10-out-of-10 father the fifth time around. It is three months since the arrival of Sweet and partner Nadia Dyall’s new son, Frederic George, and the famed Aussie actor is beaming with pride.
Sweet, 57, copped a hiding from the women’s magazines two years ago when he admitted to me that he rated himself a 5 or 6 out of 10 dad to his first four children.
Sweet has been married three times. In 1981, he wed actor Lenore Smith ( The Restless Years) and the couple had two children – Frank and Sophie. In 1987, Sweet married lawyer Jill Miller but that too ended in divorce. Sweet had another two children, Jess and Joe, with third wife, Better Homes and Gardens host Johanna Griggs.
“I wish I was better,” Sweet told me in 2012.
“I try to be as good a father as I can be when I see them, but I often don’t see my younger ones as much as I’d like to.”
Sweet has learnt from those mistakes. When I met him on the set of The Doctor Blake Mysteries last December, he was fighting sleep deprivation after the arrival of Frederic earlier that morning.
Three months later and Sweet is refreshed. He has taken a break from acting to spend quality time with Dyall, 32, and the new baby.
“It is amazing (being a father again),” Sweet says. “One of the things that is different this time around is that I haven’t been working. I’ve had quite a deal of time to be home with the baby.
“Previously [with the other four children] I’d been flat out doing Police Rescue or other shows. I’d leave very early in the morning and get home late at night. The only time I would see the kids is on weekends.
“I’m more hands-on this time. I wish I was the previous times. All the kids have met each other and it is good.”
In one week Sweet will begin filming the fourth series of hit Nine drama House Husbands as dad Lewis Crabb opposite Firass Dirani, Gyton Grantley and Rhys Muldoon.
But his role in this week’s The Doctor Blake Mysteries, set in the late 1950s with Craig McLachlan as Ballarat medico Dr Lucien Blake, is a change of pace.
Sweet plays Norman Baker, a suspect in a local murder.
“This episode is quite intricate,” Sweet says. “It is like Agatha Christie. The thing about Norman is that he is hiding a lot of pain. His wife left him and his youngest daughter died in a freak accident. He’s not a bloke who lets much bubble to the surface.”
McLachlan has made several appearances on House Husbands as Damo, a former flame of Lewis’s wife, and it was time for Sweet to return the favour.
“I have a really deep affection for Craig,” Sweet says.
“I’d never really spent time with him until we started doing HouseHusbands. When he said would I be interested in doing a little part for him [on Doctor Blake] I said yes.
“It is a very tight-knit show. Craig is a bit like the pied piper. Everyone trusts him and they go with him. It is great to be a guest on the show and stand back and watch the effect that he has on the rest of the cast and crew.
“DoctorBlake shows people that he has more gravitas than maybe they’d given him credit for in the past. He is a very strong leading man.” THE DOCTOR BLAKE MYSTERIES FRIDAY, 8.30PM, ABC