Bublé reflects, “I thought I was OK. I tried to be strong. I don’t want my children to see weakness and fear as they watch their father on Youtube years from now.”
It was hard for him to reconcile the cheeky, open-hearted star who audiences flocked to see with the frustrated person he was becoming offstage. “I really like people. I love entertaining. I love that genuine sense of connection I get – that when you write a song you can change somebody’s life; whether you know it or not, you can save someone’s life.
“But the further I went along, the less of those things I was enjoying. They started to become clouded by the ego: Will this album be successful or a failure? Will the critics like it? Is this arena full? Are the tickets selling? Am I really a big star? How come I wasn’t invited to this event? Geez, I’m only nominated for this many awards? All of these things drag you down.”
Noah’s diagnosis stopped all of this in its tracks. Promotion and tour dates were cancelled. Bublé didn’t care. He’d effectively decided his career was done. “I truly thought I would never go back. I was done. It just seemed completely unimportant compared to what was going on with Noah. I had talked about perspective a lot in the past – I thought I had pretty good perspective; I think I’ve always been a pretty nice guy. I probably made the same mistakes anybody else had. But, man, suddenly there was great clarity.”
Bublé’s sisters, along with other members of his and Lopilato’s families, rallied. “They took their kids out of school and moved in with us. My wife’s family, they left their jobs. Some days that’s what got us out of bed, knowing there were people praying for us. When you go through hell, you find out about yourself. You find out who people around you really are. My manager and record label never once called to ask what I would do; the only messages I ever got were ‘We love you’ and ‘We’re praying for you.’ It gave me this great sense of peace, knowing the world is a beautiful place and it just needs more love and happiness and joy.
“People in Argentina put up signs wishing us well at football games. Once I’d had a horrible, rotten, scary day. The phone rang and it was Elton John, out of the blue. I don’t know Elton John. He just told me he loved me and he was thinking about Noah and he and his husband were praying for us. These little things help so much. They build a little step for you and somehow you just trudge along.”
Bublé is determined to keep the graphic details of Noah’s battle private, and he pauses several times during his chat with Stellar to compose himself. “One of my really close friends said to me, ‘Mike, can I know the story?’ Because I don’t talk about it – it hurts too much. I started saying, ‘Man, we’ve been through hell…’ and by the time I finished the story, I realised that [in contrast] hell seems like a really nice place to vacation.
“I know I’m public, I know people want details. But he’s my boy – he doesn’t need to relive this over and over again. I tell him all the time, ‘You know Spider-man and Superman and Batman?’ and he says, ‘ Yes, Poppy,’ and I say, ‘ They are
FAMILY MATTERS (from top) Michael Bublé with his wife Luisana Lopilato and sons Noah (left) and concert in London last month; appearance on Kath & Kim