s Campbell drinks green tea at his kitchen bench – vegan and teetotaller, he is an embodiment of clean living his wife jokingly calls “the most punchable man on the planet” – it’s clear he and Lisa have built the family he never had. Leo, he says, is “sensitive and intelligent with a big heart”, Billy is “physical and a risk-taker – he’s already been to hospital twice” – while Betty is the “Cate Blanchett of the family”. When it comes to parenting, the pair exude love, calmness and openness. “Communication is key,” says Campbell. “I always want them to know what I’m thinking and feeling. I’m very open with them, I’ll apologise if I’m incorrect and I’ve told them I’ll always listen to them.”
Transparency is very important, which is no surprise. As has been well chronicled, Campbell was brought up believing his grandmother Joan was his mother while being told his real mother Kim was his sister. Jimmy Barnes, who had a teenage liaison with Kim and would visit occasionally, was referred to as a family friend. Campbell was only told the truth at the age of 10.
As Lisa notes, it was “active deception” and for years Campbell struggled. Therapy and making profound choices about the father he wanted to be – including giving up alcohol – have helped. “I needed to grow because I knew I would lose all of this if I was still that fractured person. There’s still identity issues, but the main legacy is anxiety.” He takes a deep breath. “This was a really hard week for my anxiety. It’s been steady
LISA WEARS (right) KITX top and skirt, kitx.com.au DAVID WEARS Jac+ Jack jacket, jacandjack.com and shirt, davidjones.com; Levi’s jeans, levis.com.au (below, from top) David Campbell won a Helpmann Award this year for his role as Bobby Darin in Dream Lover; with his father Jimmy Barnes in 2012; on Today Extra with Sonia Kruger last year.
No-one wants to see the same-looking person lined up one after another. That’s something I am constantly trying to tell young people who I interact with – being you is so much more special and authentic. In 2015, you appeared on the cover of Time magazine as one of its 100 most influential people in the world. Who’s been a big influence to you? Raven Wilkinson, an African-american ballerina who danced for the Ballet Russe [de Monte Carlo] in the 1950s. I first saw her in a documentary and I felt emotions that were so visceral. It was the first time that I felt this natural empowerment. I want to share stories like hers, and of other African-american ballerinas who don’t necessarily have the platform and opportunities I have. In your new film The Nutcracker And The Four Realms, you worked with some massive names, including Keira Knightley and Morgan Freeman. What was your biggest pinch-me moment? I think just the beginning, stepping onto the set. Everyone was so incredibly sweet. Keira was there and it was amazing to have time with her, just to be. We’re all normal people, which I kind of had to keep reminding myself. It’s like when young people meet me [and are starstruck]. I don’t want them to feel like I’m above them. We’re all human beings.