The star, who became a national favourite with her performances in such shows as McLeod’s Daughters and 800 Words, as well a winning turn on Dancing with The Stars, describes her mum’s passing when she was just a little girl, as ‘the greatest tragedy of my life.’
‘I never spoke about this for a very long time,’ Bridie reveals in an emotional interview with Pete Timbs, in the latest episode of the Who Are You podcast.
Bridie’s mother was Kiffy Rubbo, a very prominent figure in the Melbourne art scene. Her renown meant that the family’s story eventually became public, with Bridie’s participation.
‘A book came out about her a couple of years ago, and I did agree to talk publicly about it. And also, to speak about it to shed light on something that is a great tragedy, so goodness can come from darkness, I guess.
‘The truth is my mother committed suicide when I was nine years old. It was the greatest tragedy of my life.’
Bridie’s feelings about the heartbreaking event have evolved over time, and she confesses that she didn’t always feel as free to discuss it publicly.
‘I didn’t talk about it for a long time because I felt ashamed about it, and there’s so much stigma that goes along with suicide,’ she reveals to Timbs.
‘So, I thought this was also an opportunity, if you’re blessed to have… I don’t know if it’s a blessing actually… if your life is in the public eye sometimes you can talk about things that are personal to you and have relevance and meaning and can hopefully help others.
‘I’d just like us all to start talking about it and not keep it a secret.’
Like many people who lost a parent during childhood, Bridie has experienced changes in her perception of the tragedy as she has passed through life since. While she has coped with the heartbreak, the star concedes one can never truly leave behind such an event.
‘The death of someone from suicide, especially a parent is something you never get over. I mean I don’t live burdened every day because I’ve done a lot of work. I’ve had to.
‘But it’s something you’ll never recover from because it’s the strangest grief you’ll ever encounter, because it’s unknown, and never ending. That’s just the way it is.’
To hear Bridie’s full discussion of her family heartbreak and journey towards reconciling with it, listen to Who Are You – out now. You can subscribe via iTunes http://po.st/RxVC07 or OMNY http://po.st/SIWRsS
If you or someone you know is struggling, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.