But three decades later, the pair are happier than ever as they prepare to mark their 30th wedding anniversary on December 7. It’s an occasion that comes after “a lot of joy, tears and hard work”, explains Alison, 52, who has changed careers in that time to become a children’s educator.
Since returning to Australia in 2017, after calling the US home for 25 years, the couple have settled in Sydney’s Northern Beaches with their daughters Lotus, 25, and Bodhi, 15, and their son River, 21.
As they prepare to celebrate their milestone occasion, Cameron and Alison invited WHO into their home to share the secrets behind their happy union.
What do you think has been the secret to making your relationship work?
ALISON: We’ve definitely disagreed and had to apologise to each other over the years, but the biggest rule that we have in our relationship is that we never call each other names when we do argue. It’s easy to say things in the heat of the moment but you can never take them back.
CAMERON: And never underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep. There were times when I’d be snoring and Ali had a big day coming up and would say to me she was going to sleep in the spare room. But I’d respond, “No, This isn’t what loving couple’s do.” It took me a long time to realise it’s self-care and that sleep is an important factor to being a better spouse, parent and employee.
On your podcast, Separate Bathrooms, you discuss the ups and downs of your life together. Why did you want to share that with your listener?
CAMERON: Every time we posted photos on Instagram, people kept putting #couplegoals under it. We felt like we were being put up on a bit of a pedestal. We’d write back saying that while things look pretty, it takes a lot of work. We’re big believers in learning from other people’s experiences and sharing what we know with others. It has evolved to become this wonderful experience, where we talk to other couples about their marriages and we’ve learned so much through it.
What’s your partner’s most annoying habit that you’ve had to learn to live with in the past 30 years?
ALISON: You’ve probably noticed but Cameron has a real knack for turning every conversation into something about himself and his answers can go on for five hours [laughs]. Sometimes I watch him and think, “Oh, yep, there he goes off on another tangent again.”
CAMERON: Right. My wife is prone to exaggerating and I’m just going to leave it there [laughs].
What’s your favourite thing about each other?
ALISON: Cam is very good at taking a hit on the chin when people poke fun at him. He’s also very good at apologising – that is the skill that has really saved our marriage over the past 30 years!
CAMERON: I’ve had a lot of opportunities to practise over the years [laughs]. I love Ali’s kindness and she constantly surprises me with how funny she is. And I love her laugh! Ali’s wit and humour is very funny and very sexy.
What’s something we’d be surprised to learn about you?
CAMERON: One of our real talents is renovating homes and restoring things. We love to get on the tools. I really hate seeing perfectly good things being thrown out on the side of the road, and we have no shame in going out and taking things home to restore. My biggest bugbear is seeing leather couches going to waste. That used to be an animal and now it’s going to end up as landfill. I use the leather to make wallets and book covers.
Alison, you’re an icon to the group of women who grew up with you on the cover of their favourite magazines. What was it like dealing with that fame?
ALISON: I have a small group of women aged from about 45 to 60, who are my followers and are so sweet, but no-one else knows who I am.
CAMERON: If I had a dollar for every person who has come up to me over the years and said, “I really like you, Cam, but I absolutely adore Ali,” we’d have been able to put all the kids through private school. I’ve always been very proud of her. I think what made Ali so popular is that the camera picked up her spirit. She should never underestimate what she gave people.
If Lotus, Bodhi or River came home and told you they were marrying someone they’d been seeing for three months, how do you think you’d react?
ALISON: Yeah, there would be a lot more talking about that now. I wouldn’t try and talk them out of it, but maybe ask what is the rush? But we know when you’re in the first flush of love, commonsense goes out the window.
What’s coming up next for both of you?
CAMERON: I have a new movie coming out in March called How to Please a Woman. It’s a quirky Aussie flick with a great subject matter that I don’t think has been tackled before. I think everyone can learn something from it and will really enjoy it.
ALISON: I’ve written a book! It’s called Queen Menopause and will be available in April.
Separate Bathrooms is available to stream now. Cameron can also be heard on SmoothFM from 8pm, seven nights a week.