“For the first three months of my pregnancy, which coincided with when we started filming the new season, it was a bit of a s--t show to be completely honest,” the 41-year-old tells WHO.
“I couldn’t keep my head off my pillow, I had terrible sciatica and I was really trying to hide the pregnancy because I didn’t want to tell anyone about it before I’d reached the 12-week point.”
Despite the drama, psychic medium Gillies happily admits she’s beside herself with excitement over the imminent arrival of the babies she’ll share with her musician husband Ben Gillies – and the return of the franchise that made her a star.
“We’re so ready to meet the babies,” she says. “It’s a big year for us for sure, with the show returning and finally becoming a mum.”
It sounds like your pregnancy has been pretty stressful. Did you have second thoughts about returning to the show?
In the first and third seasons of The Real Housewives of Melbourne, I predicted on camera that I would have twins one day. When I was first asked by producers to come back for a fifth season, I said no at first because I was going through IVF at the time and I wasn’t in the right headspace to do it. I wouldn’t have been an asset to the show. But then, when we got the green light to film after COVID-related delays, I said to myself, “You know what, Jacks? There are not enough women who speak out publicly about the realities of IVF. You’ve got to do it.” Because I’d said on camera also that I would have twins one day, I wanted to share my journey with the fans now that it was finally happening for me. But it wasn’t easy filming this show in the early stages of the pregnancy.
Especially if you were keeping it quiet at first!
Definitely. My bestie on the show, Roachy [Housewife Janet Roach], would say to me, “How come you’re so bloated?” and I’d just be like, “It’s the IVF, girl! That’s what happens.” But I was actually already pregnant. I cannot lie for anything, so that was the best way I could think of to keep my secret.
Why is it important to you to share your experiences on the show?
My honesty comes from where and how I grew up. I’m from Newie [Newcastle], mate! I’ve always kept it real and been myself on this show and now that I’m going through this pregnancy, I don’t know how not to be real about my journey. When Foxtel execs say to me, “Jacks, you’re a fan favourite on this show,” I think that’s because of my relatability and how transparent I am.
OK, so what can you tell us about the new season and the four new Housewives?
I have to be honest and tell you that at first, it wasn’t easy getting to know the four new ladies. Three of them – Cherry [Dipietrantonio], Kyla [Kirkpatrick] and Anjali [Rao] – had already become really firm friends by the time we were able to film and I found getting to know them, in their sort of clique, quite challenging.
Can we expect lots of the drama that the franchise is known for?
Of course! I can tell you that one particular Housewife doesn’t click with one of the new ladies at all. That Housewife who has the issue with the newbie may or may not be my bestie, Janet! I can confirm that it’s on like Donkey Kong from the off!
Do you think the new ladies are intimidated by the big shoes they have to fill, in terms of replacing Housewives like Gina Liano and Lydia Schiavello?
Yes, I think so. They are big shoes to fill! One thing I kind of miss is like Gina and I could have a massive barney, that’s our European passion coming out, then it was like, bang, it’s done. Straight after filming we’d be like, “Girl! What was that all about?” Some of the new ladies though, there’d be an argument and then they wouldn’t talk to you for days!
Do you get involved in the show’s drama?
Yes, I fully lose my s--t once or twice, but I blame the hormones! I actually tried to stay out of most of the drama though, because I didn’t want to get too stressed. No-one really came for me though because who’s going to come for the pregnant lady, right?
Are you in nesting mode now?
Ben and I are doing renovations at home so everyone tells me I’m nesting. I didn’t know that was a thing, but it is! I’m still really busy. I’ve just launched my Shine It Up with Jackie Gillies podcast, which is fun. I’ll do psychic readings and interviews on that. Gina is going to be a guest, too! I’m a person who needs to work. I don’t want to just exist in babyland after the twins arrive. It’s fine if you want to do that, but I know that for me having balance between my babies, my husband and my work will keep me sane. I think I’ll be a better wife, mother and lover if I can achieve that. We’ll see what happens when the babies are here!
The Real Housewives of Melbourne premieres Sunday, October 10, 8.30pm on Foxtel.