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My friend Kerri-Anne Kennerley has lost the love of her life

John Kennerley passed away at the age of 78.
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On February 28, TV icon Kerri-Anne Kennerley announced the passing of her dear husband John Kennerley.

Their friend Angela Mollard writes about John and Kerri-Anne’s powerful love.

She was the love of his life and he was hers. Now, sadly, he has gone.

But if I know Kerri-Anne Kennerley, she will be celebrating all that she had with her husband John rather than mourning all she has lost. 

For this First Lady of morning television has always been a survivor. She overcame a violent first marriage, a miscarriage, childlessness, the ups and downs of a broadcasting career, breast cancer, and John’s horrific accident. Now she will survive this.

Because one of Kerri-Anne’s most delightful characteristics is that she’s a woman who lives with intention.

 

As she told me last year, she doesn’t spend time on indulgent self-analysis. ‘I only delve into and consider things that are possible. It’s ridiculous to consider what-ifs. I’d be a basket case if I did that.’

It’s an attitude that has served her well and will underpin how she copes now after John’s death in hospital last night.

 Theirs was the greatest love affair of all and in the quiet moments in her beautiful home where photographs of the two of them at parties with celebrities jostle for space alongside John’s beloved train set, she will miss him dreadfully.

But I’m sure Kerri-Anne’s “show must go on” attitude and her tremendous wit and joy will carry her through.

The bedroom they shared, where John’s hospital bed was installed next to their large marital bed, will be silent again now that the motor that kept the mattress moving to prevent bedsores will be switched off. Likewise, the wardrobe full of John’s shirts – adapted with a slit up the back so he could get into them more easily after his accident – will, in time, be packed up.

Although he will no longer be at her side as he has been for the past 35 years of marriage, I’m sure   she’ll draw strength from his years of steadiness and sharp humour.

When I last saw them together at home eight months ago, for an interview for Stellar magazine,  they were as hilarious as ever. John was on his way to a medical appointment and Kerri-Anne was miffed that he was wearing tracksuits pants. As she told me, she’d have laid out smarter clothes if she’d known. ‘Where did you get those?’ she asked him with faux annoyance. ‘You got them,’ he shot back. ‘Off the back of a truck. But you took all the good stuff for yourself.’

They were always like this – when I saw them together in hospital a few weeks after John fell backwards off the balcony in 2016, when I bumped into them at the theatre, when she popped into a girls’ lunch I invited her to at a restaurant near her home (she only stayed for one drink because she was taking John out for lunch).

Kerri-Anne would have given away every moment of her sparkling career to have John out of his wheelchair and standing by her side. We know this, because she told us when she was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the 2017 Logie Awards.

But as she steps forward now, on her own, she can do so knowing she did everything she could for the man she loved. She cared for her husband in the deepest and truest sense of the word, being by his side at hospital appointments, meticulously planning short breaks so his life would still feel meaningful, quipping with him over every day amusements.

At their wedding in 1984 the pair danced to Anne Murray’s “You Needed Me”. Over the years they’ve both needed each other at various times and both, as Anne sings, “were there”.

RIP dear John and sending all strength to you darling KAK. You have shown the rest of us how to love well.

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