Birthdate and place:
26th September 1964 - Sydney, Australia
Colour of eyes:
Married Michelle Louis in October 1996 after an 11 year relationship
What I know about women
Interview from the Sydney Morning Herald - lifestyle section, 18th May 2014
Brett Climo, Actor, 49, married
My father died of a stroke when I was three, so for a long time I grew up with just my mother, Nancy, and my two older sisters, Annette and Deanne. I can remember the day Dad died, but as I was so young I was more aware of my mother's and sisters' reactions and loss than mine.
Mum was only in her mid-20s at the time, and Dad [Ray] was the love of her life. She had to go on a journey, ahead of her time, looking at all sorts of ways to gain inner strength, like positive thinking and meditation. But Mum is wonderfully grounded, and she and my sisters handled the adversity with strength, grace and stoicism. For example, my mother would do things like tile the bathroom, then she'd put on a nice dress and cook dinner. Things like that showed me women could be strong and decisive, but also feminine.
Apart from my family, I never really wanted that much company growing up, and I always shied away from that competitive macho thing that many guys have, especially in groups and teams. People say that a team dynamic is good for you, but I completely disagree. You can form bad habits with that whole pressure of conforming. I never wanted a bar of that and still don't. And when men in packs start objectifying women ... well, I've always found that abhorrent and I don't understand it.
Growing up with women made me very critical of maleness, to be honest. Ironically, however, when Mum re-married when I was 11, my stepfather, David, was a gentle man. As much as anyone, he gave me the encouragement and confidence that I could be formidable, strong and successful without following the pack.
I didn't find my teenage years hard when it came to the opposite sex. Probably because of my formative years at home in Sydney, I've always had an understanding and appreciation of girls. It didn't make approaching them any easier, however, particularly girls I was attracted to; the fear was always there. But I was comfortable around them and male friends would always ask me advice about how to talk to girls.
My upbringing may have made me more emotionally articulate than I would have been otherwise. Some guys criticise women for discussing everything. Well, I grew up in that environment where you did talk about everything, the detail of life, and I found that important. Now all of my male friends are like that. A conversation is not worth it if it doesn't get down to it. That may be considered a feminine thing, but I don't care. It interests me, and it's made me less prone to feelings of anger.
At the same time, I was private about my girlfriends, probably because of my love for my mum. There was real conflict at times. I remember when I met my now wife, Michelle [Louis], I remember keeping it secret from Mum for a long time. It was as if I was violating something. I should go to a shrink! That's long been sorted out, but at the time it was about how I share myself with my family when there was this new person I knew immediately I wanted to spend all my time with.
I met Michelle when I was 20 and she was engaged. She and her then fiancÚ were looking for a housemate. When I turned up to look at the room, I met this stunning, intelligent, interesting, funny woman and her equally lovely fiancÚ. But as it would turn out, they'd been going through a rocky patch and eventually he moved out and I stayed on. We were inseparable.
Eight years later, however, I started to question myself, which I'd never done before. "You were young when you met this beautiful woman who you are still in love with, but maybe it can't be this easy in life," I said to myself. So I had a couple of years living on my own. I had relationships, and Michelle did find someone else, but I couldn't get her out of my mind when I was seeing other women. But we were in touch all the time, and one thing led to another. She gave me a chance to see her again and then we realised we didn't want to live without each other. I proposed and we married. That was 17 years ago.
Because of my love for her, I had to become a kinder person. The life of an actor can get you down, and you take that out on people around you. As men, we can define ourselves by our work, so when that doesn't go so well, you lose yourself. That's so wrong. As Michelle says, in her wisdom, "You're a husband, a son, a brother, a friend - people like you regardless of what you do." Women seem more practical-minded, more assured of what they are, where they fit in, by just being who they are.
Brett Climo: "When I met my now wife, I kept it a secret from Mum for a long time. It was as if I was violating something." Photo: Nicholas Wilson / Channel7