Natalie Bassingthwaighte opens up: 'Sometimes it's hard to be happy'

·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·3-min read

In her episode of SBS' genealogical show, Who Do You Think You Are?, Natalie Bassingthwaighte says that her family plays their cards close to their chests.

But the actor, singer and stage performer is remarkably open about her personal life, referencing a life-changing 'breakdown' she had a few years earlier within the first 30 seconds of last night's show.

Natalie Bassingthwaighte wearing a broad-brimmed hat on Who Do You Think You Are? 2021. Photo: SBS (supplied).
Natalie Bassingthwaighte opens up about being happy on Who Do You Think You Are?. Photo: SBS (supplied).

"I've suffered from depression on and off for a long time," the 45-year-old Aussie star explains. "I feel like I'm in an industry where it's hard to get it under control."

It prompted Nat, her husband, Cameron McGlinchey, and their two kids Harper and Hendrix to relocate from the hustle and bustle of Melbourne to NSW's easy-breezy Byron Bay.

It was there, away from the 'many highs and lows' of the showbiz sphere, former Neighbours star Nat found stability and contentedness but also a curiosity about what drew her to life in the spotlight in the first place.

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Natalie Bassingthwaighte and her husband, Cameron McGlinchey, and their two children Harper and Hendrix. Photo: Instagram/natbassingthwaighte.
Nat and her husband, Cameron McGlinchey, and their two children Harper and Hendrix. Photo: Instagram/natbassingthwaighte.

'The strength of the family'

With a puzzling lack of performers on both her mum's and dad's sides, the three-time Logie nominee was eager for SBS's team of researchers to uncover a kindred spirit or two in her family tree.

While you'll have to watch the episode to see if Nat's wish comes true, what she did find was a stoic Irish convict ancestor, Mary Ryan who exhibited a resilience not unlike Nat's own.

"Mary definitely seemed to be the strength of the family," Nat tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

"I really believe that [resilience] carried down over generations, you know, and I'm hoping that I have even just a small part of that in myself."

Learning about matriarch Mary's challenging life in the first half of the 19th century — which involved religious tensions and sons convicted of crimes — made Nat feel proud to be who she is.

Natalie Bassingthwaighte and her mum. Photo: Instagram/natbassingthwaighte.
Nat and her beloved mum, Betty. Photo: Instagram/natbassingthwaighte.

"I do still feel like, no matter how much I've been knocked down or, you know, the trials and tribulations that I've had in my life, I'm still standing and I'm more than just standing, I feel so happy right now," she says.

"Yeah, it takes a lot to choose to be happy," Nat goes on. "Sometimes it's really hard to be happy and to be able to get support through family and friends and whatever else."

The former X Factor judge recognises that things would've been a lot different for her five-times great grandmother Mary 200 years ago.

"Obviously Mary didn't have that support," she says. "Back then, you couldn't just rock up and go to a therapist or go on medication. You really had to stand on your own two feet."

Nat says she came away from her experience on Who Do You Think You Are? with a newfound sense of appreciation and empathy for the strong women in her family, namely her late gran and her mum, Betty.

"I've seen them now from a different perspective, one that really rang true to me," she explains.

Mental health support for yourself or a loved one can be found by calling Lifeline on 13 11 14, Mensline on 1300 789 978, or the Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800.

Online support is available via Beyond Blue.

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