Exclusive: Natalie Barr put the provocative farewell words of her Sunrise predecessor to the test – she spoke out in favor of Channel 7’s army of working mothers who were offended by Sam Armytage’s network bosses when they were assigned additional tasks.
In an extraordinary first interview – which confirms she will co-host from tomorrow – Barr wasted no time delving into Stellar’s Brand podcast comments that came in Sam’s final days before her shock outcome exploded from the first-class breakfast show.
While the newly wed Armytage said they were taking a hiatus to « calm things down » with husband Richard Lavendar, the controversial seven-star man threw a few grenades on his way out – to cover their new podcast, « News To Talk About « of News Corp Australia to describe their television peers as » sociopaths and narcissists « .
While Barr said « everyone had a right to their opinion, » the popular TV news anchor railed against every suggestion. Seven employees with children were given an easier ride than childless singles when it came to overseas or breaking news.
The married mother of two sons and the longest serving member of the Sunrise family defended her employers and the « news junkie » work ethic.
« I feel like I worked really hard and raised my hand for every job, every message that involved leaving, » Barr said.
« I’ve been to floods, fires, terrorist attacks and US elections and I love taking on all that extra burden, » I added. « That’s why I became a journalist. I raised my hand as high as possible to get to these. » Jobs and do the extra stuff.
« If I were single and had no kids I would probably be the same. I mean, I like the fact that I have two boys and they know that their father’s and mother’s job are equally important … but that’s how they work our family, I go out of the house [to work] and especially in the last few years they need to know how to put on the Bolognese, how to cook the pasta.
« They can cook rice, they got their cooking repertoire going and they still have to take out the trash cans on a Tuesday night. Isn’t that the modern world?
« I don’t feel like I’ve worked less as a wife and mother. I also don’t feel like I had to prove anything, that’s how it always worked for me, » she said.
After 18 years as the bridesmaid of Breakfast TV – alongside Melissa Doyle and Armytage at the top job – it was Barr’s Oscar-nominated husband of the film editor, Drew Thompson, who told her to « wife get up and go out ».
« I’m a bit of a scared cat, of course, and I was very happy with my [newsreader] job.
« The job I had reading the news was my dream job. I came from a small rural town [Bunbury, WA] and only dreamed of going to Perth, where I thought all the cool people lived, » said the 52-year-old said.
“My son, nearly 20 years old, was an 18 month old, non-sleeping baby when I came to Sunrise. So it was almost her whole life. Things have changed because he doesn’t wake me at night, although sometimes he does now when she comes in at 4am, « she laughs.
Their eldest son, Lachlan, is currently in his sophomore year studying cinematography and film, while the couple’s youngest hunter is « six feet two and pats me on the head … at this stage, » she smiled.
But Barr also knows what it’s like to cause a public stir after a 2014 opinion piece angered feminists by asking, « If a man has the job, was it because he was better? »
While Armytage suffered intense control over her conservative politics and personal life during her 7.5 years at Sunrise, Barr joked that her life was « so boring, I think people would realize and give up after two days. »
Even so, she had already started setting boundaries on social media and turning off all Twitter notifications « so [trolls] can’t reach me. »
« I thought this was a really good start. » I just won’t read all of this. When I get this abuse, I just block people … every few days I block someone and I have no problem blocking them. It really is self-preservation. »
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