Living a very public life on screen, Lisa Wilkinson opens up to Deborah about her personal relationships and talks lovingly about her late father, Ray Wilkinson and marriage to Peter FitzSimons.
“My father was an incredible man, he was dignity personified,” said Lisa.
As president of the local rugby union club, a youth leader and president of the Lions Club, Lisa states “he was a great believer in making sure the community was a solid one and that everybody helped everyone else.”
“He was just a beautiful, strong, intelligent, very low-key person,” said Lisa.
“I was always drawn to his quiet wisdom,” she said.
With a father who was a passionate rugby union man – it seems fitting that Lisa married former Wallaby, journalist and author Peter FitzSimons.
In a bitter-sweet twist of fate, it was just six days after her father’s sudden passing that Lisa was first introduced to Peter FitzSimons in a makeup room at Channel 9.
Upon first introductions, Peter held Lisa’s hand as he told her how much he had respected her father – Ray Wilkinson – who had been instrumental in the rugby union community. In this interview (above) with Deborah, she describes the time she first laid eyes on Peter FitzSimons and how it was a pivotal moment for her.
“I can just remember looking into his eyes and thinking, you’re such a nice man,” said Lisa.
It was then six months later, fellow journalist and friend Liz Hayes set them up and “the rest is history.”
The couple has been together for over 20 years prompting Deborah to ask Lisa what she believes is the secret to a happy marriage.
“Laughter and really admiring somebody’s intellect and obviously both being journalists we have a great love of what we do for a living,” said Lisa
“I think we are very good friends to each other as well, we always have each other’s back,” said Lisa Wilkinson.
With two very strong personalities “there are days when yin doesn’t meet the yang but that’s just all part of it.”
Watch more from Lisa’s interview here
Lisa Wilkinson, co-host of the Nine Network’s TODAY Show, is one of Australia’s most admired and respected journalists and corporate presenters.
For the past two decades, she has successfully applied her journalistic talents to magazine publishing, television and radio. Her communication skills have also made her one of the country’s most sought-after corporate presenters and conference and event facilitators.
In recent years before her TODAY Show appointment, Lisa was co-host of the Seven Network’s top-rating Weekend Sunrise program where she was credited with attracting a new wave of viewers through her relaxed and informative presentation style.
Lisa’s media career got off to an astonishing start when she was appointed editor of the national women’s magazine Dolly at age 21.
Four years later, on the recommendation of the late Kerry Packer, Lisa was offered the editorship of Cleo. Over the next decade, she oversaw Cleo’s rapid circulation surge which resulted in a doubling of circulation and guiding it to the position of the No. 1 selling women’s lifestyle magazine per capita in the world. Later she became Cleo’s International Editor-in-Chief, running editions in NZ, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.