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Bob Hawke's wife Blanche d'Alpuget breaks down in heartbreaking interview about former PM's death

The former PM has left a heartbreaking void.

By Rebecca Sullivan
The love affair between Bob Hawke and his second wife Blanche d'Alpuget was one of the most shocking surprise romances in Australian political history.
Their 20-year affair, conducted while both were married to other people, scandalised Australians when Hawke eventually left his first wife Hazel and married Blanche in a highly publicised ceremony in 1995.
Whatever your moral view about how their relationship began, it's clear the duo had an undeniable fiery chemistry that was evident to anyone who spent time with the couple.
Their great love story has eventually come to be celebrated for its warmth, authenticity and passion.
It's clear that after all these years, the couple were still besotted with each other.
That deep connection was put fully on display during an interview Blanche gave last year, when the subject of her husband's death was raised.
When asked by ABC 7.30 host Leigh Sales if she and Bob had discussed death, she said they had talked about it at length.
"We've discussed it. He has no fear of death and we've talked about it quite a lot and we've talked about his funeral and what he would like to happen at his funeral," Blanche said.
"I've bought the graves and I'm going ahead and planning ahead, so if it happens this year or five years hence, and I'm not here myself, my son or one of the children will just be able to take over and join up the dots because they will have had everything organised."
But it was the next question that brought tears to Blanche's eyes.
"How do you think you'll go on without him?" Sales asked.
"With difficulty Leigh, with difficulty. Oh dear," Blanche said, as she began to cry. "He's my best friend!"
Blanche d'Alpuget broke down talking about her husband's death in an interview last year. (Image: ABC/7.30)
Blanche has previously opened up about the impact their very public affair had on her mental health.
"It's horrible. It's absolutely horrible," she told the ABC about being branded as "the other woman".
"It's frightening, you're being attacked by a mob," she said.
But she told news.com.au if their affair had happened today, the backlash would have been a lot worse.
"It would be a lot more brutal now," she said last year.
"It's one of the reasons democracy is going down the gurgler everywhere. It's because good, strong people aren't going into politics because of social media — they don't want to get themselves and their families put through it.
"(These days) everybody's got a camera in their pocket. Politicians are now walking on eggshells the whole time ... there is a great puritanism that's fallen upon us."
Bob and Blanche on their wedding day in 1995. (Image: Getty)
Hawke's first wife Hazel died in 2013 from dementia-related complications.
Just before she died, Hawke paid her a visit and formally apologised for his affair with Blanche.
"I remember Hazel with deep affection and gratitude," he said in a statement following her death.
"She was more than a wife and mother, being father as well during my frequent absences as I pursued an industrial then political career."
Bob and Blanche had a tumultuous affair that ended with their marriage in 1995. (Image: Getty)
It seems death was something that Hawke did not fear at all.
In fact, in an old letter he wrote in 1985 to a young child, he explained clearly and articulately his thoughts about dying.
"The question you asked me about dying is very hard to answer and I think that most of us have different ideas about why we do eventually all die," he wrote.
"Sometimes people die because of unfortunate accidents, sometimes because they become so ill that doctors are unable to help them to recover. Perhaps when we grow very old our bodies get worn out, or certain parts break down, like parts in an old car. None of us can be sure of how long we will live.
"Because this is so, I think you should try not to think too much about dying but think about all the nice things around you that make life so precious to us all."
Hawke's heartwarming response to a child's question about death. (Image: Supplied)
In 2015, Hawke suffered a massive health scare and nearly died of a stomach bug.
That brush with death forced him and his wife to think about their plans, however morbid that might have been to discuss, should one or both of them die.
Blanche then picked out the place in a local cemetery where they will one day lie together.
"The graves are side-by-side," she said. "We chose a spot where the public can come. It'll be nice. It's in a rose garden and there's a seat there so if a member of the public wants to come and have a sit, they can."
WATCH BELOW: Why Bob Hawke is such an incredible legend.

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