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Jessica Rowe reveals why quitting Studio 10 was the best thing she ever did

In a no-holds-barred interview Jessica Rowe and Peter Overton talk exclusively to The Weekly.

By Juliet Rieden
"I need wholemeal flour and tuna and what else?" a slightly harassed looking Peter Overton asks his wife as he gathers his car keys so that he and daughter Giselle can head off to shop for what most would consider a rather bizarre birthday celebration. Violet the cat is turning two and later, I'm told, there will be a party.
Welcome to the zany, messy, love-filled universe of Jessica Rowe. It's a world where intentions are always turbo-charged but behind the seeming glamour of this marriage of two well-known TV presenters, nothing is perfect.
Since Jessica abruptly left Channel Ten's Studio 10 morning show half way through last year to concentrate on family life, she has also been busy penning a sort of memoir.
In true Jessica style it's a star-shaped peg in the round hole of autobiographies revealing the private heartache as well as the hilarious antics behind Jessica's attempts at cooking and homemaking; plus some recipes you may – or may not – want to try at home.
Jessica Rowe has focused her energy towards her new book Diary of a Crap Housewife. (Image: Alana Landsberry)
Jessica with Husband Peter Overton and daughters Allegra and Giselle. (Image: Alana Landsberry)
Diary of a Crap Housewife takes its moniker from Jess's hugely popular Instagram site where each day 100,000 followers witness her charred dinners. But amid the book's self-deprecating humour, Jessica is searingly honest about some dark, dark times. And as we sit down to talk, I quickly realise this tome is a vital part of the "new place" Jessica has found herself in.
"I'll be 49 in June and I feel I've got nothing lose any more. I am more comfortable with who I am, so I really don't care as much what people think…It's a good time for me to write a book," says Jessica, as Peter and Giselle leave us for their errands.
"When I wrote my first book with my mum, called The Best of Times, The Worst of Times about Mum's bipolar illness, I remember my publisher saying 'can you explain more, can you peel it back?' And as a younger woman that was hard for me to do. Now if anything I over share," she laughs.
Jess says her husband Peter loves her as she is. (Image: Alana Landsberry)
Jessica's daughters played a big role in her decision to leave Studio Ten. (Image: Alana Landsberry)
Through her social media presence and now this book, Jessica has developed a personal mantra which is all about embracing shortcomings and it's no surprise that her message is chiming clear as a bell with women all over the nation.
"I now wear my so-called 'failings' and 'flaws' like badges of honour as I've discovered the enormous power that comes from being vulnerable," she writes.
"Part of that vulnerability has meant letting go of the apron strings tied around the airbrushed image of what a family is 'supposed' to look like."
At its core, that family comprises husband Peter Overton, 53, the seasoned Channel Nine news host, their two daughters Allegra, 12, and Giselle, 10, and of course, the three cats. On the surface the foursome looks pretty splendid, especially all dressed up in The Weekly's photo shoot.
Jessica felt guilty over the lack of time she had to spend with her daughters. (Image: Alana Landsberry)
Honesty has come with age for Jessica. (Image: Alana Landsberry)
But Jessica is now eager to reveal that behind the mask, it hasn't always been peaches and cream.
"When I was much younger, it was all about projecting a particular image. But as I've got older I have become far more honest," she admits. "You can't be fabulous at everything and it's okay not to be."
Jessica is not just talking about her dodgy evening meals here – which for the record have driven Pete to relying on a delivery service for his evening meal - or the patronisingly dubbed "juggle" that modern women are supposed to crave and master. This goes much deeper.
It's about holding herself together as a mother, a wife, a TV presenter, a human being. It's about trying to find the joy in life, when you're plagued by feelings of anxiety. And then it's about having the guts to let down your guard and "support other women by telling your story."
Peter admits he relies on food delivery to balance out Jess's infamous cooking. (Image: Alana Landsberry)
Altering her work/lifestyle balance has been a game changer for the family. (Image: Alana Landsberry)
The smile on Jessica's face that greets me today is the result of hard work, family love and a courage to face her demons.
There have been times in the past and very recently when every day has been a struggle and admitting that has not just given Jessica a new set of wings. Jessica is optimistic by nature. Always has been. On any given day you'll find her chatting and snorting with laughter. She's also fiercely ambitious.
But when Jessica chose to quit Studio 10 she confesses she was in a rough place. "I could feel at the end of each show, not every day, but most days I would be close to tears. I'd feel that behind my eyes and was just about keeping it together. And I thought 'why am I doing this to myself?'"
On the verge of 49, Jessica focuses less on what others think of her. (Image: Alana Landsberry)
Jess's iconic dinners are well known to the family, but not in the way you would expect. (Image: Alana Landsberry)
On screen she was feisty, passionate and looked as if she was having fun. But appearances deceive. "I knew that I was heading down, I knew that my anxiety was there, that I was getting depressed and that if I didn't make a change I'd start to falter."
Jessica was rightly concerned. She had experienced something similar before, when post-natal depression seemingly came out of nowhere and flawed her, following the birth of Giselle. But this was different. "It wasn't the job per se. It's the best job I've ever have in telly. I absolutely loved it! But I knew I needed to make a change. I was putting myself out there every day and I could never do things by halves."
Meanwhile mother guilt was eating away at Jessica's heart. Allegra had been setting her alarm so she could wake up early to catch some quality time with her mum before she headed off to work, accessible to the nation, but not to her two girls. "Now my daughters were getting older, I realised they needed me more than ever. I couldn't ignore my life's greatest work – being the best mother for them."
Peter was completely supportive of his wife's decision. "She talks to me openly and the only thing that matters is happiness," he tells me later. "It's been a game changer for our family and especially for Allegra. Both girls needed Mum and we could do it. A lot of families can't and we know we're lucky in that regard. It's just lovely in the mornings now."
To read our full interview with Jessica Rowe and Peter Overton buy the April issue of The Australian Women's Weekly. On sale now.

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