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EXCLUSIVE: Natalie Bassingthwaighte's moving mental health discovery three years after breakdown: "I felt a real understanding"

“With mental health, it’s swings and roundabouts.”

By Helen Vnuk
Natalie Bassingthwaighte isn't surprised that her two children, Harper and Hendrix, are both performers.
With the actress/singer/presenter as their mum, and drummer/writer/producer Cameron McGlinchey as their dad, Natalie jokes that the kids can't "get away from it."
"Harper is very dramatic, really funny and a really great dancer," Natalie, 45, tells TV WEEK.
Natalie Bassingthwaighte has opened up about her family. Who Do You Think You Are?
"She doesn't go to dance school, she doesn't do drama, she doesn't want to do any of it, but she's just naturally got it."
"And Hendrix, he's started to learn the guitar, which is slightly embarrassing, given his name's Hendrix, but he loves it."
"He came to see a show of mine and then the next week he went to school and he goes, 'Mum, I'm the lead singer now.'"
It was different for Natalie when she was growing up in Wollongong, NSW, with her three sisters.
She was drawn to performing, but no-one in her family was in showbiz.
"Apart from the fact that my nan yodelled," Natalie adds. "I remember she yodelled once when we went on a camping trip."
When Natalie was invited to go on SBS's genealogy show Who Do You Think You Are?, she was hoping to find an ancestor who was a performer.
All she had to go on was a family story that her great-great-great-grandmother Wilhelmina had played piano for legendary opera singer Dame Nellie Melba.
What Natalie found out was even better than she'd hoped for.
"I kept going, 'Did you guys make this up? This can't be real, right?'"
Natalie also discovered her great-great-great-grandfather Henry Eastwick had struggled with his mental health.
Having had depression herself and a breakdown in 2018, Natalie felt she connected.
"I felt so much empathy for him, trying to be the breadwinner and hold the family together," she says.
"He made mistakes, but I felt a real understanding of his struggles."
Natalie with her daughter Harper. Instagram
Natalie declares she feels "amazing" right now.
"With mental health, it's swings and roundabouts," she says. "I've been great for quite a few years, so that's such a blessing, but you have to maintain that.
"You can take medication, but you still need to do things like meditate and exercise and make sure you put your feet on the earth. There are so many things you have to constantly give yourself, so much self-love, to keep it at bay."
Natalie and Cameron moved their family from Melbourne to Byron Bay in northern NSW just months before COVID hit.
She says she felt "very lucky" they could spend time outdoors during lockdown.

But she did find home-schooling Harper, now 10, and Hendrix, eight, harder than expected.
"My husband kept saying, 'You were so good.' I was like, 'No! They didn't listen!' They were like, 'I don't want to do that one,' and I was like, 'You wouldn't talk to your teacher like that!'"
After losing gigs last year due to COVID, Natalie was back at work this year in the stage musical Chess.
She'll also be seen on screens soon, with a role in a movie and a project she can't talk about just yet.
As for a return to Neighbours, where she played Izzy, she says she'd "never say never."
Natalie as Izzy on Neighbours. Channel 7
"I thought I said never before and I went back," she says. "Who knows?"
Natalie has stayed close to Alan Fletcher, who plays Karl in Neighbours.
"He's one of my best mates," she says. "He and his wife are down in Melbourne. They used to live around the corner, so we do stay in contact."
Having done Who Do You Think You Are?, Natalie says she now feels more like she belongs in her career.
"I know that sounds weird, but I feel like I make more sense to myself, especially when I'm out on stage," she says. "I'm like, 'This is in my blood! I couldn't help it!'"
Who Do You Think You Are? airs on SBS on Tuesday nights at 7:30pm

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