At 35, Natalie Imbruglia is finally at ease with herself. And, as she tells Michael Sheather, she's changed her mind about motherhood.
Natalie Imbruglia, the beautiful, doe-eyed ingenue and former Neighbours star who smashed her way into music history in the late ’90s with her heartbreak hit Torn, has reached a personal watershed. At 35, after years of publicly declaring that even the thought of becoming a mother “terrified” her, Natalie, the self-described “gypsy” of the pop world, wants to have a child.
“My thinking has changed,” says Natalie, who is currently single. “There was a time when I couldn’t think of anything worse, when it was perhaps a very scary concept for me. But if you’re asking me today whether I would like to have a baby, then the answer is yes, I certainly would. There are times when I have been clucky. I am 35 and it has been on my mind.”
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Change is a critical and constant theme in Natalie’s life. The past few years have been marked by both emotional and professional upheaval. Two years ago, her marriage to Silverchair lead singer Daniel Johns ended with a joint statement from the high-profile couple citing the combined strain of work commitments and a long-distance relationship.
Sometimes disappointment, even heartache, can herald unanticipated changes: freedom, renewed confidence and a greater understanding. Age and its accompanying maturity have helped Natalie welcome each of these in recent years.
Part of this personal transformation, she says, is a readiness to place herself back into the public eye. With a new role on the Australian version of the UK talent show The X Factor, screening on the Seven Network in September, Natalie believes she is finally coming to terms with her place in the world. In so many ways, she’s no longer torn.
“I think I am more comfortable in my skin now than I have ever been,” she says, her legs curled beneath her as she reclines in a retro ’50s ball chair, basking in the brief glory of Sydney’s winter sun. “I have been through some big changes in my life, sure. But there are good things that come with that. Just the wisdom that you get – you think you know it all and then you realise that you don’t. I think it’s that I like myself a lot more. Part of it is age, I’m sure. I am finally okay with who I am. I don’t need to project a particular image, be this way or that. I know who I am and that gives you a confidence that filters through in every area of your life.
“Sure, I carry my battle scars, but I certainly feel happy, strong and a little less guarded. I’m not worried about what people might think. In the past, I was someone who was, perhaps, a little too guarded for my own good. I think that is about the struggle of being in the public eye. Some people can do it and some can’t. I think I have much more of a sense of lightness around it now.”
Catch Natalie on The X Factor in Channel 7
Read more of this story in the August issue of The Australian Women’s Weekly.