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Meet Jesse Willesee: The son of respected journo Terry is leading quite a different life

Whether it’s posing with what looks like a bag of drugs or stabbing beer cans with a hunting knife, nobody can call him dull!

Setting $10,000 on fire in a bathtub, stabbing cans of Foster's lager with a hunting blade and smoking a joint on the steps of Sydney's Town Hall – Jesse Sunset, aka Jesse Willesee, is nothing if not extreme.

But while you might expect his wild shenanigans – all delivered in the name of art – to shock his father, respected Aussie TV journalist Terry Willesee, Jesse, 32, says nothing could be further from the truth.

"My parents are my biggest fans, without a doubt!" says Jesse, who calls himself an "accidental playboy", records rap videos and documentaries, and has been a vocal campaigner for the use of medical marijuana in Australia.

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Want more celeb goss? Listen to the latest episode of the Woman's Day Uncensored podcast, where the team discuss Tziporah Malkah's newfound celebrity, go inside the shock split between Lachy and Emma Wiggle and more couple drama on The Block.

Jesse Willesee calls himself an "accidental playboy".
Jesse Willesee calls himself an "accidental playboy".

"My mum [Melissa] checks my Instagram account every single day to see what I've posted and is so involved and Dad helps me film a lot of the videos," he tells Woman's Day.

"The other day I did a video where I slice up Foster's cans with a knife, and I remember reading an article that said, 'OMG, I wonder what his parents would think?' It made me laugh because Dad hiked up a mountain to film that!"

In fact, Jesse says his parents, who he lives with in LA, have always been super-supportive of his art – and so are the rest of his extended family.

Jesse Willesee is dating Geoffrey Edelsten's ex-wife Gabi Grecko.
Jesse Willesee is dating Geoffrey Edelsten's ex-wife Gabi Grecko.

"They definitely like some of the things I do more than others – preferring the more creative and artistic, as opposed to the wild-party antics, but having said that my dad and his brothers were not conservative."

"They were pretty wild, and I think a lot of people forget that side of the Willesees," says Jesse, whose uncle is Mike Willesee, the man responsible for launching A Current Affair, as well as the career of Paul Hogan.

When Jesse got arrested for smoking cannabis in Sydney in 2015 as part of a campaign for the use of medical marijuana, his dad, better known for his stellar journalism career and star turns on A Current Affair and Terry Willesee Tonight, turned up to support him during the court case.

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Jesse was arrested for smoking cannabis in Sydney in 2015 as part of a campaign for the use of medical marijuana.
Jesse was arrested for smoking cannabis in Sydney in 2015 as part of a campaign for the use of medical marijuana.

And Melissa spoke with pride about her son standing up for something he believes in.

"I'm always proud of him. I think if young people don't protest, who is going to? People like him have to... when you're older you have a lot more at stake," she said, adding, "We come from a long line of protesters."

And while Terry is proud of his courageous son, he doesn't support smoking marijuana, despite Jesse's protestation that it has improved his life.

"Terry is proud of his courageous son, he doesn't support smoking marijuana, despite Jesse's protestation that it has improved his life."
"Terry is proud of his courageous son, he doesn't support smoking marijuana, despite Jesse's protestation that it has improved his life."

"Weed changed my life. I started smoking it when I was 23," says Jesse, who has suffered from ADD and ADHD.

"I remember the first time I smoked weed, I sat down and read a book from cover to cover and I'd never been able to do that before. It was then that I found art and I knew the path I wanted to be on. I always thought without weed that would never have happened."

While Jesse openly admits to taking cannabis and mushrooms, he says despite people's preconceptions about him, he doesn't do other drugs.

Jesse with his dad, mum Melissa and sister Kit.
Jesse with his dad, mum Melissa and sister Kit.

"When I was younger I experimented with drugs, but now I smoke weed, have a few beers and that's it."

As for those controversial music videos, dating Geoffrey Edelsten's ex-wife Gabi Grecko and burning (fake) money, he says it's all part of the act!

"A lot of the stuff I do isn't to be taken seriously, and if you look at it in a different light, people will see it's a piss-take more than a serious thing."

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