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Mike Munro: My grandkids healed my heart

He’s one of Aussie TV’s biggest names but now family comes first.

Humble Mike uses his TV Week Logie award as a doorstop in his memorabilia-filled office.

Mike Munro never dreamed he’d one day be surrounded by a big, loving family while growing up the “lonely” only child of a troubled single mother.

“It was just Mum and I… No other family really, except Dad, who sort of came in and out of my life,” he tells Woman’s Day, as he pops a pot of coffee on the stove at his home on Sydney’s North Shore, which is filled with family photos and artwork from his six grandchildren. “But now we’re a family of 12. I love that!” beams the 69-year-old of the extended Munro clan.

Fourteen years after leaving Nine, where he became an Aussie TV icon presenting a string of shows including 60 Minutes and A Current Affair, the signature sparkle in Mike’s eyes is still there as he recounts how different life is these days.

“I was never comfortable with the fame,” the presenter – who also had stints at Seven and Ten – tells Woman’s Day. “You’re earning a lot of money. You’re travelling the world like a millionaire. You want a helicopter? Get a helicopter. You want to go write in Paris? Go on, write in Paris! It was unbelievable.”

Now, Mike gets his thrills from babysitting his six grandchildren – Harley, Otto, Rupert, Willa, Evie and Freddy – who lovingly call him “Manu”. “We can’t get enough,” says Mike of himself and his wife of 43 years Lea, 65. He admits he “missed out on the early years with the kids” thanks to his high-profile TV gigs. “So I don’t want to miss out on a moment with any of the grandkids.”

Mike says Lea “had to teach me to a degree how to be a parent” to the couple’s kids, son Sean, 39, and daughter Amy, 37.

“I’ve never been a confident parent… I have to ask, ‘Should I say that, should I do that?'” he says, admitting he didn’t have the best role models growing up.

“We’re blessed, we really are,” says Mike of his life with wife Lea.

(Image: Phillip Castleton)


“I spent most of my early childhood and teens trying to get mum sober,” Mike says of his late mother Beryl, who sadly died before getting to meet Mike’s kids or grandkids. “I was putting mum to bed at five.”

When they aren’t wrangling the little ones, the couple – who have been together since they were teens – like to travel, “always have a laugh and a joke together” and still go out for dinner every year on the anniversary of the night they met back in 1972.

Loyalty, it seems, is big to Mike, who still enjoys long lunches with his mates from his early days in newspapers. And it’s during these meals out he often gets people stopping to tell him, “I know your face from somewhere…”

During his four decades on screen, Mike interviewed everyone from Katharine Hepburn to Barbra Streisand, Billy Joel, Bette Midler and Madonna but he says from the more than 200 shows of This Is Your Life he hosted, his favourite guests were the low-profile “unsung heroes”.

“I loved going from the hard investigative world of journalism on A Current Affair to the warm bosom of family on This Is Your Life,” says Mike.

“I’m mad, I’m fun, I’m always coming up with ideas,” the star says of being a grandfather.

(Image: Phillip Castleton)


After hosting and producing Lawless: The Real Bushrangers for the History Channel in 2017 and writing a book on the subject in 2019, Mike’s latest project took him to New York, where he’s been talking to US distributors about his next project, an anti-nuclear doco.

But there’s one gig he’d never do – brekkie TV! He says the bigwigs at Nine begged him to take on Today.

“They came back to me and said, ‘What can we offer you?’ I said, ‘There’s one thing – start it at 11am,'” Mike jokes. “It gets to a point where it’s not about the money. It’s about family.”

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