Ally Langdon opens up about feud with Tracy Grimshaw for first time

''It wasn't what it looked like.''
Loading the player...

Mornings are usually busy for Allison Langdon.

But when TV WEEK calls to chat, she’s dropped the kids at daycare, folded the laundry and has some time until she has to head into the studio.

During her days on breakfast TV, Ally experienced the morning rush before most of us are awake.

Now there’s quiet – and it’s making her anxious.

As it happened, we called Ally on the very day she made her debut as host of A Current Affair.

”I’m incredibly excited, but there are some real nerves,” Ally, 43, said at the time.

”I haven’t had stillness for three years! My mind goes to who was in that chair before me, and I know I have a big responsibility.”

Loading the player...

As viewer ratings would prove, Ally had nothing to worry about.

With an empathetic touch, the host has conducted powerful interviews that bring into focus important issues in Australia and abroad.

It’s the prowess of a seasoned television journalist, but Ally, who was announced to replace Tracy Grimshaw as host of ACA in 2022, is aware that this is different.

”I was three years into a show [Today] that I loved doing, so part of me felt I had unfinished business,” the presenter says.

”But when ACA is put on the table – and Trace has been in that chair for 17 years so it doesn’t come up often – it was a no-brainer. The timing wasn’t perfect, but you can’t always pick that.”

Ally stepped into the ACA host’s chair this year.

(IMAGE: Nine)

Accepting the position was a ”practical conversation” for Ally, who has a son Mack, six, and daughter Scout, three, with husband Michael Willesee.

But the significance is greater: her late father-in-law Mike Willesee was the very first anchor of ACA in 1971.

”I used to chat to Mike about his ACA days, but it never crossed my mind I’d be sitting in that chair. Scout, who was born 48 hours after he passed, looks just like him. We’ve been talking about him more of late. It’s special and emotional.”

However, after her appointment was announced, the narrative changed after a video showed Tracy coldly ”snub”.

With former 60 minutes colleagues (from above left) Sarah Abo, Liam Bartlett, Liz Hayes, Tara Brown and Charles Wooley.

(IMAGE: Nine)

Ally after her final show. Ally admits she can see how it looked, but confirms the pair are ”great mates.”

”Trace texted me [after the footage was released] and said, ‘I just saw the video – I’m so sorry,” Ally recalls with a laugh.

”It looked bad, but that day, we’d already been chatting, and she knew I was the new host – it just hadn’t been announced yet. Driving into work for her final show, Trace didn’t want a fuss… and she received a guard of honour. [Laughs] So in that moment, I think she was overwhelmed and felt that if she hugged me, she might reveal a secret.”

Treehouse fun with Mum, Scout and Mack.

(IMAGE: Instagram)

The claims of a feud may have been false, but they took the shine off the occasion.

”I hated that the headlines were all about that,” Ally says.

”Trace is a top chick; she’s never made ACA about her, it’s about the audience and what they want to know. Her legacy and strengths were lost a bit in all of that.”

Ally chooses to ignore rumours of professional rivalries, particularly with regard to her former Today co-host Karl Stefanovic, who she calls a ”brother” who’s always had her back.

”It’s a much better headline if we hated each other, but the reality is we all get on,” she says of her media colleagues.

”We’re competitive, but it doesn’t go hand-in-hand with who we are as people.”

WATCH NOW: Michael Rowland parodies Tracy Grimshaw’s snub of Ally Langdon. Article continues after video.

Loading the player...

Fronting her own show may come with great expectations, but Ally won’t be treading on the legacies of those who came before her.

On 60 Minutes she spoke to world leaders and celebrities but believes everyday folk can make an even bigger impact.

”I’m excited to be on the road and connecting with people,” she says.

”But ACA is a great show. To change it entirely would be disrespectful. This is a privilege; I don’t take it lightly.”

Ally and her husband with son Mack who started school in 2022.

(IMAGE: Instagram)

While Ally is eager to turn the camera onto others (“I’ll be happy when the promos aren’t about me!” she laughs), she knows this next chapter could be one of the most important yet. .

”After 20 years in this job, I still have more to learn,” she says.

”There isn’t a minute of my day that’s wasted, but the juggle of it all keeps it real. Life is busy for all of us, and I don’t know if there’s balance in it, but mine is full. I have a wonderful family and a job I love. I’m incredibly lucky.”

With former Today show cohost Karl.

(IMAGE: Nine)

Related stories