Carrie Bickmore on her late husband’s battle with brain cancer: “We were about hope and positivity”

Carrie talks about life, loss and her beautiful children.
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Carrie Bickmore is arguably one of the most loved television personalities on Australian TV.

The TV WEEK Gold Logie winner previously reminded us once again just why she resonates so strongly with viewers.

In 2018, she sat for a portrait for comedian and artist Anh Do on his ABC television series Anh’s Brush With Fame. Carrie’s warmth and authenticity shone as she opened up about her childhood, her late husband Greg Lange’s battle with brain cancer, her successful career and young family.

Here is what we learnt…

Carrie Bickmore’s childhood

Carrie Bickmore was born in Adelaide and has lived in Perth and Melbourne.

When she was just three, her parents broke up.

“My Mum and dad split up when I was three. When I was five, my mum decided to pack up and take me to America for a year. She did an exchange teaching thing. It was just my mum and I travelling America on my own,” she explained.

“It was an incredible year together, it was just her and I. It was a really special time. As a parent now, I appreciate how special that would have been.”

When Carrie and her mum came back, their family dynamic changed after her mum met her future partner.

“We came back from America and my mum fell in love with our next door neighbour, who became my step-dad. He always cooked and cleaned and ironed and she was like “Oh my god, who is this man?'” Carrie fondly recalled.

Carrie’s parents split when she was three years old.

Her stepdad had two daughters and they all soon moved to Perth to live together as a family-of-five.

“He was very much a part of my childhood and raising me. I felt 100% loved and he treated me as his daughter. The relationship he and my mum had was just magical.”

Despite her parents’ split, Carrie’s father is still very much a part of her life.

“I’m really close to my dad. My dad and I, I can’t imagine life without my dad. He worked in radio and he gets the work that I do,” she explained.

Carrie and her mum are incredibly close.

Carrie Bickmore’s early career

Carrie got into broadcasting after meeting with her high school career adviser, informing the teacher: “I like talking and dancing!”

“I danced all of my childhood and I loved dancing, and I still love dancing. I look back now and realise I was never very good! It wasn’t something I wasn’t gifted at in anyway,” she recalled.

But her teacher bluntly told her she would never make it as a dancer so she should pursue a journalism degree instead.

During her uni studies, Carrie started an internship at a Perth radio station. The stars aligned when one morning, the newsreader was too sick to read the bulletin so Carrie was asked to step in.

“On the Monday, they offered me a full-time job!”

In 2001, she moved from Perth to Melbourne to work on the newly-launched radio station Nova.

Comedy gold: The journalist became a household name thanks to her hilarious news bulletins on Rove Live.

Carrie Bickmore’s husband

Carrie and her partner Greg Lange’s world was turned upside down when he was diagnosed with brain cancer in his early 20s.

“They diagnosed him about a year after we moved to Melbourne. I was still 21 or 22 and he was about 25. He had a seizure at home and then one thing led to another,” Carrie explained.

“They diagnosed him with a brain tumour. In your 20s that’s the last thing you can… I didn’t know anyone that had cancer, I didn’t know anything about brain cancer, neither did he. It just completely threw everything we knew, everything we had planned, it threw everything on its head. It was the start of an incredibly hard journey.”

“We got married when I was 25. I look back at our wedding now and it was a real mix of love and a celebration of life. It was a great day.”

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“We didn’t speak about what might happen. We were about hope and positivity. I think sometimes you can be defined by a diagnosis and that’s the wrong way to go. Treatments change, science changes along the way,” she explained.

Carrie and Greg welcomed their son Oliver Lange in 2010.

“One of the things we chose to do was have our son Ollie. I think it’s probably the greatest thing we ever did together. He’s a gorgeous boy and he’s so much like him in so many ways,” a teary Carrie recalled.

“It was a great thing for both of us to have him and that focus.”

Greg tragically passed away in December 2010.

Carrie says having a son with Greg gave them some much needed joy during a very dark chapter.

Carrie Bickmore on The Project

After winning hearts as the satirical newsreader on Rove Live, in 2009 Carrie landed a gig on the 7pm Project, which is now called The Project.

Going into the role, the presenter had very low expectations the series would even survive.

“[After the first episode] The Project finished and Dave Hughes lent back in his chair and said ‘that’s my career done!’ And I remember I was so happy to be sitting in that chair and thinking I’ve got no hope,” she confessed.

“It was almost a blessing cause I had no expectation.”

Fast forward over a decade and the show is still going strong!

“It may not be the perfect job for all the people that have come and gone but for me the mix of chat, news and comedy and laughter – all of that is perfect for me and my skill-set,” she mused of the musical chairs.

Carrie also addressed the fact that you’ll often see her crying on TV and makes no apologies for being genuine.

“As people know with me, I don’t often stay composed. I know people think I cry a lot. I don’t try and cry a lot. I think I just really feel a lot of the stories. I don’t know if that’s because of the stuff I’ve been through, I find it hard sometimes.”

Carrie stayed with The Project for roughly 13 years before calling it quits in late 2022 with an emotional goodbye.

“It’s time for a new challenge. It is time for my next chapter,” Carrie said.

The original Project line-up: Charlie Pickering, Carrie Bickmore and Dave Hughes.

Carrie Bickmore’s Gold Logie win and Beanies 4 Brain Cancer

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when Carrie used her Gold Logie acceptance speech in 2015 to pay tribute to her late husband Greg and raise awareness of brain cancer and her charity, Beanies 4 Brain Cancer.

But the star revealed the iconic Logies’ moment nearly didn’t happen.

“I remember thinking I’d really like to say or do something that represents Greg and he used to wear beanies all the time in Melbourne. I just found this random beanie. And I almost decided I wasn’t going to do it. I get really, really nervous public speaking. I put the beanie back under the table and then I thought… no Carrie, just do it,” Carrie admitted.

In the days following her powerful acceptance speech, famous faces and normal Aussies got on board with the movement and all donned beanies to support the worthy cause.

The reaction is something Carrie is still blown away by to this day.

“He would have loved it, he would have absolutely loved it. It blew me away,” Carrie said.

“I kind of just wish he could have seen all these messages from people to have realised how many people were going through a similar thing and we weren’t alone.”

To this day, Carrie has continued to work hard to ensure no families have to lose their loved ones to brain cancer. Since 2015, Beanies 4 Brain Cancer has raised over $18 million.

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The moment that moved Australia: Carrie Bickmore with her beanie at the 2015 TV WEEK Logie Awards.

“He would have loved it, he would have absolutely loved it. It blew me away,” she says of her charity work.

Carrie Bickmore’s family

After suffering an immeasurable loss, Carrie found love again with producer Chris Walker. In 2015, they welcomed their first child together, a beautiful daughter called Evie.

It was a moment Carrie never imagined happening after losing her late husband.

“I never thought that I would necessarily have any more kids. I had a really, really traumatic birth with Ollie so I had a huge fear about birth.”

“I think I thought I would be OK if I didn’t have any more kids. I just felt so blessed with Ollie and with Evie, it was a really different experience. It wasn’t fun but it wasn’t traumatic. I’m so glad I had her!”

“I see Ollie and her together and it literally makes my heart sing. For him, that he might not have gotten to have a brother or sister and they’re like two peas in a pod. Cause he’s so much older than her, he’s just so protective. She’s going to have that for life, that big brother,” Carrie said.

In 2018, Carrie and Chris had another daughter together called Adelaide.

“Welcome to the world little ADELAIDE (or Addie as your siblings have already started calling you) We are absolutely besotted with you,” Carrie revealed on Instagram.

However, in early 2023 Carrie announced she and Chris would be separating in a post shared to social media.

”Hi there, it’s with immense sadness that Chris and I have decided to seperate. Whilst this is a tough time, our sole focus is on parenting, loving and supporting our three children Ollie, Evie and Addie with everything we’ve got. They are doing great. We won’t be making any further comment.”

Evie and Ollie are Carrie’s pride and joy.

The big reveal! “I usually don’t paint open-mouth smiles but Carrie smiles a lot,” Anh says of his painting. (All Images courtesy of ABC’s Anh’s Brush With Fame)

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