EXCLUSIVE: Angela Bishop opens up one year after her husband's death

Ten's entertainment editor and Studio 10 co-host Angela Bishop opens up about living a new kind of normal.

By Paul Ewart
She earns a crust hanging out on red carpets all over the world with the biggest stars in Tinseltown. A fixture on our screens for decades, as Ten's entertainment editor, Angela Bishop has interviewed everyone from Nicole Kidman and Oprah, to the late Princess Diana. But the presenter knows more than most that no amount of fame can prevent tragedy from striking.
Still reeling from the death of her husband just over a year ago following a battle with a rare form of cancer, the 51-year-old opens up about the simple tactic that helped both her and her 11-year-old daughter, Amelia, get through the heartache.
"We just talked it out," the TV presenter tells Good Health & Wellbeing. "All the way through Pete's illness and after his death, talking about it is really what you have to do. If Amelia had any questions, I'd answer them. She knows she can talk to me about absolutely anything, and me to her too. It really helped."
A devastated Angela announced the death of her husband – who worked as a mechanic – in November 2017, a year after he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Aged just 54 – and days away from his birthday – Pete passed away with both Angela and Amelia by his side.
Angela with husband Peter Baikie and daughter Amelia in 2015. (Image: Getty Images)
And though Angela has shed many tears in the year since, she's been buoyed by a network of family and friends that has helped get her through the tough time.
"We are fortunate to be surrounded by amazing family and friends," she says. "My mum and sister have been incredible through all of this, as has Pete's sister Wendy and his buddies who have rallied around to help. I think just knowing that you can reach out to people – that you have got people around you that you can depend upon – is very important for mental wellness. You have got to let people help you and I suppose I know that more now than I ever did before."
The entertainment reporter doesn't have a regular meditation practice to help get her through the tough times, instead her solution for both physical and mental wellness is more simple: a hike in the great outdoors.
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"I have absolutely no natural inclination towards fitness at all," she says, matter-of-factly.
"I did ballet as a kid until I was about 16, but I didn't ever think of that as exercise. I kept up dance classes for most of my twenties because I enjoyed it, and I did boxing for a while, which I quite enjoyed, and I had a very brief stint of going to the gym for about six months, maybe 20 years ago.
"Now, my exercise is pretty much just walking. Going on a bush walk is when you have the best conversations. I go hiking with my daughter and we walk and talk. It's so relaxing."
Ten's entertainment reporter is living a new kind of normal. (Image: Instagram @angelabishop10)

Healthy living

While workouts are not a big priority for the star, when it comes to healthy eating she's proficient.
"That comes far more naturally to me," she says. "I absolutely love vegetables and always have. Over the years I have eaten more and more veges and less meat. When my husband was alive, I cooked a lot more meat because he was a meat and two veg man. But now it's just me and Amelia, and our meals are vegetable-heavy. I eat broccoli like there is no tomorrow. I like spinach. The only things that are bad and evil, and must never cross a plate of mine are capsicum and cucumber – they are evil and should never be in food!"
Certainly she's seen the benefits that a change in diet can bring. In 2015, the presenter dropped a whopping 20kg by cutting out caffeine, junk food and bread.
"I had very milky coffees with sugar in them – getting rid of them saved me 300 to 400 calories a day!" she reveals. "The weight started falling off just from that. Then I ditched pasta and put pasta sauce over broccoli or zucchini fettuccine instead.
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"The other thing I had to give up was bread – if I even walk past a Bakers Delight I can put on five kilos!" she jokes. "I don't even have to eat it. Bread and me is a recipe for weight gain, so it had to go.
"After Pete died, I probably ate what made me feel happy for a while, but I'm pretty much back on track now. I feel so much better and have so much more energy."
And while some people might imagine that rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous would be enough to give you a complex, Angela says that rather than subjecting herself to scrutiny and comparison with these celebrities, she looks on them with admiration.
"I have never really compared," she admits. "I've always more admired. I see these people up close and they look incredible, but they're almost otherworldly with their beauty. I just think, 'They look amazing – good on them'."
Angela is no stranger to rubbing shoulders with Hollywood royalty. (Image: Instagram @angelabishop10)

Two worlds

Balancing demanding roles both as a reporter for Eyewitness News, and as a co-host on Studio 10, Angela is often required to fly around the world with little notice. A juggle in itself, but throw in the fact that she's a newly solo mum too, and making these two worlds gel is a feat and a half. Thankfully, she's learned to cut herself a bit of slack.
"Some days I get home and dinner is on the table, Amelia is showered, the homework is done and I go, 'Wow, I absolutely nailed it today!'" she says. "Other days are a complete disaster and I think I'm an absolute failure. I've learned that the key is to try not to beat myself up about it because those days happen every now and then, and there's not much you can do about them.
"It is harder now. With Pete not here, I have to be both the good cop and the bad cop. I have got to be kind of strict to make sure things happen, but also the fun parent, because there's just me now, so I kind of have a split personality. But it is really important to just kick back and have fun and break the rules sometimes.
"It is really important to just kick back and have fun and break the rules sometimes." (Image: Instagram @angelabishop10)
"Amelia and I write little notes of thanks and gratitude to one another. She has a new label maker, so everything I own – my iPad, my diary, my sunglasses case – is now labelled with 'Best mummy in the world'. And I will leave her notes and things on the bed. I feel blessed every day that we have her."
Another blessing in Angela's life is her work family. This year marks 30 years of working at Channel 10 – a feat in the notoriously fickle and cut-throat world of TV.
"Without being up myself – as we used to say at school! – I am just a little bit proud," admits the veteran entertainment reporter, smiling.
"The job has changed so much over the last 30 years, and I feel grateful that I've been able to grow in a role that has let me branch off into other areas, both in entertainment journalism and now co-hosting Studio 10. Also, through everything that happened with Pete, work was so good to me. I feel like they're an extended family, because I've been there for more than half of my life."
Angela's Studio 10 family have been there for her through the good and bad times. (Image: Instagram @angelabishop10)

Finding joy

Speaking of milestones, Angela celebrated the big 5-0 last year, but entering her sixth decade hasn't phased the go-getter.
"Wisdom, hopefully," she says of the pluses that come with getting older. "A bit more perspective. You can deal with the bumps in the road a bit better, and you tend not to sweat the small stuff as much I suppose. Also, knowing what I know now, I am never going to be unhappy about turning another year older.
"I lost my father to a very rare cancer, so I think I was aware but certainly it's probably something I'm even more conscious of now," she says, tearfully. "So I am very mindful of making every day count and making every moment count, and to embrace any opportunities that I have."
Angela is mindful of making every day count and every moment count. (Image: Instagram @angelabishop10)
Already a long-time ambassador for the Breast Cancer Foundation, Angela is determined to use her voice to help raise funds for Rare Cancers Australia. On the anniversary of Pete's passing in November she held a charity motorbike ride to both celebrate his life and to raise money for the charity.
"We are so fortunate in so many ways that I like to help whenever I can," she says. "There are a lot of people out there who have rare cancers who don't have a support group, which you get with other types of cancers. This is so important. And to be doing something for others, you help yourself too – certainly it has helped us heal."

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