Celebrity Families

EXCLUSIVE: Michael Clarke opens up about the joy of raising his "sporty princess" daughter, Kelsey Lee, as he champions a cause close to his heart

''It’s nice to see her growing up with that smile on her face.''

By Bella Brennan
Before he retired from professional cricket in 2015, Michael Clarke was considered one of the sports' fiercest leaders - both on and off the field.
But these days, the cricket commentator admits he's a not-so-secret sofite - and it's all thanks to his five-year-old daughter, Kelsey Lee Clarke, who he shares with ex-wife Kyly Clarke.
"She's changed my life in every possible way and for the better. She's softened me a lot," Michael tells Now To Love in an exclusive interview.
"I'm very lucky to have a very well behaved little girl, who loves spending time with both her mum and her dad. I'm very happy with who she is becoming as a young lady as well. She's very respectful and she's got amazing manners," he beams of his only child.
According to the former Australian cricket captain, Kelsey Lee is the perfect combination of both him and Kyly.
"She's a terror like me," he laughs, before revealing: "I think she's got her mother's features, certainly her mother's kind-hearted personality."
"She's very affectionate; she's very soft and kind – so she's got that from her mum. She's very active so she's probably gotten that from her dad."
"She's outside everyday on the trampoline or in the pool so I think she's a sporty princess. She'll wear an Elsa dress with a pair of Nike trainers – that's what her go-to is in her wardrobe," he explains of his daughter.
"I'm a lucky man to have such a beautiful little princess, that's for sure."
"She's changed my life in every possible way and for the better. She's softened me a lot," Michael tells us of his five-year-old daughter, Kelsey Lee Clarke. (Image: Supplied/Wheezo)
Earlier in the month, Michael took to Instagram to document his efforts for Kelsey Lee's fifth birthday celebrations - fashioning together a pony-turned-unicorn for his daughter.
"She was very surprised! We got a number of different animals for her and her cousins [to play with] but the unicorn was certainly the favourite. To my daughter, unicorns are real," he chuckles.
Meanwhile mum Kyly treated her to a VIP shopping spree and another birthday bash.
Making magical memories: "To my daughter, unicorns are real." (Image: Instagram)
"I think both her mother and I spoiled her rotten. But we also believe that special days like your birthday and Christmas are important to celebrate."
"There's a lot of things in life that can bring you down and I think everyone's had a tough year. It was important to recognise it was her birthday and she wanted to be with her friends and family and I wanted her to celebrate."
"She had a great couple of days, it's nice to see her growing up with that smile on her face," he shares of her birthday celebrations.
It's been nearly a year since Michael and Kyly announced their divorce after seven years of marriage and for Michael, he says the key to harmonious co-parenting is all about giving his daughter "as much time as you can."
"I think when you've got a child involved, your kid always comes first. Everything else is second to that," he says of his co-parenting approach with ex-wife Kyly Clarke. (Image: Instagram)
"My little girl just wants time with both her mum and her dad, and that's what we try and manage," the commentator admits of their set-up.
"I think when you've got a child involved, your kid always comes first. Everything else is second to that, so whatever your child needs you find a way to make it work."
"I think both Kyly and I have tried to manage that as well as we can. We both love our daughter to bits and she will continue to be our priority."
Putting Kelsey Lee first is a mantra Michael lives by and indeed the inspiration behind his latest project as he helps launch a revolutionary new asthma management device called Wheezo.
Wheezo is a small hand-held device and app that records and analyses breathing sounds for wheeze, in the same way a doctor uses a stethoscope to listen out for wheezing.
The app also allows users to log other asthma symptoms, triggers, medication usage and environmental data, as well as providing easy access to a user's asthma action plan so it can be shared with your child's school or GP.
His sporty princess! "She'll wear an Elsa dress with a pair of Nike trainers – that's what her go-to is in her wardrobe." (Image: Instagram)
The issue hits incredibly close to home after Kelsey Lee was rushed to hospital in November 2018 when she suddenly had trouble breathing. Soon after, she was diagnosed with asthma.
"I've never had asthma myself and it's the same as her mother. It was a real scare for both of us. We got her there in time," Michael reflects of their terrifying hospital dash.
"For me, it was about learning as much as I possibly could about asthma and trying to find a way to manage it. At this stage, she's still got it and we've got a much better program through Wheezo, which allows us to manage her asthma," he says.
Michael's advice to any other parents who may find themselves in a similar situation, is to never hesitate to call an ambulance.
"If in doubt, call the ambulance and the experts can advise you. In our case it was get her on the puffer quick smart and help her breathe."
As the year draws to a close, Michael is looking forward to spending his first Christmas with his new girlfriend Pip Edwards.
"I'm very happy at the moment," he says with a smile of his new partner.
Michael's latest project with Wheezo hits incredibly close to home as his little girl suffers from asthma. (Image: Instagram)