The notoriously private Aussie actor has opened up about his “difficult” childhood in an emotional interview, admitting he needed a “place to escape”.
Australian actor Simon Baker has opened up about his “difficult” past in an emotional episode of Who Do You Think You Are?.
The notoriously private star – who became a household name thanks to lead roles in The Mentalist and The Guardian – appears in tonight’s season premiere of the hugely popular SBS series, where he admits that he is an “emotional” and “quite sensitive” person.
Baker, 52, was born in Launceston, Tasmania, but later moved as an adult to California, where he stayed for 20 years.
The father-of-three is now back in Australia, and as he told The Guardiandecided now was a “good time” to explore his roots.
“I’ve seen the show before, and people have a really focused idea of what they wanted to get out of it,” he told the publication.
“I didn’t really have that, but it came at a certain point in my life recently where there were a lot of shifts and changes, so it was a good time to take stock.”
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Baker’s father, Barry, was a mechanic and school caretaker, and his mother was a high school English teacher.
According to The Guardiansoon after, moved a young Baker and his sister to New Guinea, which would ultimately mark the end of their marriage.
As he explained in the program: “They went on this incredible adventure – and they didn’t come back together.”
Baker’s mother remarried and while the young boy had contact with his father, he told The Guardian it was in a different context: “I didn’t know he was my dad. He was a family friend, Uncle Barry. I’ve struggled with that.”
The Devil Wears Prada actor opens up further about the “difficult” period in Who Do You Think You Are?describing how the Australian beach culture gave him solace.
“You know, Australian beach culture raised me. It was a small community and back then, it was an idyllic place to live. I felt a really strong sense of belonging in that place, and I still do, you know Bundjalung Country around that area,” he says in the program.
“It was a phenomenal childhood in that regard, but the personal family life was difficult and that’s where I found solace in the neighborhood, in the ocean through surfing. That was a place for me to escape to.”
Baker adds: “If I really got in my head I’d be probably saying, what the hell am I doing here, exposing myself? I’m an emotional person. I’m quite a sensitive person. Like always, I sit in a position and go what the hell did I agree to this for? But I’m here now, so let’s go.”
The new season of Who Do You Think You Are? premieres 7.30pm tonight on SBS.