Today’s Allison Langdon on her Meghan and Harry Comments and Sam Armytage’s views on working mums | Daily Mail Online
Allison Langdon solidified her position as breakfast TV royalty when she stepped up to co-host the Today show with Karl Stefanovic in January last year.
It was a risky decision by Channel Nine after the former partnership of Georgie Gardner and Deborah Knight proved to be a ratings disaster.
Now, more than a year later, the bold move has paid off – with ratings on the rise and Today arguably Australia’s most talked-about breakfast show.
EXCLUSIVE: Today co-anchor Allison Langdon spoke to Daily Mail Australia this week about her whirlwind 15 months hosting Australia’s most talked-about breakfast show
Reflecting on an eventful 15 months, Allison, 41, told Daily Mail Australia she found her job incredibly rewarding but said the constant scrutiny ‘can be tough’.
‘This is the best job in the world. We have to have a thick skin to get through it, and remind yourself of the person you are and that you’re doing a job,’ she said.
Elsewhere in her wide-ranging interview, Ally spoke about her on-set accident in February which saw her sidelined for a month, going viral thanks to her comments about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle – and what it’s really like working with Karl.
On Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s interview with Oprah
Having her say: Earlier this month, Ally’s commentary on Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s no-holds-barred interview with Oprah Winfrey went viral
Earlier this month, Ally’s commentary on Meghan and Harry’s no-holds-barred interview with Oprah Winfrey went viral across the world.
Ally claimed on the Today show that most people could guess which Royal family member allegedly aired concerns over how ‘dark’ the couple’s son, Archie, would be.
‘Without naming any names, if you read between the lines, I think most people are leaning towards a certain royal,’ she said to Karl.
While Ally didn’t reveal the name because it would be ‘incredible defamatory to say so’, her comments became headline news in Britain and US – which took her by surprise.
Remarks: Ally claimed on the Today show that most people could guess which Royal family member allegedly aired concerns over how ‘dark’ the Sussexes’ son, Archie, would be
‘What did I say?’ she laughed.
‘Well, what that says to me, is that we all watched the interview and we all thought to ourselves, “Who is it?” That’s the conversation that was taking place in every household that morning.
‘He’s ruled out the Queen, he’s ruled out Prince Philip… that doesn’t leave too many of them left. If you watch the rest of his interview, I personally was leaning towards a particular person.’
But she acknowledged she could be ‘completely wrong’ about who made the remark, adding: ‘I’d really like to make it clear that I don’t know. It was just a personal thought as to who it may be.
‘It is important to worry about consequences, as we do have a powerful platform and you have to use it very wisely.’
What she REALLY thinks of larrikin co-host Karl
Partners in crime: Ally and Karl were thrown together as Today show hosts last year. He had previously hosted the show from 2005 to 2018
Ally and Karl, 46, were thrown together as Today show hosts in January last year.
He was returning to the role after being axed in 2018 after 14 years. (At the time, Nine executives blamed his personal life – and in particular his lavish wedding to wife Jasmine Yarbrough – for falling ratings, but the slide only accelerated in his absence.)
Naturally, Ally thinks Nine ‘100 per cent’ made the right decision in bringing Karl back, as she praised her co-anchor for helping revive the once-struggling breakfast program.
‘It’s been fantastic,’ she said.
‘He’s one of the best journalists in the country, and he’s got this extraordinary ability to know when to lighten the mood.
‘He typically does it at his own expense, and in that regard he’s quite selfless. I do actually love him.’
Ally said she’s got a list of people she’d like to work with should Karl ever decide to step down, but declined to reveal them because ‘he’s not going anywhere’.
Here to stay: Ally said she’s got a list of people she’d love to work with should Karl ever decide to step down, but declined to reveal them because ‘he’s not going anywhere’
‘It helps that Karl and I have known each other for what feels like forever,’ she added.
‘I don’t like to say nice things about him, but he is so generous as a co-host, and you know he’s never going to let you fail.’
However, there is one negative thing about working with the outspoken personality.
‘When he comes in, you get his stream of consciousness in the morning and everything he’s thinking he says out loud. Sometimes I wish he used his internal voice. It’s a little concerning,’ she said.
Sam Armytage’s views on working mothers
Opinion: Last month, former Sunrise host Sam Armytage (pictured) raised eyebrows when she said married women with children were treated better in the workplace
Last month, former Sunrise host Sam Armytage raised eyebrows when she said married women with children were treated better in the workplace.
The 44-year-old journalist wrote in her column for Stellar magazine that she’d been assigned more work than her female colleagues in the past because she was unmarried and childless.
While some in the television industry agreed with her view, others – including married mother-of-two Ally – did not.
‘She was talking from her perspective, and I totally appreciate that,’ Ally said.
‘As a working mum, when I had (her first child) Mack – and even when I had (daughter) Scout – I was working for 60 Minutes, and my kids came on all the shoots.
‘I didn’t say no to a story or got out of a story because I had kids… I felt differently to her, but I’m in a very different situation to her.’
Divide: While some in the TV industry agreed with Sam’s view, others – including married mother-of-two Ally – did not. Pictured with her son Mack, three, and daughter Scout, two
She went on to say that every woman in the TV industry works ‘as hard as each other’, but says Sam is ‘entitled to her opinion’.
‘From my personal point of view, I would disagree,’ she said.
‘I think we all work as hard as each other, and we work as journalists.
‘It’s one of those jobs where at the drop of a hat we could be anywhere. We all have very understanding families, and it impacts them. This job can be a whole family commitment.’
Sam’s departure from Sunrise
Moving on: Like the rest of Australia, Ally was surprised when Sam announced on March 8 she was departing Sunrise after eight years
Like the rest of Australia, Ally was surprised when Sam announced on March 8 she was departing Sunrise after eight years.
She was broadcasting live on the Today show when the news came through, and couldn’t help but make a cheeky reference to Sam’s exit at the end of the broadcast.
‘Well, for now I’d just like to say I am leaving,’ Ally told Karl, before pausing for dramatic effect and saying: ‘… the studio.’
While some construed her joke as a ‘swipe’ at Sam, who had just delivered a tearful farewell speech, Ally insisted this was not her intention.
‘I greatly, greatly admire Sam – particularly after last year and everything she’s gone through,’ she said, referring to Sam losing her mother, Libby, to an autoimmune disease, and her father, Mac, suffering a stroke.
‘To see her that upset… it was very, very emotional. What was intended as cheeky was never snide or mean,’ she clarified.
New beginnings: Ally added that she thinks Natalie Barr – Sunrise’s long-standing newsreader who replaced Sam – is the perfect person to host the show with David ‘Kochie’ Koch
‘Three-and-a-half hours of television, five days a week. We’re always going to, at times, poorly word something or say something stupid. We’re human, it happens.
‘I hope in the next chapter in Sam’s life that she finds what she’s looking for.’
Ally added that she thinks Natalie Barr – Sunrise’s long-standing newsreader who replaced Sam – is the perfect person to host the show with David ‘Kochie’ Koch.
‘I love Nat,’ she said, noting how Natalie once helped look after her then-two-month-old daughter when they were on a flight together.
‘Across the board you find that most of the women in this industry get along really well,’ she said.
‘That’s typically what you find in this industry.’
Her hydrofoiling accident
Shock: On February 4, Ally suffered a broken leg and dislocated her knee during a hydrofoiling accident while filming a segment for Today on the Gold Coast
On February 4 this year, Ally suffered a broken leg and dislocated her knee during a hydrofoiling accident while filming a segment for Today on the Gold Coast.
Hydrofoiling, also known as foil surfing, is a relatively new watersport. The foil is attached to the bottom of a surfboard and features a wing-like design that helps lift the rider above the water.
After an awkward fall, the presenter was put on her back while wearing a life vest and helmet and dragged back to a wharf by two male rescuers.
On March 8, just over a month after the accident, she made her triumphant return to the Today show, with the help of a wheelchair.
Ally told Daily Mail Australia she would be able to bear weight on her leg in a week’s time, and will have her cast removed in six weeks.
‘I’d like it on the record that I beat Karl. There was a race, and I won,’ she laughed.
Nightmare: Hydrofoiling, also known as foil surfing, is a relatively new watersport. The foil is attached to the bottom of a surfboard and features a wing-like design that helps lift the rider above the water
She’s back! On March 8, just over a month after the accident, she made her triumphant return to the Today show, with the help of a wheelchair
‘I could probably fall off that board 1,000 times again, and wouldn’t be close to falling like that again. I was in shock. I remember screaming,’ she said.
Despite breaking her leg, Ally said there was one positive side to her accident.
‘In a couple of months, I will be walking fine again and the pain will go away,’ she said.
‘It’s given me an appreciation and understanding of what people with chronic pain go through. I don’t know how they do it.’
Family: Ally is married to television executive Michael Willesee Jr. They are parents to son Mack and daughter Scout (all pictured)
Ally is married to television executive Michael Willesee Jr, and together they are parents to son Mack, three, and daughter Scout, two.
She said her husband and children had been ‘beautiful’ at taking care of her since her accident, and also spoke about her surprising family link to a famous rapper.
Ally is actually cousins-in-law with gold-toothed hip-hop star Jesse ‘Sunset’ Willesee, who once made headlines for using his then-wife as a ‘human weed tray’.
It’s a small world! Ally is actually cousins-in-law with gold-toothed rapper Jesse ‘Sunset’ Willesee (right), who once famously used his then-wife as a ‘human weed tray’
Cousins-in-law: Allison is married to TV executive Michael Willesee Jr., who is the son of the late Australian journalist Mike Willesee. Mike’s brother, Terry, is Jesse’s father
Allison’s husband, Michael, is the son of the late Australian journalist Mike Willesee. Mike’s brother, Terry, also a respected journalist and TV presenter, is Jesse’s father.
Confirming the distant family link, Ally laughed: ‘Does this make me cool because I’m related to a rapper?
‘I think Jesse lives in LA now, so I haven’t seen him in a very, very long time. I’d say at least 10 years. He was a kid [when I last saw him] I think…’
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