Todd McKenney’s candour leaves family reeling

Todd McKenney's candour leaves family reeling


McKenney ripped the bandages off 34-year-old wounds in a matter of seconds, revealing to Melbourne’s gay community radio station Joy94.9FM that he had been Simon Gallaher’s lover for five years, only to discover via a newspaper headline that Gallaher had taken up with his sister, Lisa.

“She is still married to my ex-boyfriend but just has never mentioned it to me. It’s weird, isn’t it? I think this is the first time I have ever talked about it publicly,” McKenney said in an interview that went to air.

A young Simon Gallaher in his performing days.

A young Simon Gallaher in his performing days.

Photo: Fairfax Media

“I went out with Simon for five years. It wasn’t a weekend fling at the drive-in. We split up and I went on with my life and he went on with his.”

He said he rarely spoke to his sister and that he was “fine with it”. But following the interview it was clear that the Gallahers were not.

Simon Gallaher called McKenney a “headline whore”; his wife, Lisa, called her brother a “douche bag”.

Simon Gallaher and his wife, Lisa, who is Todd McKenney's sister.

Simon Gallaher and his wife, Lisa, who is Todd McKenney’s sister.

Photo: Facebook

Simon declined to say more when PS made contact this week, except that it was “time to move on”. His wife told friends: “We all have to just duck the fallout now.”

McKenney has previously spoken about close relationships with some of his family, mainly his mother, Pat Norton, and niece and nephews, the children of Simon and Lisa.

Several years ago he told Sunday Life magazine, published by Fairfax Media, that his mum was one of the greatest influences on his life, having raised he and his sister as a single mother since their childhood.

She always supported McKenney’s sexuality, even as a teenager, inviting her 19-year-old son to have his then boyfriend, Mark, stay at the family home. She moved out of her bed for the young couple and slept on a single mattress during his visit.


McKenney did not respond to PS’ calls as the story gathered momentum this week and has remained silent. Nor has he sought to withdraw his comments from JoyFM94.9. However, his niece Gigi Gallaher wrote a stinging missive to the radio station that broadcast the interview.

She asked why interviewer Benjamin Norris allowed her father to be “outed” on air, adding that while she knew of her uncle and father’s relationship, other family members, including her brothers, would find the revelations difficult to deal with. She also said “outing” her father was “wrong”.

Norris defended the broadcast to PS, admitting he was equally gobsmacked by McKenney’s revelations but that it was up to McKenney to determine what he wanted to share in the interview, as it was with all his guests.

“We are an LGBTI community radio station. Naturally my subjects are asked about issues which are relevant to our listeners, especially around their sexuality and how that has impacted their careers and lives,” Norris told PS. “Todd knew exactly what he was doing. It was his relationship too.”

McKenney certainly did know what he was doing, telling Norris he had given him a “scoop” that he would be “reading about everywhere”.

And while his predictions proved correct, it is unclear whether he foresaw the cost to his own family.

Down(town) but not out

They build those Packer women tough. Francesca Packer Barham, the oldest granddaughter of the late Kerry Packer and an heir to her mother Gretel’s billion-dollar-plus fortune, was not going to let a quad bike accident dampen her retail enthusiasm this week.

PS hears the 23-year-old had a very bad fall off the four-wheeler over a month ago during a wild ride around the country estate, Ellerston, in the Hunter Valley.

Francesca Packer Barham is the oldest granddaughter of the late Kerry Packer

Francesca Packer Barham is the oldest granddaughter of the late Kerry Packer

Photo: Lidia Nikonova

Battered and bruised, she has had to delay her return to London by several weeks, though this week was spotted hitting the shops and making the most of the disability parking spots she has been using thanks to the mobility pass on her windscreen.

Balinese princess weds in Tuscany

Lindy Klim, the former wife of swimmer Michael Klim, Sydney fashionista and Balinese princess (her father’s uncle is the King of Denpasar), married again on Thursday, this time to English property developer Adam Ellis.

He is the father of her youngest of four children, daughter Goldie, who is seven months. The couple tied the knot at Conti Di San Bonifacio in Tuscany in a small ceremony with 80 friends and family in attendance.

Close friend and designer Toni Maticevski created her custom-made gown and the family is due back in Bali next week where they have made their home.

Crime watch for ‘tasteless idiot’

A crime was committed in the Dover Heights streets around John Ibrahim’s residence this week, but it was a crime against fashion and the police missed the culprit: Kyle Sandilands.

The country’s oldest teenage delinquent, Sandilands ended up in the middle of a media scrum as he arrived at Ibrahim’s cliff-top mansion on Tuesday, explaining to reporters that he was there to collect “Versace jackets” which Ibrahim had for him.

Kyle Sandilands arrives at John Ibrahim's house during a police operation on Tuesday.

Kyle Sandilands arrives at John Ibrahim’s house during a police operation on Tuesday.

Photo: AAP

Ibrahim explained to PS: “I was given two Versace hoodies, large and extra large, with a huge Versace gold logo on the back. Something only a tasteless idiot would wear!

“I had promised Kyle he could have them. Unfortunately for him, in all the confusion, I had forgotten he was on his way to pick them up and, to be honest, I thought it would be pretty funny to see what would happen.”

Police served Ibrahim with a firearm prohibition order, which gave officers the power to search his home. They spent five hours at the property.

No guns were found, but in a statement, police said they had located $65,000 in cash and a small bag of white powder alleged to be cocaine. There have been no reports on the whereabouts of the suspect hoodies, however.

Hush, hush: it’s all good

After six years at the helm of Harper’s Bazaar Australia, Kellie Hush dropped a bombshell on the fashion and publishing world on Friday, revealing to PS that she was quitting.

Outgoing Harpers Bazaar Australia editor-in-chief Kellie Hush.

Outgoing Harpers Bazaar Australia editor-in-chief Kellie Hush.

Photo: Georges Antoni

Hush told PS: “Why would I leave such an amazing job? A job that no one leaves unless they’re sacked? I truly feel I’ve done the job and done it well. For six years I’ve edited a successful magazine, a magazine that is still successful, in what can only be described as a bloody tough market.

“The industry will continue to change as magazine publishers continue to search for a viable business model, and a lot of that change comes in the form of budget cuts.

Bazaar is a luxury magazine that can’t be published on the smell of an oily rag, so I’d like to finish my tenure while that rag still smells like Chanel No. 5.”

Hush’s departure comes as rumours swirl that parent company Bauer Media has plans to create a “hub” within its Park Street offices which would result in a merger of the teams producing Harper’s Bazaar and sister magazine Elle to create greater cost efficiencies.

As for Hush, she told PS she had secured a cashed-up backer and was launching into the fast fashion arena, realising a long-held dream to try her hand at doing what she has documented for many  years through the pages of her magazine.

PR expert is toast(ie) of the town

Unlike her present-day counterparts in public relations, Marguerite Julian’s face is not one that many people beyond the media and PR spheres would recognise.

Marguerite Julian.

Marguerite Julian.

Photo: Helen Nezdropa

But if you grew up in the 1970s and ’80s and had a Breville sandwich maker in your kitchen, you can thank her for revolutionising the Aussie “snack”.

It was Julian who launched the kitchen appliance. Even Margaret Fulton and Bernard King had one of the shiny sandwich makers in their bags.

“Giving product away to people who had influence was the perfect way to launch it … it was a huge hit,” Julian told PS this week.

Last Friday night at the Australian Museum’s fabulous Long Gallery, Julian received a standing ovation for a five-decade career in the black arts of “buzz” generation.

“I honestly thought when I left school I’d get married and play tennis for the rest of my life,” Julian told PS.

Instead she embarked on a career during which she floundered in the “typing pool” of the Foreign Affairs ministry in Canberra but shone over gin and tonics with former prime minister John Gorton “at 11am … it was only years later I realised drinking at that time was not really how things were done”.

A gift of the gab and an endearing honesty won Julian many friends in a ruthless business. She was pivotal in getting Australian Fashion Week off the ground, re-mortgaging her house to do so. She was there when the infamous Cointreau Ball was born and she’s launched everything from wine to corrugated iron.

Over the years, she worked with and nurtured some great PR talent in Australia, from fashion impresario Simon Lock to Australian Museum boss Kim McKay.

Her former business partner Deeta Colvin, who masterminded the Cointreau Ball, credits Julian’s gift of making people like her for her success.

“In the 1980s, I had all these French luxury brands but I really wanted the Dior account. I pulled a few strings and got a meeting in Paris at Maxime’s with the CEO. The C-E-O! It was a coup, and Marguerite and I jumped on the first plane to Paris,” she said.

“We knew we had to make an impression, so it was big glamour, big heels, hair … the works. The CEO arrived, and of course, he was immaculate. As we settled into the booth trying to win him over, I suddenly heard this rustling. I looked over to see Marguerite pull out an old plastic supermarket bag she must have smuggled in. The CEO wasn’t impressed, and I was mortified!

“We didn’t get the Dior account. But I couldn’t be angry with her because it was just so bloody funny – we laughed about it for years later. That’s Margeurite’s charm, everyone loves her.”


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