He has written songs that he later found too heartbreaking to sing, has a reputation for fighting and needs a nose job. Michael Buble opens up to Shelly Horton.
Michael Buble's eyebrows shoot up when I make my confession: "I hate your song Everything. Hate it!"
A smile curls at the side of his mouth, "Let me guess, is it because of a break-up?"
"Yeessss," I wail. "My ex-boyfriend promised it would be our wedding song and then he dumped me."
We're sitting in a boathouse in Vancouver in between shoots for the coming Foxtel special Michael Buble's Canada but he ignores the bustle around him and leans over and takes my hand sympathetically.
"Can you imagine what it was like for me? I wrote it for Emily, right?"
He's talking about his girlfriend of three years, English actress Emily Blunt, whom he met in Australia at the 2005 Logies and who broke up with him in July last year. It hit him hard.
"I can sing [Everything] because I'm OK now. But straight after, well, I didn't want to listen to music. Forget about my music. I couldn't do anything. The only good thing I did do was I went and got a therapist."
Looking in his eyes you can see he's remembering the pain. Sure he's healed but also learnt hard lessons.
"I felt bad for everybody involved," he says. "It's definitely worse cause it's all done publicly. You go to the grocery store and it's in every magazine. It's the same thing that's happened in my other break-ups. It's always tough. You grow attached to someone and they become your best friend.
"You lose a friend – that's one of
the most difficult parts. I'm a sentimental person."
The family side was also difficult. Buble's mother once told the press that if the pair ever broke up, she'd choose Emily. A month later they split.
"But at the same time it also inspires me to write. It's no different than the regrowth of a forest. Something has to die to regain life again."
And come to life again he has. Buble is on a high. He has a new girlfriend, a new album and a new role as Foxtel's ambassador to the Vancouver Olympics.
He's understandably coy about revealing too much about the new woman in his life, Argentinian actress Luisana Lopilato.
"I'll talk as candidly as possible about my feelings but when it gets into personal stuff I think Emily and I learned a heck of a lot when we were together," he says.
"One of the biggest things we learnt was when you speak publicly about your relationship and ... you share, there becomes a greater expectation for you to share more and more. You start to lose these things that are special."
It all added to the pressure of the relationship, he admits.
"All relationships are difficult – I don't care who you are but there are ways to ease the difficulty of it," he says. "But I'm always nice about it. I never want to be one of those people who says, 'Don't ask me this.' This is part of my life. My style is romantic, so I understand."
There are rumours he has paid for a language coach because Lopilato couldn't even speak English when they met, that she's moving to Vancouver soon and that they are planning a December wedding. Buble won't confirm or deny but just listen to the song Haven't Met You Yet, which he wrote for her and the answers tumble out.
"I wrote it because I had met this girl and there was nothing solid about anything of it," he says.
"She didn't speak English. She had just been in a relationship that was very public for her and so had I. There was every reason to not try to get into this predicament of a relationship, yet I did and it was weird. The song came from that – it was inspired by meeting her."
The song is bound to become an anthem for singles across the globe.
"You live on your potential as a single person – it keeps you sane," he says. "I'm not saying that you can't be alone and be happy but there's this great way to keep your sanity where it's like you know [a new relationship] it's going to happen – you just haven't met them yet."
Buble says he was trying to capture the moment of knowing that the next time would be better because of the personal experience.
"You tell yourself, 'When I meet them it's going to be even better than now because I'm going to be a better person this time, as I've learnt more.'
"I'm a really sentimental person so when I wrote those words, these are things that I say. Part of the song where I say, 'I promise you kid I'll give so much more than I get.' That's how I speak to my girlfriend – I call her kid."
You can tell Buble is torn between wanting to shout his love from the rooftops and keep Lopilato all to himself. But if he wanted it to be super-private, she probably shouldn't have starred in the music video of Haven't Met You Yet.
What will happen if they do get married and live happily ever after and he doesn't have bad break-ups to use as fodder for his music?
"Ah, yes. There will be no more songs of heartbreak," he laughed. "Just the kids, records!" He then breaks into a riff in a child's voice, singing: "I like to eat. I like to eat."
Then he gets more serious and leans over: "You know what? I don't think I'll ever lose my edge and my fascination with relationships – the more that I learn, the less I know."
That's part of Buble's charm. He's funny and self-deprecating but when it gets to the serious stuff, he has a kind, open heart.
He also surrounds himself with good people. Keeping him down to earth is the heavily tattooed and effortlessly cool Tasmanian Holly Russell, who is his stylist and personal assistant. She was offered a four-week styling gig with Buble 18 months ago – and never left.
"I thought, 'Why not?"' she says. "Within five minutes of meeting each other, we knew we'd be working together for a long time. We have a beautiful friendship."
Russell does everything for Buble but her most important role is companionship. "A lot of the time we're in countries where we don't know anyone, so we just hang out. We have nice dinners and chat, and play Wii and ping pong."
She reveals that Buble is into the game Crib, although, "I'm the champion at the moment," she says.
Russell says she often has to pinch herself to confirm her life is real.
"I look at my life now touring the world – and for my mum and dad it's the biggest thing ever. But I wouldn't do it if it wasn't for Michael, he's the most gracious and sincere man. We're so close, it's almost like a marriage."
On cue Buble comes over and puts Russell in a headlock and ruffles her hair. She looks bored and swats him away. Then calls him back for a make-up touch-up. The day before the Foxtel shoot Buble broke his nose playing his other big love, ice-hockey.
"I have a tonne of make-up covering the bruise on my nose. I was playing hockey with my buddies and got checked against the boards. I wear a shield that covers half my face but the stick got underneath that and broke it.
"Hurts like hell but I don't want to take drugs because I don't want to be spacey for the filming today. It's the fourth time that it's happened. I broke it the other times fighting."
In one fight, he was punched on the septum – the cartilage between the nostrils – which affected his singing. "I have to do push-ups before I sing so it clears me up.
"I should have surgery but I don't have time," he sighs.
"What can I do – cancel going to Australia so I can have my nose done? Imagine the headlines: 'Vain Buble cancels on fans to have a nose job.' It'll have to wait."
Buble has a great relationship with the Australian media and says Rove McManus gave him his first break on TV; Alan Jones supported him before his records were popular. But when The Daily Telegraph printed a gossip piece alleging he was drunk on stage, he saw red.
"Out of everything that's ever been written about me, that made me the angriest. It's one of the few times I called my lawyer. I wanted to sue them. Firstly it was a complete lie and secondly I'm an idiot who doesn't take himself too seriously but I would never have as much disrespect for my audience to drink or be intoxicated before a show."
He takes his profession seriously but certainly doesn't take himself seriously and has been known to look up his own name in Google.
"I type in 'I hate Michael Buble' and 'Buble is ugly' – that's my personality. I get a kick out of it," he says.
"I know there's a 700-pound man sitting behind the computer writing this stuff. It's fun. It makes me laugh."
Another side to his personality is crazy sports nut – he's the co-owner of the Vancouver Giants ice-hockey team and has also just bought a golf course. So he's excited about being Foxtel's official Vancouver Olympic Winter Games ambassador.
"Aussies have been so good to me, I want to give a bit back. I'll show you my Canada – all the best bits," he says, laughing. "Australians and Canadians are pretty similar. Only thing is you guys surf and we ski."
He's amused by my theory that Canadians have a "go for bronze" attitude – they are too polite to snatch gold.
"I'll give you Canada in a nutshell. We don't want to spend the money to help our athletes train. We don't really care. But when the Olympics come and we only win six medals we will lose our shit.
"We will complain and you'll hear us on the radio and the TV, and I promise you none of us will do anything about it. Then we'll forget about it for 3 years again and then we'll start saying, 'Why did Uruguay win so many more than we did?"'
Michael Buble's Canada will air on Foxtel early in the new year. Buble will be in Australia on November 19.