GUY SEBASTIAN, 28
Married for two years
I was raised in an environment where my dad, a geologist, worked for months at a time on oil rigs. It's still that way. Mum, who has English and Scottish blood but was born and raised in India, showed her strength to deal with it all so well. Especially since she had her first [of four boys] when she was only 19 and had to cope with living in a new country – my parents moved to Malaysia after they married. She was also without her own parents, whom she lost in a horrific way when she was 13 or 14. So she was very strong but also very dependent on us boys – almost as much as we were on her. I'm still very close to her.
Some people expect differences to iron out in marriage but you've got to look at that person as they are.
I think Mum has taught me a lot about humility, compassion and love. She loves people and was always cooking for people, inviting them over. Even when I was really young there was this local blind woman who Mum used to invite over and cook for, and another woman we used to house. I've learnt from Mum to tell people how I feel, to encourage and embrace them. Perhaps my music and lyrics are an extension of this, too.
Mum's very physical and I am, as well. I'm grateful for that. As you get older you notice people who are not very affectionate, and I think that almost always flows on to their children. From my experience, I think it's mothers who teach boys to be physically affectionate. If you're a mummy's boy and get affection from your mum, I think you tend to be an affectionate man. And with girls I think it comes from the father. Not that I'm Dr Phil, but I've noticed a lot of girls … Well, I dated two girls who were completely unaffectionate and both of them had the coldest dads.
During my high school years I played in sports teams but I was also a bit of a clown. I used to get in a fair bit of trouble until I started to knuckle down when I realised I needed good marks to go to university. For a time I wasn't really liked by the girls. But, around year 9, when I started playing music and singing in bands, I suppose I had more appeal to girls. I remember I first got a girlfriend who was a couple of years older. I had a huge crush on her and we went out for two weeks before she dumped me. I was devastated.
My wife Jules [Egan] is also a couple of years older than me. We first met when I was 13. We went to the same church group, where we both sang. But at that stage a two-year difference seemed huge. When I was at uni we started to go out and we've been together since, apart from a couple of brief splits. Jules has never had another guy, never held another dude's hand. I'm her first boyfriend, her first crush. So it's pretty special.
We've been together 11 years now, and married in 2008. When I was 21, I was being interviewed and the interviewer said something like, “So, now you're on TV, are you going to root around?” I just said, “Nah, I haven't done that and it's not my plan, either.” Literally, that's all I said. But it became this big thing [in the media]. It's abnormal, I suppose. And so it was tough for Jules and me, it [their virginity] being public knowledge.
Jules and I work well together. She's not an extremely ambitious go-getter where we are constantly clashing with our separate ambitions.
She's a huge support to me and will pick up and go at the drop of a hat. We just moved to LA and she was so happy to do it for me. Obviously, I accommodate any dreams she has and she's starting to come into that now, doing hair, make-up and styling in LA. Most importantly, we're good friends and we never tire of each other's company.
Then there's our history. For me, history is so binding, whether it's your partner or your mates from school. Jules was there for me, loved me, long before I started my public career. She loved me when I was poor, when I had no money to put fuel in my Datsun 120Y. She had no ulterior motive and that's a big part of it to me as well. She has a real generosity of spirit and everyone who meets her is immediately attracted to her qualities.
I think women can help men find their place in the world. But there's no strict formula. What one guy may need, another may despise. Like the affection thing. I think it's the understanding of what your man needs and also loving them for their faults. Especially with marriage. I think some people expect differences to iron out in marriage, but it's not like that. You've got to look at that person as they are and be like, “If she never changes, if he never changes, I'm cool with that.”
Guy Sebastian is one of the judges on The X Factor, which airs tonight and Monday at 7.30pm on Channel Seven.