My mum, Georgia, was 19 when she met my dad, Mike. He was 21 and singing in a folk band with two female musicians. According to Dad, he saw her at a show and she came over and introduced herself. I tend to believe Mum, who said he was talking to another girl at the time. I can't imagine her walking over to a guy – it's not her thing! Dad took her to the debutante ball, then they got married and went to London for a few years before coming back to Perth to have me.

My first girlfriend broke my heart. You know its deep when you start to cry at Telstra ads.

Photo: Eddie Jim

Mum and Dad bought the house next door to my paternal grandparents, Eileen and Gary. They knocked down the fence between the two places and we were only separated by lawn. It was a nice security to have, growing up. If I fell over, my grandmother was right there to help me with a scraped knee.

My mum loved reading to me and my brother, Drew, at bedtime when we were children. She got me into the idea of stories and fantasy and I blame her for becoming an actor.

Mum was a constant presence. At school, she helped with everything from lamington drives to the tuck shop and uniform exchanges – she made me and my brother the focus of her life.

Dad went to the seminary for three years before he met mum. He was going to become a Catholic priest but discovered girls. I was an altar boy and grew up going to church but don't consider myself religious any more. Dad kept his religion but had a problem with the Church, more so than God, later in life. Mum wasn't fussed either way.


Dad died four years ago. He was diagnosed with a brain tumour and was gone within a year. It was a scramble to get his affairs in place so Mum would be okay without him.

I remember asking Mum what she wanted from life now that Dad was gone and my brother and I had left home. It's tough for women of her generation to readjust to life alone. In the past, nobody ever really asked them what they wanted.

My paternal grandma, Eileen, was the gentlest soul. She was the matriarch, organised the family and kept everyone together without raising her voice. She was a classic knitter and baker and beamed love.

My maternal grandma, Patricia, loved smoking, drinking Scotch and being cheeky. She was more scandalous. She died from cancer quite young and didn't babysit often.

My celebrity crush was on Wendy James, the lead singer of Transvision Vamp. I cut out her poster from TV Week and stuck it on my wall. She was a bit punk and rock'n'roll, with spiky hair and a tutu.

When I told Mum I wanted to be an actor, it didn't sit easy with her until I got my first pay cheque. She just wanted me to be safe. It was so foreign to her. She never said don't do it, but it did stump her

My first proper girlfriend was also the one who broke my heart – you know it's deep when you start to cry at Telstra ads. I was 23 and we were together for a year. We met in Sydney and then I moved back to Perth and we broke up. I was miserable for ages but that propelled me to get an agent, get a job and start being serious as an actor. We got back together for a little while and then broke up again.

I had a great relationship with actress Tory Mussett for seven years during our late 20s and early 30s. But for one reason or another, we weren't meant to be together.

I dated comedian Celia Pacquola from 2008 to 2013. Distance was the tyranny for us. She was back and forth to London a lot and it became too hard. She did use our relationship in her stand-up material, which had me white-knuckling with nerves!

Now I am with my life partner, Michala Banas, and that's it for us. We first met 15 years ago when I was dating someone else and have been together as a couple for 2½ years. She is also an actress.

I am certain we will marry. Michala has never said, "Let's get married", but I have. I am finally at a point in my life where I think maybe Mum was right – that being married with kids is where I'm supposed to end up.

Michala is the first woman I've been in love with who has been a proper partner in every sense of the word. We can lean on each other and I've never leaned on people before because I thought it would put too much strain on the relationship. Michala taught me that trust makes a couple stronger.

Toby Truslove is appearing in Bliss at Sydney's Belvoir Theatre until July 15.

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