He plays a devoted father on TV’s House Husbands but in real life, even Gary doesn’t rate his dad skills highly.
Johanna Griggs has always resisted criticising larrikin ex-husband Gary Sweet, who left her to raise their sons as a single mum when she was just 24. But in an extraordinary move, she has made a rare public statement about Gary, revealing their two boys, Jesse James, 17, and Joe Buster, 16, have largely grown up without his presence.
“He’s in Melbourne. But even when he lived in Sydney he didn’t [see them much],” the House Rules host tells the Herald Sun. “It’s always been like that, so I don’t think they’re suffering any great angst. When they do see Gary they have a great time. He’s the fun bags.” Veteran actor Gary doesn’t dispute that, admitting last week he “blew” his chance at being a good dad to his children – including Frank and Sophie, from an earlier marriage.
Now a family friend has joined the feud, telling Woman’s Day exclusively that Joh was being kind. “Gary has just never grown up,” says the friend. “From when he left the marriage and the boys were tiny, he didn’t look back, just charged back into single life with relish – while Joh was left literally holding the babies.
“So there’s no bond to start with – and then if you’re not visiting regularly, making phone calls every week, remembering birthdays, and making an effort at Christmas, it’s harder because you get left behind. “Even when Gary was working in the same city, he wouldn’t see the boys for months at a time. One year, when the boys were teenagers, he didn’t get around to seeing one of them at all. Not once – even though he was living and working in the same city!”
Read more including what Gary says about his own parenting in this week's Woman’s Day on sale Monday May 20, 2013.