Carrie Bickmore has shocked fans of The Project by announcing she will quit the show after 13 years behind the desk.
In what she described as the “hardest of my professional life“, Bickmore said it was ”time for a new challenge and my next chapter”.
However, there have been signs for months that her time on The Project would soon come to an end.
Ms Bickmore stunned fans when she announced she would depart the show for “a few months” to move to the UK for a ”family adventure”.
“We’ve been wanting to do it for a while but lots of reasons, timing hasn’t been right, but we figure it’s never going to be the perfect time to go and it’s something we really want to do before my son starts his final years at school so we’re doing term two in the UK,“ Bickmore said while making the announcement.
“ … One of the things that my son Ollie said was how much he was going to miss the family time when we were coming out of lockdown, which kind of surprised us because we had a lot of family time!”
“But we thought, gosh, he still wants to spend time with us and while he does he only has a few years left and then he will fly away so we thought we would seize the moment and do it.”
Bickmore took time out of their busy holiday schedule to share moments from the trip, noting how close her family had grown during their time overseas.
“Have loved watching how these three have bonded over the past few months. Depending on the day, their mood, the way the wind blows…”
The family‘s move overseas was prompted by Bickmore’s children telling her that they wanted more family time and that they missed her.
Bickmore has two daughters, Evie, 7, and Adelaide, 3, with partner Chris Walker as well as a son, Oliver, who she had with her late husband Greg Lange.
During her time overseas, Bickmore said that she enjoyed having time with her children.
“Savouring these special days together because back home I normally don’t get to go every school activity/sportscarnival/music performance during the day.”
Bickmore’s comments about her trip away echo how much she was missing out on family time.
“I asked Evie what her favourite thing about the trip was, and it was the same as mine: Picking her up from school every day. It wasn’t being at the Eiffel Tower, it was such a simple thing,” she said after returning home from the three-month trip.
Her teenage son also had similar thoughts about the trip.
“As a family, we’re often (like) ships in the night, and he said ‘I feel like I know my sisters so much better now.’ It’s because we were in this tiny little place, all together, a lot, with no time apart – which comes with tension, but then you break through that.”
That was not the first time that Bickmore was not able to be there for family milestones, after missing her daughter‘s first steps due to the show.
“I wasn’t there. I was at work which is bittersweet, and she hasn’t done it again since which is very annoying because other than the few days I’m at work, I’m at home the whole time!” she said at the time.
Her partner Mr Walker witnessed Adelaide‘s first steps, but was not quick enough to capture the moment on camera, prompting Bickmore to say she was going to “pretend it hasn’t happened”.
Secret tattoo meaning
There were hints of just how much Bickmore was affected by the distance from her family just this week after she made headlines for a new tattoo inspired by her children.
The journalist showed off the two love hearts on her left wrist to viewers, jokingly calling them “badass”.
Bickmore then revealed the sweet nature of the tattoo, saying it was a tribute to her youngest daughter Adelaide.
“You may have seen on my Instagram a few weeks ago when I was away, Chris sent me a video of Addie,” she said.
“She was missing me and she has this little saying. She says to me when she wants me to know that she loves me, this is what she says – ‘Hi mum I love you, heart to heart’.
“And she makes a little heart symbol with her fingers. I can’t have her with me at all times because I’ve got stuff to do.
“So I thought, why not have it with me in spirit and I’ll get two little hearts tattooed on my wrist so I can look down and always think of her saying, ‘I love you mum, heart to heart.”
Selling her home
Tongues were set wagging after Bickmore quietly sold the family home in March before the group set off on their UK “adventure”.
The move to sell the five-bedroom Ivanhoe home set the rumour mill alight as to whether the beloved Project host would actually come home from her family trip abroad.
The home sold on March 3 for an unknown price, with the house selling for $1.6 million in 2013.
Some at the time took it to be a subtle hint that Bickmore would leave The Project behind.