Melissa George, I regret that interview and I'm sorry you're still being punished for it


Melissa George, I regret that interview and I'm sorry you're still being punished for it
  1. Melissa George, I regret that interview and I'm sorry you're still being punished for it
    theage.com.au
    I was the journalist interviewing Melissa George and at the time all I cared about was the story. Not…
    Football

When I took a call from Melissa George at my desk almost five years ago for what was supposed to be a fairly routine interview, neither of us realised how damaging it would be for the way she'd be perceived in Australia ever since. 

That interview, to promote the show Hunted for the Sun-Herald's television magazine, yielded the now infamous quote: "I'd rather be having a croissant and a little espresso in Paris or walking my French bulldog in New York City."

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The former Home and Away star spoke on Seven's Sunday Night program about the violent end to her relationship with former husband Jean David Blanc. Vision: Channel Seven

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Melissa George's Parisian nightmare

The former Home and Away star spoke on Seven's Sunday Night program about the violent end to her relationship with former husband Jean David Blanc. Vision: Channel Seven

The backlash was swift and vicious  -  and has come back to haunt her now, right at the time she is pleading with her country for help. As George detailed to Channel Seven's Sunday Night, she is trapped in the middle of a marital and custodial hell. She alleged her French husband Jean-David Blanc struck her in the face and then pushed her into a wall leaving her bruised and bloodied. She cannot leave France with her two children without the written permission of Blanc. 

And now, I've been horrified to see that many Australians have been quick to throw her words from that interview right back in her face. "Suck it up princess," said one commentator, echoing scores of others who suggested she deserves no sympathy for turning her back on Australia. 

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The words that particularly rankled readers – then and now – was George saying: "I don't need credibility from my country any more, I just need them all to be quiet. If they have nothing intelligent to say, please don't speak to me anymore. I'd rather be having a croissant and a little espresso in Paris or walking my French bulldog in New York City."

So how did it all unfold? My phone interview with George came moments after she had exited a scheduled appearance on Network Seven and I remember expecting a hum-drum interview, then being surprised and I'm ashamed to admit, almost delighted, when she had an unexpected dummy spit.

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She had actually kept her cool on the Seven show as Larry Emdur and Kylie Gillies flashed back to her Angel days on Home and Away, but as I was the next journalist in line, she was clearly keen to vent her frustration about it to someone. It probably didn't help, either, that about five minutes into our chat, I too was asking her about the Angel role, which had made her a household name. 

If I'm honest, at the time, her reaction felt comical. In many ways, as journalists are trained to do, I egged her on with further questions, not quite believing the unedited verbal spray she was having at the other end. As someone who has interviewed countless local…

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