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Belinda's Music Eased Heartache

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April 01, 2007 12:15pm

Article from: Sunday Mail (SA)

SUFFERING from losing his wife to cancer, funnyman Rove McManus says he spent their second wedding anniversary alone listening to her music on an ipod.

Ahead of his return to television tonight, McManus told the Sunday Mail how a solemn, solitary period in North Queensland helped him to confront a future without his soulmate.

"(Following the funeral) I spent time with my family in Perth and Belinda's family on the Central Coast and, most importantly, by myself," he said.

"I went up north to Queensland for a little bit. It was from that that I started to feel like I turned a corner.

"Before that I was very up and down, depending on the day, or even the hour.

"I purposely made myself go away for late January, which was my birthday and what would have been our (wedding) anniversary.

"I think a lot of people worried about me going away, but I kept saying to them I'd had nothing but support when Belinda passed away in November right through.

"I needed to be by myself and clear my head and take in everything and let everything out."

Tearfully, McManus recalled January 29 this year, the day that would have marked his second wedding anniversary.

"I got up in the morning and went for a walk along the beach listening to Belinda's music; so it was actually quite a beautiful moment," he said.

"It was a hard day but then it was at that point that I really turned a corner where I could think about good times and it didn't make me feel worse because I was thinking about what wasn't there any more.

"I could think about good things and remember good times, and it actually made me feel good."

The normally guarded McManus has always maintained his silence over Emmett's illness and subsequent death despite endless requests for media interviews.

BUT on this occasion the comedian was unusually honest as he detailed the extent and rawness of his grief.

He even apologised, unnecessarily, for his past behaviour, saying it was a result of "dealing with more major concerns in my life".

During the self-imposed exile, McManus said he completed the "bitter-sweet" task of putting the finishing touches on Emmett's long-awaited debut album, due for release in late April.

The first single, So I Am, will be made available to radio stations as oftomorrow. "I know that the most important thing to Bel was to get that out there," he said.

Emmett, 32, best remembered for her role as Rebecca "Nash" Fischer on Home and Away, lost her battle with cancer on November 11, 2006.

It brought to a close her long struggle with the illness that began when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998.

She left Home and Away to concentrate on her health, and following radiotherapy and a lumpectomy to remove a tumour, made a gallant return to television in 2000, starring in the medical drama All Saints.

In 2001, two years after Emmett and McManus met, Emmett was again diagnosed with cancer and she quit the industry.

McManus said he was continually amazed by Emmett's strength and courage.

"She was one of the most courageous people I think anyone would have ever met," he said. "I drew a lot of strength from that."

He said his return to the spotlight was not an attempt to fill the "emptiness" created by Emmett's death.

"Obviously I couldn't just disappear, I would have to do something," he said.

"I would have to work at some point and this is obviously a job I enjoy doing.

"To come back now isn't a distraction from anything else or it isn't in hope of taking my mind off other things.

"It really is something that I feel ready for. It's part of taking that step in moving forward and trying to get back to living the rest of my life."

Despite returning to work with his self-titled variety show, McManus said he would make slow inroads back into the industry. His production company Roving Enterprises had downsized and would concentrate on the Sunday night series for the time being.

McManus will not attend tomorrow's Logie nominations breakfast. He will attend this year's awards ceremony at Melbourne's Crown Casino on May 6, but will not participate in any capacity.

"For the time being I'm simply concentrating on our show," he said.

McManus is expected to be nominated for another prestigious Gold Logie, Australian television's highest honour.

If he wins it will boost his collection to four.

"If the choice had to be made between this (the Logie) and her (Emmett), I would hand back every single Logie," McManus said after winning his second gold Logie in 2002.

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