‘It’s a bit embarrassing to have been married’ [and divorced] twice’

i had a girlfriend in the US that I met on one of my overseas trips, but that didn’t last long. In my senior year I also had a passionate relationship with someone who was not in my class. But I didn’t develop a good relationship until I was 21 or 22. After graduating, I felt more sexually confident and had more mature relationships.

I came to Australia when I was 25 to continue my education in pediatrics. In 1982 I became a health reporter for the ABC, and when I was the general manager of Radio National I hired Geraldine Doogue, one of my best friends. She doesn’t change her behavior when she’s in the air, which is her greatest strength.

I met my first wife, Lee Sutton, a fellow pediatric registrar, about an incubator in a premature baby ward at what was then called the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children in Sydney. She was genuine and honest and we shared the same interests. I realized she would be a wonderful mother, which she has been to our children Anna, Georgia and Jonathan.

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It’s a bit embarrassing have been married [and divorced] twice. I’ve heard men complain about the women in their lives as the reason they’ve been married more than once, when 50 percent or more of the reason is us, the men.

In my latest book, So you want to live younger for longer?, I write about the stigma of aging for women. I think men feel it too. I’m not criticizing plastic surgery or people with money who want to tinker with their looks, but I do think that we as a community are much less nice to women in terms of looks and how they age.

Both of my grandmothers took great care in the way they looked until the day they died. But when I talk to women about it, they say they actually do it for other women. It is the same with clothing and makeup. They don’t have the slightest interest in what men think about them. It’s what other women think of them; that’s who they dress for.

So you want to live younger for longer? (Hachette) by Dr. Norman Swan is out now.

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