Gossip: Zac opens up about alcohol struggle

Last updated 15:51 28/04/2014
Zac Guildford
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RECOVERING: Zac Guildford has opened up about his battle with alcohol.

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High-profile mothers talk with their daughters in the latest gossip mags, while one well-known rugby-playing son talks with his mum and about his battle with alcohol.

On the international stage, Russell Crowe may have won his wife back, while Jennifer Aniston comes to the aid of former love rival Gwyneth Paltrow.

In a touching interview in Woman's Day, rugby star Zac Guilford talks about admitting he was an alcoholic, his father's death and his close relationship with mum Deb.

Guildford, 25, scored two tries as New Zealand won the final of the world under-20 rugby contest in Tokyo in June 2009. The day turned to tragedy as Guildford's father, Robert, 44, suffered a fatal heart attack in the stands.

Guildford ran from the field to support his mum, as paramedics struggled unsuccessfully to revive his father.

He stayed at his dad's side in a hospital morgue later that day.

"I never got to say goodbye, so that day I sat with him and just talked," Guildford said.

"I told him one day I would make him proud and wear the All Black jersey for him."

By the end of that year, Guildford was an All Black at just 20, but he was also dealing with the anger of having his father taken from him so suddenly.

In November 2011, he reportedly walked naked into Trader Jacks bar in Rarotonga and scrapped with another patron.

"The worst bit was knowing I let mum down and let myself down. I knew after that I needed help," Guildford told Woman's Day.

"I don't like using dad's death as an excuse for my drinking because it isn't. By the time I was playing first XV rugby for Napier Boys' High, I was binge-drinking - it was part of the culture.

"But after dad died, I was really angry. Drinking took away the pain, just for a bit."

Guildford said he felt responsible for his mum and younger brother Victor.

"I would go out with my mates for a feed on a Wednesday night and when I got home, I would often hear mum in bed, crying," he said.

"I really felt for her. I would lie on the bed and just try to be there for her."

Guildford will leave New Zealand in August to play rugby in France.

"Leaving mum will be hard - especially the home cooking," he said, laughing.

"But she's in a better place now. A year or two ago, I couldn't have left her."

Deb, 49, who has a new partner, said she would miss Zac but the chance to play in France was a great opportunity, and it would be selfish of her to try to keep him in this country.

The mags also have feature stories about netballer Irene van Dyk and her daughter, Bianca, and radio host Polly Gillespie and her daughter, Katherine.

"She's my buddy," Irene, 41, said of Bianca, 16.

"I can tell her anything, we talk about everything and we spend as much time together as we can," she told New Zealand Woman's Weekly.

Bianca said: "Most of my friends hate spending time with their mums, but we're besties."

While she may have a particularly close relationship with her mother, that does not seem to include playing the same sport any more.

Bianca is just 1 centimetre shorter than her 1.9-metre tall mother, but netball is no longer her sport of choice.

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It has been replaced by rowing, with Bianca this year making the under-18 North Island rowing squad.

"No-one can question why I'm there. No-one can say, 'Oh, you're only in the team because your mum's Irene van Dyk', like people used to," she said.

Polly Gillespie, who hosts the breakfast show of rebranded radio station The Hits with husband Grant

Kereama, told Woman's Day about the close relationship she shares with her mum, Thelma, and 19-year-old daughter Katherine Kereama.

"Being a mum's the only thing you have to do right. You can screw up your job, your relationships and your marriage, but none of that's terminal," Polly said.

She also talked about the sadness of losing her older sister, Jeanette, who died in her early 30s from a severe case of the flu virus.

"Like sisters do, we went through a stage as teens when we hated each other. I reckon it was my fault because I was ... well, I was basically a dick, and she was so wise and intelligent," Polly said.

"Then in Hawaii [at university together], we got on really well. We'd have the wildest times. I do miss her so much.

"But, like mum, I put my feelings in a box and try to move on with life because you just can't carry on with that kind of sadness and all-encompassing grief following you around."

She may be a well-known figure constantly in the public eye, but Polly seems to have managed to keep her age a secret.

"I don't like talking about my age and I get that from my mother," she said.

"My mother doesn't have an age; I don't have an age - we are ageless. I don't see why someone should be defined by their age or their size, for that matter.

"I'm more than a number - I'm a mother, a wife, a radio host, a writer and I'm a best friend."

Looking offshore, New Idea reported Crowe's friends were saying the actor may have won back his estranged wife, Danielle Spencer.

"He's done a lot of soul-searching since they split, and he is 100 per cent convinced she's the love of his life and they belong together," an insider said.

After the couple parted ways in October 2012, Crowe, 50, vowed to curb the workaholic tendencies blamed for driving them apart.

On The Graham Norton Show he talked about not dating anyone else.

"I have the responsibility of my two boys and I don't want them thinking anything other than their mum is the most perfect woman in the world," Crowe said.

"I don't want them to see me in another relationship with someone who is not their mother. It's not something I need or want them to have to deal with at the moment."

In a Twitter posting, he said rumours of a fling with Billy Joel's ex-wife, Katie Lee, were false and cruel.

"As soon as I finish this job and can get home, my priority is to try to bring my family back together."

Spencer, 44, has been raising the couple's two sons at her $6.5 million home in Sydney's Rose Bay, while Crowe has been based in New York.

New Idea reported actors Aniston and Paltrow had grown close after Paltrow, 41, and singer Chris Martin split.

Once the only thing Aniston, 45, and Paltrow had in common was that they had been in relationships with Brad Pitt. Now Aniston had reportedly become Paltrow's secret rock.

Since Paltrow's split from Martin was announced, Aniston had been on the phone round the clock offering support and guidance.

Aniston was said to have suggested Paltrow and Martin take their children on holiday when news of the breakup was announced, in the same way she and Pitt were away when they split in 2005.

Aniston was also reported to be trying to fix Paltrow up with actor Orlando Bloom after his split from model Miranda Kerr.

- Stuff

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