For the last 12 years Sam Lawson has been known as just being that – a regular guy called Sam, a typical Kiwi, living in Australia. Upon meeting anyone new, he isn’t immediately asked if he’s that Sam – Sam Lawson, the famous quintuplet.
It’s a different world for him in New Zealand. For many, many years he and his sisters, Deborah, Lisa, Shirlene and Selina were the nation’s darlings, thrust into the spotlight from the moment they were born.
They appeared to live a fairy-tale life, but as time went on the truth behind their nightmare situation was revealed.
After their parents separated, their mother Ann married Gary Eyton – a violent and abusive man who shot Ann dead, before turning the gun on himself, completely stunning the nation and leaving the quin – who were just 16 at the time – completely devastated.
The decades that followed were difficult for all of the five children. This week, Sam tells his story in the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly.
Having stayed out of the spotlight for the last decade – seeking some anonymity in Cairns – Sam preferred not to be involved in a book published last year, or to be involved in the celebration for the quins 50th birthday.
In pictures: The Lawson quins' early years. Story continues after the gallery.
But when the Weekly caught up with Sam on his first return home, he said it had been a life changing visit.
“I’ve been better able to accept with this trip that being a quin is part of who I am, but not entirely who I am,” he shares. “I’m ready to deal with it. The important thing is for all of us to be happy now. We are still broken inside from what we went through and we always will be to some extent, but we are survivors. We owe it to ourselves, and also to our mum, to push on and to have good experiences in life.”
Sam has several reasons for now making the decision to return home to New Zealand – including a new love.
To read the full story, see this week's New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, on sale now.